CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A priest must be a witness and apostle of the love that is in the hearts of Christ and Mary, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this today during the general audience in Castel Gandolfo in which he reflected on St. John Eudes and the priesthood, in the context of the Year for Priests. The feast of the 17th-century French saint is celebrated today.
Noting the difficulties in 17th-century France, the Holy Father said that "the Holy Spirit inspired a fervent spiritual renewal, with prominent personalities. […] This great 'French school' of holiness also had St. John Mary Vianney among its fruits. By a mysterious design of Providence, my venerated predecessor, Pius XI, proclaimed John Eudes and the Curé d'Ars saints at the same time, on May 31, 1925, offering the Church and the whole world two extraordinary examples of priestly holiness."
Speaking about the formation of diocesan priests, the Pontiff recalled how in the 16th century, "the Council of Trent issued norms for the establishment of diocesan seminaries and for the formation of priests, as the council was aware that the whole crisis of the Reformation was also conditioned by the insufficient formation of priests, who were not adequately prepared intellectually and spiritually, in their heart and soul, for the priesthood."
Image Source: Monks of St. Bernard, Believed to be in the Public Domain