Pastors of the Church may need to sacrifice their own lives Benedict says

.- Pope Benedict XVI told a group of bishops today that they are called to a total commitment to service even to the point of death.  The Holy Father made his comments while meeting with the ordinary council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops who, under the leadership of Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, are gathering and organizing the proposals that emerged from the last synod, held in October 2005 on the theme, "The Eucharist: source and summit of the life and mission of the Church."

"Today's meeting," the Holy Father told them, "is an appropriate occasion to emphasize once more the importance of charity in the activities of the pastors of the Church. ... Nourishing the Lord's flock is a ministry of watchful love that calls for total dedication, complete commitment of energy and, if necessary, the sacrifice of life. The Eucharist is, above all, the source and the hidden permanent impulse of our mission."

He went on: "In his ecclesial existence, the bishop represents the image of Christ, who nourishes us with His flesh and His blood. From the Eucharist, the pastor draws the strength to exercise that special pastoral charity which consists in dispensing the food of truth to Christian people."

"The truth of Love cannot be silenced, because it is the very essence of God. Preaching it from the rooftops is not just 'amoris officium' (a dutiful act of love) but a vital message for mankind in all times. The truth of evangelical love concerns all men, and all of man, and compels the pastor to proclaim it without fear or reticence, never yielding to the conditioning of the world."

The Pope concluded his brief remarks by reminding bishops that, "in a time such as our own, characterized by the growing phenomenon of globalization, it becomes ever more necessary to bring the truth of Christ and His Gospel of salvation to everyone vigorously and clearly. There are innumerable areas in which to proclaim and lovingly bear witness to the truth: so many people are hungry and cannot be left to languish without sustenance."


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