.- The Holy Father today received the superiors and students of the diocesan seminary of Rome, the "Almo Collegio Capranica," on the eve of the feast day of their patroness, St Agnes. The "Almo Collegio," which celebrates its 550th year of existence this year, forms seminarians from Rome and the rest of Italy as well as for dioceses from around the world.
The Pope recalled that the college’s founder, Cardinal Domenico Capranica, desired that the seminary "should be exclusively dedicated to the formation of future priests, with preference shown to candidates from less privileged backgrounds."
The cardinal's main reason for founding the institution was "his conviction that the quality of the clergy depends on the seriousness of their formation," said Pope Benedict. Cardinal Capranica ensured that all students were taught Aristotelian ethics, that students of theology dedicated particular attention to St. Thomas Aquinas, and that students of law studied the doctrine of Pope Innocent III.
Benedict XVI also recalled how the study program "was incorporated within a framework of integral formation, focusing on the spiritual dimension and having as its pillars the Sacraments of the Eucharist (every day) and of Penance (at least once a month), and supported by the devout practices prescribed or encouraged by the Church. Great importance was also given to education in charity, both in everyday fraternal life and in helping the sick, and in what today we call 'pastoral experience'."
The Pope expressed the hope that the " Almo Collegio Capranica" may continue along this path "faithful to is long tradition and to the teachings of Vatican Council II."
He concluded by calling on the students to renew their "offer to God and to the Holy Church, conforming yourselves ever more to Christ the Good Shepherd, Who has called You to follow Him and to work in His vineyard."