Speaking today to members of the “sediari pontifici”, the group of men who are historically charged with bearing the literal “chair” of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict explained that the benchmark of a Christian lifestyle, and particularly of members of the Pontifical Household, is one of service.
Today, members of this ancient office largely carry out various functions and protocols during ceremonies involving the Papal Household.
The Pope began by telling the group that: "Yours is an ancient task” although one “which over the course of the centuries has evolved in different ways depending upon the customs and needs of the times.”
But, he pointed out, it has always remained "linked with the See of Peter."
"Your work, then,” Benedict said, “is part of a context wherein everything must speak to the whole world of the Church of Christ, and must do so coherently, imitating Him Who 'came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.'“
“It is in this light”, he continued, “that the recent reforms put into effect by my predecessors must be seen, particularly by Pope Paul VI to whom it fell to implement the new requisites of the Council.”
Under Paul VI, the Pope pointed out, “Ceremonies were simplified, bringing them back to a greater sobriety more in keeping with the Christian message and the needs of the times."
In this light, Benedict thanked members of the "sediari" for assisting the smooth functioning of pontifical audiences and celebrations. He added that "diligence, courtesy and discretion must be the characteristics that distinguish you in your work."
He closed by expressing his wish to the group: “that you may always be - both in the Vatican and at home, in the parish and in all situations - helpful and attentive to others.”
“This”, he said, “is a precious lesson for your children and grandchildren, who will learn from your example how service to the Holy See means, above all, a Christian mentality and lifestyle."