Diplomats must have personal virtue, Pope says


Pope Benedict welcomed new students enrolled in the Vatican’s diplomat school on June 10, telling them that the foundation of their lives and service to the Church must be based on deep, personal formation.

He emphasized that true diplomacy requires a “deep inner balance,” which entails openness, sacrifice, patience, constancy, and “even firmness in the dialogue with others.”

Pope Benedict received both teachers and students from the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy which trains candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service.

He explained that pontifical diplomacy has had a long and influential tradition of shaping relations between countries across the globe.

The necessary qualities of those who serve the Vatican in this capacity, the Pope said, are that they be “first a priest, a bishop” and “a servant of the Word of God,” who has received a mission that “requires him to be, with his entire life, an echo of the message that has been entrusted to him, the Gospel message.”

“Loyalty, coherence, and a profound humanity,” Pope Benedict added, “are the fundamental virtues of any envoy, who is a called to put, not only their work and their qualities but, in some way, their entire person at the service of a word that is not their own.”

He noted that priestly identity, “very clearly and deeply lived,” is fundamental to the task of being “the bearer of the word of the Pope.”

Pope Benedict also said that Vatican diplomatic service “allows one to live in constant and profound reference to the catholicity of the Church” by bringing the pontiff's ministry and pastoral charity to churches and the institutions around the world.

Ultimately, “in the exercise of such a delicate ministry, the care of one's own spiritual life, the practice of human virtues, and the formation of a solid culture are interwoven and mutually sustained,” the Pope  said.

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