13-May-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Full Text of Pope Francis' Q&A With Seminarians in Rome

"For leadership there is only one way: service. There is no other."

VATICAN CITY, May 13, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The following is ZENIT's English translation of the Holy Father's exchange with the rectors and seminarians of the pontifical colleges and residences of Rome. The seminarians from various countries of the world asked the Pope a series of questions to which he gave unscripted answers. The meeting took place on Monday May 12 in the Paul VI hall.

***

Good morning and I thank you so much for this presence. I thank Cardinal Stella for his words, and I apologize for my delay. Yes, because Mexican Bishops are here on ad Limina visit ... and when one is with Mexicans, one feels so well, so well, that times passes and one doesn't realize it!

To the 146 of you who are from countries of the Middle East, also some of you from Ukraine, I wish to say that I am very close to you at this moment of suffering: truly, very close, and in prayer. There is so much suffering in the Church; the Church suffers so much, and the suffering Church is also the persecuted Church in some parts, and I am close to you. Thank you. And now I would like ...There are questions, I have seen them, but if you wish to change them or make them somewhat more spontaneous, there's no problem, do so with all liberty!

--Q: (Seminarian)

Good morning, Holy Father. My name is Daniel. I come from the United States, I am a Deacon and I am of the North American College. We have come to Rome above all for an academic formation and to maintain faith in this commitment. How can an integral priestly formation not be neglected, either at the personal or community level? Thank you.

--Pope Francis: Thank you for the question. It's true; your main purpose here is academic formation: to get a degree in this or that ... However, there is the danger of academism. Yes, the Bishops send you here so that you can have a degree, but also to return to the diocese. However, in dioceses you must work in the presbytery as presbyters, graduate presbyters. And if one falls into this danger of academism, a father doesn't return but a "Doctor." And this is dangerous. There are four pillars in the priestly formation: I've said this so many times, perhaps you have heard it. Four pillars: spiritual formation, academic formation, community formation and apostolic formation. It's true that here, at Rome, stress is put - because this is why you have been sent - on intellectual formation; however, the other three pillars must be cultivated, and all four interact among themselves, and I can't understand a priest who comes here to get a degree in Rome, and does not have a community life. This is not right. Either he does not take care of his spiritual life - daily Mass, daily prayer, lectio divina, personal prayer with the Lord --; or the apostolic life: on the weekend he does something, to change the air a bit, but also the apostolic air, he does something there ... It's true that study is an apostolic dimension; but it is important that the other three pillars are also looked after! Academic purism doesn't do one good, it doesn't do one good. And this is why your question pleased me, because it gave me the opportunity to say these things to you. The Lord has called you to be priests, to be presbyters: this is the fundamental rule. And there is something else that I would like to stress: if only the academic part is seen, there is the danger of sliding into ideologies, and this makes one fall ill. And it also sickens the concept of Church. To understand the Church, one must understand her from study but also from prayer, from community life and from apostolic life. When we slide into an ideology, and go on this path, we will have a non-Christian hermeneutic, and hermeneutic of the ideological Church. And this doesn't do one good, it is a sickness. The hermeneutic of the Church must be the hermeneutic that the Church herself offers us, that the Church herself gives us: to understand the Church with the eyes of a Christian; to understand the Church with the mind of a Christian; to understand the Church with the heart of a Christian; to understand the Church from Christian activity. Otherwise, the Church isn't understood or it is understood badly. Therefore, yes, it is important to stress academic work because you were sent for this, but not to neglect the other three pillars: the spiritual life, the community life and the apostolic life. I don't know if this answers your question ... Thank you.

--Q: (Seminarian)

Good morning, Holy Father. I am Thomas from China. I am a seminarian of the Urbaniana College. Sometimes it isn't easy to live in community: what do you advise us, from your experience, to make our community a place of human and spiritual growth and of the exercise of priestly charity?

--Pope Francis: Once an old bishop of Latin America said: "The worst seminary is better than no seminary." If one prepares for the priesthood alone, without a community, this doesn't do one good. The life of the seminary, that is, community life, is very important. It is very important because it is sharing among brothers, who are walking toward the priesthood; but there are also problems, there are struggles: struggles of power, struggles of ideas, also hidden struggles; and the capital vices appear: envy, jealousy ... And good things also come: friendships, the exchange of ideas, and this is what is important of community life. Community life is not paradise, it is at least purgatory - no, it's not that ... [they laugh], but it's not paradise! A saint of the Jesuits said that for him the greatest penance was community life. It's true, no? Therefore, I think we must go forward in community life. But how? There are four or five things that will help us very much. Never, never speak ill of others. If I have something against the other, or that I don't agreed with I must say it to his face! But we clerics have the temptation of not speaking to the other to his face, of being too diplomatic, of using clerical language ... However, it does us no good, no good! I remember once, 22 years ago, I had just been appointed bishop, and in that vicariate I had as secretary - Buenos Aires is divided into four vicariates - in that vicariate I had a young, recently ordained priest as secretary. And I, in the first months, did something, I took a somewhat diplomatic decision - too diplomatic - with the consequences that come from such decisions that are not taken in the Lord, no? And, in the end, I said to him: "But look what a problem this is, I don't know how to systematize it ..." And he looked at me in the face -- a youth! - and he said to me: "Because you have done wrong, you did not take a paternal decision," and he said three or four strong things to me! He was very respectful, but he did say them to me. And then, when he left, I thought: "I will never remove him from the post of secretary: he is a real brother!" Instead, those who tell you lovely things to your face and then not so lovely behind you ... This is important ... Gossip is the plague of a community; one must speak face to face, always. And if you do not have the courage to speak to someone face to face, speak to the Superior or to the Director. And he will help you, but don't go to the rooms of companions to speak ill! It is said that gossip is something of women, but also of men, also of us! We gossip enough! And this destroys the community. Then, it is something else to hear, to listen to different opinions and discuss the opinions, but always seeking truth, seeking unity: this helps the community. Once my spiritual Father -- I was a student of Philosophy; he was a philosopher, a metaphysician, but he was a good spiritual Father --, I went to him and the problem came out that I was angry against someone: "But I'm angry with him because of this, this, this ..." I revealed to my spiritual Father all I had inside me. And he asked me only one question: "Tell me, have you prayed for him?" -- nothing more. And I said: "No." And he stayed silent. "We have finished," he said to me. Pray, pray for all the members of the community, but pray primarily for those with whom I have a problem, or for those I don't love, because sometimes not to love a person is something natural, instinctive. Pray, and the Lord will do the rest. But always pray. Community prayer. These two things -- I don't want to say so much - but I assure you that if you do these two things, the community goes ahead, you can live well, speak well, discuss well, pray well together. Two small things: not to speak of others and to pray for those with whom I have a problem. I could say more, but I think this is sufficient.

--Q: (Seminarian)

Good morning, Holy Father.

--Pope Francis: Good morning

-- (Seminarian): My name is Charbelle, I am a seminarian from Lebanon and I am being formed in the Sedes Sapientiae College. Before asking my question, I would like to thank you for your closeness to our people in Lebanon and in the whole of the Middle East. My question is this: last year you left your land and homeland. What do you recommend to manage better our arrival and stay at Rome?

--Pope Francis: But, your arrival in Rome is different, from the transfer of diocese they did to me: it's somewhat different, but o.k. ... I remember the first time I left [my land] to come to study here ... First there is the novelty, it is the novelty of things, and we must be patient with ourselves. The first time is as a time of engagement: everything is beautiful. Ah, the novelties, the things ...; but this must not be reproached, it's like this! This happens to everyone; things are this way for all. And then, turning to one of the pillars, first of all is integration in the life of the community and in the life of study, directly. I have come for this, to do this. And then, to find work for the weekend, an apostolic work, is important. Not to remain closed and be scattered. But the first time is the time of novelties: "I would like to do this, go to that museum, to this film, or to this or that." But go ahead, don't be worried, it's normal for this to happen. But then, you must be serious. What have I come to do? To study. Study in earnest! And take advantage of the many opportunities that this stay gives you. The novelty of the universality: to know people from so many different places, so many different countries, so many different cultures. The opportunity of dialogue among you. "But, how is this in your homeland? And how is that? And in mine it is ...."; and this exchange gives the joy of the novelty: it's the joy of the first engagement, before the problems begin. And go forward. Then, be serious.

--Q: (Seminarian)

Good morning, Holy Father. I am Daniel Ortiz and I'm Mexican. Here in Rome I live in the Maria Mater Ecclesia College. Your Holiness, in fidelity to our vocation we are in need of constant discernment, vigilance and personal discipline. How did you do this, when you were a seminarian, when you were a priest, when you were Bishop and now that you are Pontiff. And what do you advise us in this regard? Thank you.

--Pope Francis: Thank you. You said the word vigilance. Vigilance: this is a Christian attitude. Vigilance over one's self: what's happening in my heart? Because where my heart is, there is my treasure. What happens there? The Eastern Fathers say that I must know well if my heart is in turmoil or if my heart is calm. First question: vigilance over your heart: is it in turmoil? If it's in turmoil, you cannot see what is inside. It's like the sea, no?

When the sea is so, the fish can't be seen ... The first advice, when the heart is in turmoil is the counsel of the Russian Fathers: go under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God. Remember that the first Latin antiphon is in fact this: in times of turmoil, seek refuge under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God. It is the antiphon "Sub tuum presidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genitrix": It's the first Latin antiphon of Our Lady. It's interesting, no? Watch over. Is there turmoil? First of all go there, and there wait until there is a bit of calm: with prayer, with entrustment to Our Lady ... One of you might say to me: "But Father, in this time of such good modernity, of psychology, of psychiatry, in such moments of turmoil I think it would be better to go to a psychiatrist to help me ..." I don't discard this, but first of all go to your Mother, because a priest who forgets his Mother, especially in moments of turmoil, is lacking something. He is an orphan priest: he has forgotten his Mother! And it is in difficult moments when a child always goes to its Mother. And we are children in the spiritual life. Never forget this! To watch over, to see how my heart is. In times of turmoil go to seek refuge under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God. So say the Russian monks and, in truth, it is so. Then, what do I do? I try to understand what is happening, but always in peace -- to understand in peace. Then peace returns and I can do the discussion conscientiae. And this is to watch over. To watch over is not to go to the torture chamber, no! It is to look at the heart. We must be masters of our heart. What does my heart feel, what does it seek? What made me happy today, and what did not make me happy? Don't end the day without doing this. A question that, as bishop, I would ask a priest, was: "How do you go to bed?" And they didn't understand. "But what does this mean?" "Yes, how do you end the day?" "Oh, destroyed, Father, because there is so much work, the parish, so much ... Then I dine a little, I take a mouthful and I go to bed, I watch TV and relax a bit." "And you don't go by the Tabernacle first?" There are things that make us see where our heart is. Never, never - and this is vigilance! - never end the day without going there for a while, in front of the Lord, to look and ask: "What happened in my heart?" In sad moments, in happy moments: how was that sadness? How was that joy? This is vigilance. To watch also over one's depressions and enthusiasms. "Today I'm down; I don't know what is happening." To watch over: why am I down? Perhaps you need to go to someone who can help you ... This is vigilance. "Oh, I'm joyful!" But why am I joyful today? What happened in my heart? This is no sterile introspection, no, no! This is to know the state of my heart, my life, how I walk on the path of the Lord. Because, if there isn't vigilance, the heart goes everywhere, and the imagination follows behind: "go, go ..." and then one might not end up well. I like the question about vigilance. These are not old things, they aren't things that have been surpassed. They are human things, and as all human things, they are eternal. We will always take them with us. Vigilance of the heart was in fact the wisdom of the first Christian monks; they taught this, to watch over the heart.

Can I make a parenthesis? Why have I spoken of Our Lady? I recommend this to you, which I said earlier, seek refuge ... A beautiful relationship with Our Lady, the relationship with Our Lady helps us to have a good relationship with the Church: both are Mothers ... You know the beautiful passage of Saint Isaac, abbot of Stella: what can be said of Mary can be said of the Church and also of our soul. All three are feminine, all three are Mothers, all three give life. The relationship with Our Lady is the relationship of a son ... Watch over this: if there is no good relationship with Our Lady, there is something of an orphan in my heart. I remember once, 30 years ago, I was in Northern Europe: I had to go there for the teaching of the University of Cordoba, of which, at the time, I was Vice-Chancellor. And a family of practicing Catholics invited me; it was a country that was a bit too secularized. And at dinner -- there were so many children, they were practicing Catholics, both were university professors, both were also catechists -- at a certain point, speaking of Jesus Christ -- enthusiasts of Jesus Christ! -- I'm speaking of 30 years ago, they said: "Yes, thank God we have surpassed the stage of Our Lady ..." And how is this?, I said. "Yes, because we have discovered Jesus Christ, and we no longer have need of her." I was somewhat pained; I didn't understand well. And we spoke a bit about this. And this isn't maturity! It's not maturity. To forget the Mother is something awful ... And, to say it another way: if you don't go to Our Lady as Mother, you certainly will have her as a mother-in-law! And this isn't good. Thank you.

--Q: (Seminarian)

Hurray for Jesus, hurray for Mary! Thank you, Holy Father, for your words on Our Lady. My name is Don Ignacio and I come from Manila, the Philippines. I am doing my doctorate in Mariology at the Marianum Pontifical Theological Faculty, and I reside in the Philippine Pontifical College. Holy Father, my question is: the Church needs pastors who are able to guide, govern and communicate as required in today's world. How does one learn and exercise leadership in priestly life, assuming the model of Christ who lowered Himself assuming the cross, death on a cross? Assuming the condition of servant to death on the cross? Thank you.

--Pope Francis: But your Bishop is a great communicator!

--Seminarian: He is Cardinal Tagle ...

--Pope Francis: Leadership ... this is the center of the question ... There is only one way - then I will speak of the pastors - but for leadership there is only one way: service. There is no other. If you have many qualities - to communicate, etc. but you are not a servant, your leadership will fail, it doesn't serve, it's unable to convoke. Only service: to be at the service ... I remember a very good spiritual Father. People went to him, so much so that sometimes he couldn't pray the whole Breviary. And, at night, he would go to the Lord and say: "Look, Lord, I didn't do your will, or even mine! I did the will of others!" Thus both, the Lord and him, consoled one another. Service is to do, very often, the will of others. A priest who works in a very humble district - very humble! - a villa miseria, a slum, says: "I would need to close the windows, the doors, all of them, because at a certain point there are many, so many who come to ask of me: this spiritual thing, this material thing, that in the end I would have wanted to close everything. But this isn't from the Lord," he said. It's true: you cannot guide a people where there is no service -- the service of the pastor. The pastor must always be at the disposition of his people. The pastor must help the people to grow, to walk. Yesterday, in the Reading I was curious because the word "spingere" was said in the Gospel. The pastor spinge the sheepso they are enticed to look for grass. I was curious: he makes them go out, he makes them go out with force! The original has a certain tone of this: makes them go out but with force! It's like sending them away: "Go, go!" It is the pastor who makes his people grow and who always goes with his people. Sometimes, the pastor must go in front, to indicate the way; at other times, in their midst, to know what is happening; often behind, to help those that are last and also to follow the scent of the sheep that know where the good grass is. The pastor ... Saint Augustine says, taking up Ezekiel, must be at the service of the sheep and he stresses two dangers: the pastor who exploits the sheep to eat, to make money, for economic, material interests and the pastor who exploits the sheep to dress well. The meat and wool, Saint Augustine says. Read that beautiful sermon De pastoribus. It is necessary to read it and reread it. Yes, they are the two sins of pastors: money, they become rich and do things for money - sharp businessmen pastors. And vanity, pastors who believe they are in a superior state to their people, detached ... we think of prince-pastors. The sharp businessman-pastor and the prince-pastor. These are the two temptations that Saint Augustine, taking up the passage of Ezekiel, says in his sermon. It's true, a pastor who seeks himself, be it by way of money or by way of vanity, isn't a servant, has no true leadership. Humility must be the pastor's weapon: humble, always at one's service. He must seek service. And it's not easy to be humble; no, it's not easy! Desert monks say that vanity is like the onion: when you take an onion, and begin to peel it and you feel vain, you begin to peel off your vanity. And you go, and go, to another layer, and another, and another, and another ... and at the end you arrive at ...nothing. "Ah, thank God, I've peeled the onion, I have peeled off my vanity." Do this, and you will smell like an onion! So say the desert Fathers. Vanity is like this. Once I heard a Jesuit -- he was good, a good man --, but he was so vain, so vain ... And we all said to him: "You are vain!" but he was so good that we all forgave him. And he went to do the Spiritual Exercises, and when he returned, he said to us, in the community: "What beautiful Exercises! I spent eight days in Heaven, and I found that I was so vain! But, thank God, I have overcome all my passions!" Vanity is like this! It's so difficult to take away vanity from a priest. But the people of God forgive you so many things: they forgive you if you have had an emotional slip, they forgive you. However, they don't forgive you if you are a pastor attached to money, if you are a vain pastor who does not treat people well, because a vain person doesn't treat people well. Money, vanity, pride: the three steps that lead you to all the sins. The people of God understand our weaknesses, and forgive them; but these two they don't forgive! The don't forgive attachment to money in a pastor. And if they aren't treated well, they don't forgive this. It's curious, no? These two defects - we must struggle not to have them. Then, leadership must go by the way of service, but with personal love for the people. I once heard this from a parish priest: "That man knew the name of all the people of his district, even the names of the dogs!" It's beautiful. He was close, he knew each one, he knew the history of all the families, he knew everything. And he helped. He was so close ... Closeness, service, humility, poverty and sacrifice. I remember the old parish priests of Buenos Aires, when there were no mobile phones or answering machines; they slept with the telephone beside them. No one died without the Sacraments. They were called at any hour, got up and went. Service, service. And as Bishop, I suffered when I called a parish and the answering machine answered ... there is no leadership this way! How can you lead a people if you don't hear them, if you are not at their service? These are the things that come to me, somewhat, not in order, but to answer your question ...

--Q: (Seminarian)

Good morning, Holy Father.

--Pope Francis: Good morning.

-- (Seminarian): My name is don Serge, I come from Cameroon. My formation is taking place in the College of Saint Paul the Apostle. Here is my question: when we return to our dioceses and communities, we will be called to new ministerial responsibilities and new formative tasks. How can we have all the dimensions of the ministerial life coexist in a balanced way: prayer, pastoral commitments, formative tasks, without neglecting any of them? Thank you.

--Pope Francis: It's a question to which I don't have an answer: it has gone, perhaps - the unconscious is dishonest! - and I wish to link it to this. I was asked: "how do you do these things as Pope?! Yours also ... I will answer yours, recounting with all simplicity what I do not to neglect things. Prayer: in the morning I try to pray the praises and also to engage somewhat in prayer, lectio divina, with the Lord. When I get up, I first read the "coded" messages, and then I do this. And then I celebrate Mass. Then my work begins: work that one day is of one type, another day of another ... I try to do so in order. Lunch is at midday and then a bit of siesta. After my siesta at three o'clock - excuse me - I say Vespers, at three ... if they aren't said at that time they aren't said! Yes, there is also the reading, the Office of reading of the day after. Then the afternoon work, the things I must do ... Then, I do some Adoration and pray the Rosary; dinner and I finish. This is the plan. But sometimes not everything can be done, because I let myself be led by imprudent exigencies: too much work, or to think that if I don't do this today, I won't do it tomorrow ... Adoration fails, my siesta fails, this fails .... And here also vigilance is necessary: you will return to your dioceses and what will happen to you is what happens to me: it's normal. Work, prayer, some room for rest, to leave the house, to walk a bit, all this is important ... but you must regulate it with vigilance and also with advice ... The ideal is to finish the day tired: this is the ideal. Not to need to take pills: to end tired. However, with good tiredness, not imprudent tiredness, because that's bad for one's health and in the long run one pays dearly for this. I look at Sandro's face, who laughs and says: "But you don't do this!" It's true. This is the ideal, but I don't always do it, because I am also a sinner, and I'm not always that ordered. But you must do this ...

--Q: Good morning, Holy Father. I am Fernando Rodriguez. I'm a new priest from Mexico. I was ordained a month ago, and I live in the Mexican College. Holy Father, you have reminded us that the Church is in need of a New Evangelization. In fact in your apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, you paused on the preparation of the preaching, on the homily and on proclamation as a form of passionate dialogue between a pastor and his people. Can you return to this subject of the New Evangelization? And also, Holiness, we ask you how a priest should be for the New Evangelization. What should be his characteristic features? Thank you

--Pope Francis: When John Paul II spoke -- I thought it was the first time, but afterwards I was told that it wasn't the first time -- on the New Evangelization, he said that it must be new in methodology, in ardor, in apostolic zeal , and I don't remember the third ... Who remembers it? The expression! To look for an expression that is in keeping with the unicity of the times. And for me, the Aparecida Document is very clear. The Aparecida Document develops this well. For me, evangelization requires going out of oneself; it requires the dimension of the transcendent: the transcendent in the adoration of God, in contemplation, and transcendent towards brothers, toward the people. To go forth, to go forth! For me this is as the kernel of evangelization. And to go forth means to come, namely, to closeness. If you don't come out of yourself, you will never have closeness! Closeness. To be close to people, to be close to all, to all those to whom we should be close -- all the people. To go forth -- closeness. One cannot evangelize without closeness! Closeness, but cordial; a closeness of love, also physical closeness; to be close to. And you linked the homily there. The problem of boring homilies - so to speak - the problem of boring homilies is that there is no closeness. In fact the pastor's closeness to his people is measured by his homily. If during the homily you speak, let's say, for 20, 25 or 30, 40 minutes - they aren't fantasies, this happens! - and you speak of abstract things, of truths of the faith, you are not doing a homily, you are doing a school! It's something different! You aren't close to the people. Therefore, the homily is important: to caliber it, to know well the priest's closeness. I think that in general our homilies aren't good, they are not in fact of the homiletic literary sort: they are conferences, or they are lessons, or reflections. But a homily - and ask your theology professor about this - the homily in the Mass, the Word is a strong God, it is a sacramental. For Luther it was almost a sacrament: it was ex opera operato, the preached Word; for others it is only ex opera operantis. However, I think it's somewhere in the center, a bit of both. The theology of the homily is somewhat almost a sacramental. It's different from saying words about a topic. It's something else. It implies prayer, it implies study, it implies knowing the people to whom you will speak, it implies closeness. For the homily, to go well in evangelization, we must go quite a bit ahead, we are late. It's one of the points of the conversion of which the Church is in need today: to adjust the homilies well, so that the people can understand them. And then, after eight minutes, attention wanders. A homily longer than eight, ten minutes isn't right. It must be brief, it must be strong. I recommend two books to you of my times; but they are good for this aspect of the homily, because they will help you very much. First, "The Theology of the Homily" by Hugo Rahner. Not Karl, but Hugo. One can read Hugo easily; Karl is difficult to read. This is a jewel: "The Theology of the Homily." And the other is that of Father Domenico Grasso, which introduces us to what a homily is. I think it has the same title: "Theology of the Homily." This will help you quite a lot. Closeness, the homily ... There is something else I would like to say ... To go forth, closeness, the homily as measure of how close I am to the people of God. And another category that I like to use is that of the fringes. When one goes forth, he must not go half way only, but go to the end. Some say that one must begin evangelization with the most distant, as the Lord did. This is what comes to me to say about your question. However, this is true about the homily: for me it is one of the problems that the Church must study and be converted. The homilies, the homilies: they are not about doing a school, they aren't conferences, they are something else. I like it when priests come together for two hours to prepare the next Sunday homily, because there is a climate of prayer, of study, of exchange of opinions. This is good, it does one good. To prepare it with another, this is very good.

--Q: May the Lord Jesus be praised! My name is Voicek, I live in the Pontifical Polish College, and am studying moral theology. Holy Father, the presbyterial ministry at the service of our people, on the example of Christ and of his mission, what do you recommend for us to be available and happy in the service of the people of God? What human qualities do you suggest and recommend to us to cultivate in order to be images of the Good Shepherd and to live what you have called "the mysticism of encounter"?

--Pope Francis: I have spoken, primarily, of some things that must be done in prayer. However, I take your last word to speak of something, to add to all that I have said, that has been said and that leads in fact to your question. "The mysticism of encounter," you have mentioned, the encounter, the capacity to encounter one another: the capacity to hear, to listen to other persons; the capacity to seek together the way, the method, so many things. This encounter, which also means not to be frightened , not to be frightened of things. The good pastor must not be frightened. Perhaps he has fear inside, but he is never frightened. He knows that the Lord helps him. The encounter with persons for whom you must have pastoral care; the encounter with your Bishop. The encounter with your Bishop is important. It's also important that the Bishop let himself be encountered. It's important ... because sometimes one wonders: "Have you said this to your Bishop? Yes, I have asked for an audience, but I've been asking for an audience for four months. I'm waiting!" This isn't good, no. To go to meet the bishop and that the bishop let himself be encountered. Dialogue, but above all I would like to speak of one thing: the encounter among priests, among yourselves. Priestly friendship: this is a treasure, a treasure that we must cultivate among ourselves -- friendship among you, priestly friendship. Not all can be intimate friends. But how beautiful a priestly friendship is! When priests, as two brothers, three brothers, four brothers, know one another, speak of their problems, of their joys, of their expectations, so many things .... priestly friendship. Seek this, it's important to be friends. I think this helps a lot to live the priestly life, to live the spiritual life, the apostolic life, community life and also the intellectual life: priestly friendship. If I met a priest who said to me: "I've never had a friend," I would think that this priest has not had one of the most beautiful joys of the priestly life: priestly friendship. It is what I wish for you. I wish that you be friends with those that the Lord puts before you for friendship. I wish you this in life.

Priestly friendship is a force of perseverance, of apostolic joy, of courage, and also of a sense of humor. It's beautiful, most beautiful! This is what I think.

I thank you for your patience! And now we can pray tour Lady, to ask for her blessing ...

Regina Caeli ...

[Translation by ZENIT]

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