This morning Pope Benedict XVI held his traditional meeting with the parish priests of Rome to celebrate the Feast of the Chair of Peter. The Holy Father spoke briefly with his priests and also fielded their questions.
In what was described as a climate of happiness and fraternity, the Roman parish priests spoke with the Pontiff specifically about the proclamation of the Gospel in an increasingly secularized world and on the challenges surrounding the transmittal of the faith to younger generations.
Nine Roman priests presented questions to the Holy Father regarding topics such as youth ministry, the importance of Sanctuaries, using sacred art as instruments of evangelization, and the role of ecclesiastical movements.
The Holy Father emphasized that the fundamental mission of Rome´s clergy is to "bring the new generations closer to the Gospel."
"Many youth live in a world far from God," the Pope stated in commenting on the growing chasm between adolescents and the Church, "a consequence of a cultural context in which such an encounter is made difficult."
As a result of this, “the highest priority” of the Roman parish priest is to provide opportunities for today’s youth to discover God, he said.
"In Italy I see how the faith is still deeply rooted in the heart of Italian society, but it is also threatened," stated the Pope.
The Holy See, by way of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Press Office, plans to make public entire text of the Holy Father’s conversation with his priests in the next few days.