Pope Benedict discusses the pastoral situation of Church in Italy with priests

Pope Benedict discusses the pastoral situation of Church in Italy with priests


During a meeting on July 24 with some 400 priests from the dioceses of Belluno and Treviso in northern Italy, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about God, modern man, and the Church.

“We spoke about God, the Church, and humanity today, and above all, about the fact that we are the Church and that in this journey we must all collaborate,” the Holy Father said about his meeting with clergy at the Church of St. Justin the Martyr in the small town of Auronzo.

During the meeting the Pope fielded questions from the priests about the main pastoral priorities of the Church in today’s world.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio the Pope discussed such themes as “the problem of formation of young people and their moral conscience, the problems in priestly life, the priorities for ministry in current-day Italy and the historical development of the [Church’s] situation.”

The Pope also discussed evangelization with the priests and “respectful dialogue with other religions, in the context of massive immigration,” as well as the “ever delicate issue that involves so many people and so many priests, which is that of the divorced and remarried and those living together, and consequently, how to reconcile mercy with the truth.”

“In addition,” Father Federico continued, the meeting also focused on “fidelity to the Council and its spirit.”  The Pope has often spoken about a pervasive misunderstanding of Vatican II, emphasizing that the Council did not constitute a break from the past.

After the meeting, the Pontiff greeted the thousands of people gathered outside the church, thanking them for their affection and welcome.  He called his meeting with the priests a “very beautiful encounter.” 

Speaking about his vacation time the Pope said, “Here I can rest not only in body but also in spirit.” “And I can breathe not only the fresh air of the Creator but also the air of friendship and cordiality, for which I am very grateful,” he said, as he prepared to return to Lorenzago di Cadore.