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Priests represents Christ, not himself, Pope tells audience

April 14, 2010

A Catholic priests "is always a teacher," Pope Benedict XVI remarked at his weekly public audience on April 14.

Speaking to a crowd of about 16,000 people in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father said that a priestly vocation is "not chosen by anyone for himself," but a call to serve God in the Christian community. When he answers that call, the Pope continued, the priest "represents Jesus, who is never absent in the Church." He went on to say that a priest "never acts in the name of someone absent, but in the person of the Risen Christ."

By the same token, Pope Benedict continued, a priest does not teach according to his own wisdom, but follows that of the Church. "For a priest," he said, "it is true what Christ says of Himself: my teaching is not my own."

The Pope concluded his prepared remarks by reminding his audience that the Church is observing a Year for Priests, and suggesting that the patron saint of priests, St. John Vianney, should be a model for all priests to follow. The faithful, he said, should hear "that which must always be recognized in a priest: the voice of the Good Shepherd."


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