Vatican City, May 9, 2014 / 03:55 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis visited some of the Holy See’s future diplomats on May 2, advising them that their diplomatic work must rest on a Christian worldview.
“In order to understand reality, the present must be read with the eyes of a believer,” Pope Francis said at the Vatican’s Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, according to L’Osservatore Romano. “It is an illusion to think we can read reality while disregarding our status as disciples of Jesus Christ. The interpretation needed to understand the present, the Christian hermeneutic, is based on the outlook of the disciples.” The Pope was received at the academy by its president, Archbishop Giampiero Gloder, who was joined by 29 priests presently training to be the Holy See’s diplomats. A group of religious from the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Child Jesus, supporters of the academy, also attended. The discussions with Pope Francis began after evening prayer and ended with a dinner. In response to a question from one of the priests, Pope Francis described three fundamentals for a good pontifical diplomat. He stressed the importance of “remembering the past,” citing the prophets of the Old Testament. These prophets “have the task of keeping alive the memory of God’s faithfulness and the unfaithfulness of the people,” the Pope said. A diplomat “should know the history of God with the people he has been called to serve.” Another diplomatic fundamental consists in being able to correctly assess the present. “This realism of the present is connected to competency, to studying and learning in order to fully understand a country’s situation. This means studying, visiting and speaking with the people,” Pope Francis said. A third fundamental is prudence, he continued. “It’s not possible to walk down every street,” the Pope explained. “A prophet ought to stand on these three pillars in order to say the right words, make the right gesture that is developed in prayer.” He warned that when the memory of the Gospel, of the Church, or of the history of nation are lost, “everything ends up in ideology.” The Pope encouraged those working in formation at the pontifical academy to embrace “competency,” calling this “the profound study of problems in order to avoid improvisations.” He encouraged them to demonstrate fraternity and “priestly friendship” to overcome “ambition and excessive talk.” Above all, he recommended prayer “as that conversation in silence before the altar, placing before the Lord the situations and problems experienced in the ministry.” The pontiff addressed current issues facing the Church, such as the commitment to care for the dignity of human life at the international level. He also discussed the expectations for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family.