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 CNS Story:

POPE-NUNCIOS Jun-11-2012 (440 words) With photos. xxxi

Pope: Fidelity to pope is based on faith in Christ, not blind loyalty

(CNS/Isabella Bonotto, Catholic Press Photo)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Working for the Vatican at the service of the church is not based on "blind loyalty," but on a sincere belief that Jesus entrusted his church to Peter and his successors, Pope Benedict XVI told priests studying to be Vatican diplomats.

Every Catholic, every priest, and even more so everyone who works for the Holy See, he said, should "cultivate a personal bond with the Vicar of Christ" -- the pope.

Working for the Holy See "entails a serious responsibility, but also a special gift, which, as time goes on, should make you grow in closeness to the pope, a closeness marked by interior trust," which is expressed by the word "faithfulness," he said.

The pope made the remarks June 11 to students and faculty of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school where Vatican diplomats are trained. The Vatican diplomats, who are all priests, typically work in Vatican embassies around the world as well as in the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The model for faithfulness is God himself, the pope said, because God is "trustworthy and true" and has always been faithful to his covenant with his people despite their betrayals, he said.

"Only on this foundation can we in turn be truly faithful: first to God, then to his family, the church our mother and teacher, and within the church to our own vocation, to the history in which the Lord has set us," he said.

"We know that the faithfulness proper to the church and to the Holy See is no 'blind' loyalty, for it is enlightened by our faith in the one who said: 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,'" the pope told the current and future Vatican diplomats and officials.

The papal meeting with the students and staff came as Vatican judges were continuing to investigate the leak of letters and documents -- including letters to the pope and encrypted cables from Vatican embassies around the world. The pope's personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, has been charged with aggravated theft in connection with the document leaks, several of which hint at power struggles between Vatican officials.

The pope expressed his gratitude for "the assistance I receive every day from my many collaborators in the Roman Curia and in papal representations, as well as the support that comes to me from the prayers of countless brothers and sisters worldwide."

He encouraged continued commitment, based on faith in Christ, to serving the successor of Peter and maintaining "the unique bond" between the pope and his closest collaborators at the Vatican and as papal representatives around the world.


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