Pope Highlights Evangelical Task of Papal Diplomats

Addresses Members of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Evangelization and the unity of the Church were the two tasks Benedict XVI emphasized when he received the members of the institution that trains future papal representatives.



The Pope addressed members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy today, urging them to work so that "the bonds of communion of the local churches with the Apostolic See will be ever more intense and effective."

At the same time, they should be concerned "to make visible the solicitude the Successor of Peter has for all those who form part of the Lord's flock, especially, the vulnerable, the weak, and the abandoned," the Holy Father added.

"Cultivate the two constitutive and complementary dimensions of the Church: communion and mission, unity and the evangelizing tension," he said.

"We have all been impressed by the fact that the testimony of Pope John Paul II has elicited a profound echo even in non-Christian populations, as several apostolic nuncios have mentioned in their reports," Benedict XVI said.

"This confirms that wherever Christ is proclaimed with consistency of life, one speaks to the heart of all, including brothers of other religious traditions," he said.

Holiness as a goal

At this time of formation of future papal representatives, the Holy Father explained that "a solid cultural preparation is necessary, including knowledge of languages, history, and law, with a wise openness to different cultures," he added.

However, according to Benedict XVI, what is "indispensable" is that you set holiness and the salvation of souls that you meet on your path, as the fundamental objective of your life."

The Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, begun in 1701, aims to prepare young priests for the Holy See's diplomatic service.