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Vatican diplomacy is priestly work, Pope reminds future envoys

June 10, 2011

During a June 10 visit to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy—the institution that trains young clerics for the Vatican diplomatic service—Pope Benedict XVI emphasized that every Vatican diplomat is “first a priest, a bishop…a servant of the Word of God.”

A representative of the Holy See is not an ordinary ambassador, representing a particular set of national interests, the Pope reminded the students and faculty. He is engaged in a form of ministry, entrusted with the mission of spreading the Gospel message. “It is precisely on the basis of this priestly identity” that a Vatican diplomat can work most effectively, the Pontiff said.

In order to be effective, the Pope continued, the Vatican diplomat should nurture his own spiritual life, relying on prayer to provide “a deep inner balance in a work that requires, among other things, the capacity of openness to others, an equanimity of judgement, a critical distance from personal opinions, sacrifice, patience, constancy, and, at times, even firmness in the dialogue with others.”


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