The following is from today’s Vatican News Service post, and since it highlights the important role of so many colleagues that I know, I share it:

VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2011 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy Father received
participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Catholic

In his address to the group the Pope noted that “the common denominator of
the topics you are examining over these days is education and formation,
which today represent one of the most urgent challenges the Church and her
institutions are called to face. Educational work seems to be becoming ever
more arduous because, in a culture which all too often makes relativism its
creed, the light of truth is lacking. Indeed, it is considered dangerous
even to speak about truth, thus instilling doubt about the basic values of
individual and community life”.

The Holy Father went on to recall how the dicastery was founded by
Benedict XV in 1915. “For nearly a hundred years”, he said, “it has been
doing its important work serving the various kinds of Catholic formative
institute”, such as the seminary, which “is one of the most important for
the life of the Church and thus needs educational projects which take
account of the abovementioned [cultural] context”.

Benedict XVI then remarked on the fact that the participants in the
plenary will be studying a draft document on “The internet and formation in
seminaries”. The internet, he said, “with the necessary discernment to
ensure it is used intelligently and prudently, can be a useful tool, not
only for the studies but also for the pastoral work of future priests in
various ecclesial fields, such as evangelisation, missionary activity,
catechesis, educational projects, and administration of institutions. Here
too, the presence of well-prepared formators is of vital importance, as they
act as faithful guides accompanying candidates to the priesthood in the
correct and positive use of the information media.

“This year”, he added, “marks the seventieth anniversary of the Pontifical
Work for Priestly Vocations, established by the Venerable Pius XII to favour
collaboration between the Holy See and the local Churches in the vital task
of promoting vocations to the ordained ministry. This anniversary can be an
opportunity to understand and take advantage of the most important
vocational initiatives being promoted in the local Churches. It is important
… to insist more clearly on the nature of priestly ministry, characterised
by its specific configuration to Christ, something which intrinsically
distinguishes it from the other faithful and places it at their service”.

The Pope also commented on the fact that the participants have begun a
revision of the Apostolic Constitution “Sapientia christiana” on
ecclesiastical universities and faculties. “One sector meriting particular
attention is that of theology”, he said. “It is vital for theology to remain
closely linked to individual and community prayer, especially liturgical

“Catholic universities, with their highly specific identity and their
openness to the ‘totality’ of human beings, can do precious work to promote
the unity of knowledge, guiding students and teachers towards the Light of
the world”, he said.

The Holy Father concluded his remarks by underlining “the educational role
of the teaching of Catholic religion as an academic discipline in
interdisciplinary dialogue with others. It contributes, indeed, not only to
the integral development of the student, but also to an understanding of
others, to comprehension and mutual respect. To reach these goals,
particular attention must be paid to the education of directors and
formators, not only from a professional, but also from a religious and
spiritual standpoint so that, through coherent lifestyle and personal
involvement, the presence of Christian educators may become an expression of
love and a witness of truth”.
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