Thursday, May 25, 2006

Summary of Clergy Meeting

At 12.30 p.m. today, the Pope participated in a meeting with clergy in the cathedral of Warsaw, which is dedicated to St. John.
Opening his address, the Holy Father recalled the figure of Servant of God Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, known in Poland as "Primate of the Millennium" who, "abandoning himself to Christ and to His Mother, knew how to serve the Church faithfully, despite the tragic and prolonged trials that surrounded him."
After calling on the assembled priests to "believe in the power of your priesthood," Benedict XVI said: "Let us not be consumed with haste, as if time dedicated to Christ in silent prayer were time wasted. ... There is no need to be discouraged on account of the fact that prayer requires effort, or because of the impression that Jesus remains silent. He is indeed silent, but He is at work."
"In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light particularly to those who are suffering."
The Holy Father emphasized how "the faithful expect only one thing from priests: that they be specialists in promoting the encounter between man and God. The priest is not asked to be an expert in economics, construction or politics. He is expected to be an expert in the spiritual life."
"In the face of the temptations of relativism or the permissive society, there is absolutely no need for the priest to know all the latest changing currents of thought; what the faithful expect from him is that he be a witness to the eternal wisdom contained in the revealed Word. Solicitude for the quality of personal prayer and for good theological formation bear fruit in life."
"Christ," said Benedict XVI, "needs priests who are mature, virile, capable of cultivating an authentic spiritual paternity."
After recalling how John Paul II, "on the occasion of the Great Jubilee, ... frequently exhorted Christians to do penance for infidelities of the past," he said: "We must therefore learn to live Christian penance with sincerity. By practicing it, we confess individual sins in union with others, before them and before God.
"Yet we must guard against the arrogant claim of setting ourselves up to judge earlier generations, who lived in different times and different circumstances. Humble sincerity is needed in order not to deny the sins of the past, and at the same time not to indulge in facile accusations in the absence of real evidence or without regard for the different preconceptions of the time. ... As we ask pardon for the wrong that was done in the past, we must also remember the good accomplished with the help of divine grace."
The Church in Poland today, the Holy Father said, "faces an enormous pastoral challenge: ... The scourge of unemployment [which] obliges many people to go abroad. It is a widespread and large-scale phenomenon. When families are divided in this way, when social links are broken, the Church cannot remain indifferent."
He concluded by exhorting the priests to "serve everyone; be accessible in the parishes and in the confessionals, accompany the new movements and associations, support families, do not forget the link with young people, remember the poor and the abandoned."
At the end of the meeting, before leaving the cathedral, the Pope paused in prayer before the tombs of two late primates of Poland: Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski (1901-1981) and August Hlond (1881-1948).

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