To be a pastor, you must love Christ, Pope reminds archbishops

.- The forty metropolitan archbishops who received their palliums on Sunday, accompanied by some of their family members, met with the Holy Father on Monday afternoon at the Vatican. The Pope reminded the archbishops in his address to them that, "The condition of service for all pastors is love for Christ… .”

Having greeted each of the archbishops in their own language, Pope Benedict then addressed the entire group of prelates.

Having just inaugurated the Pauline Year on Saturday evening, the Holy Father said, "the image of an organic body applied to the Church is one of the powerful and characteristic elements of the doctrine of St. Paul. In this Jubilee Year dedicated to him, I wish to entrust each of you to his heavenly protection. May the Apostle of the Gentiles help each of you to make the communities entrusted to your care grow in unity and mission, in harmonious and coordinated pastoral activity, animated by constant apostolic zeal."

Benedict then reminded the archbishops that, "The condition of service for all pastors is love for Christ, which must come before everything."

Jesus' dialogue with Peter after his resurrection illustrates this well. Calling to mind Jesus’ question to Peter: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" the Pope prayed, "may it ever resound in our hearts and stimulate our ever fresh and passionate response: 'Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you'. It is from this love for Christ that the mission to 'feed my sheep' arises, a mission that may be summarized above all in His own testimony: ... 'follow me'."

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