Pontiff Reaches out to Priests and Seminarians

Vatican Newspaper Underlines Pope's Pastoral Role

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The director of L'Osservatore Romano is pointing out the ways in which Benedict XVI is close to his people, fulfilling his role as pastor, especially to priests and seminarians.



Giovanni Maria Vian observed this in a column published in this week's English edition, in which he spoke about the various meetings the Pope has had recently with the seminarians and clergy of Rome.

"He wanted to meditate at length with them on Scripture, choosing the ancient method of 'lectio divina'," the director noted.

He added that "this piece of news went almost unnoticed amidst the din of the media to which we have grown accustomed," but it "deserves attention."

Vian pointed out that "the decision of the Pope, Bishop of Rome, to spend time with his priests and to dedicate his reflection to them clearly sheds light on his personality and his way of governing the Church."

The homilies of the Holy Father "show the care consonant with a long and strict discipline of study and reflection that the Pope devotes to examining and meditating on the word of God, to explain it in depth and without betraying the text," he said.

Emmaus

Vian continued: "He is well aware in accordance with the uninterrupted Christian tradition, confirmed by the latest Synodal Assembly that this word is contained in the Bible but, even before that, in Christ, the divine Logos, the Creator of whom all the Scriptures speak and who, in turn, speaks to those who desire to listen to him, as did the travelers on the way to Emmaus.

"This episode, recounted in Chapter 24 of Luke's Gospel and thought to be the origin of the monastic practice of meditative reading of the Bible, is at the root of the actualization of the word of God which Benedict XVI gently carries out with perseverance."

Just as Jesus spoke to the disciples about the Scriptures, explaining them, the Pope "explained to the seminarians the significance of abiding in Christ and of a Christian way of being that precedes action and is brought about by the presence of the Spirit," the director affirmed.

"Likewise," he added, "the Bishop of Rome reminded his priests, in accordance with the patristic and medieval tradition, that Jesus is the true subject of the Psalms; to emphasize that the priest must be immersed in the passion of this world in order truly to transform it."

All of the Pontiffs have fulfilled this pastoral role in various ways, Vian stated, but today their successor is" frequently portrayed and more often than not, unkindly, as 'the theologian Pope' in order to stress his most intellectual dimension (and at the same time to insinuate that he is distant from the faithful)."

The director acknowledged, "Certainly Benedict XVI is a theologian, and one of the most important in our time."

"Yet," he continued, "it is equally certain that he is a theologian in the sense of a Pastor who speaks of God with reasonableness and with hope, so that people today may return and look to God."

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On ZENIT's Web page:

Pope's Address to Roman Seminarians: http://www.zenit.org/article-28411?l=english

Pope's "Lectio Divina" to Roman Priests (Part 1): http://www.zenit.org/article-28453?l=english

Pope's "Lectio Divina" to Roman Priests (Part 2): http://www.zenit.org/article-28467?l=english