June 30, 2010 // Uncategorized

Good pastors uphold morals but also know their people, pope says

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Greeting hundreds of pilgrims who came to Rome with their archbishops, Pope Benedict XVI said a good pastor is one who knows and upholds the Church’s moral teaching but also knows the worries and concerns of his people.

At his weekly general audience June 30, the day after he gave 38 archbishops a pallium as a sign of their authority as pastors, the pope focused his remarks on the life and ministry of St. Joseph Cafasso, an Italian priest who died 150 years ago.

“He loved the Lord totally, was animated by a deeply rooted faith, sustained by profound and prolonged prayer and lived with sincere charity toward all,” the pope said about the Italian saint who was the spiritual director of St. John Bosco and the uncle of Blessed Giuseppe Allamano, founder of the Consolata Missionaries.

St. Joseph Cafasso was a professor and later rector of an institute in Turin, which taught newly ordained priests moral theology and trained them to hear confessions and to preach.

“He knew moral theology, but he also knew the situations and the hearts of the people and took on their burdens like a good shepherd. Those who had the grace of being close to him also were transformed into good pastors and valid confessors,” the pope said.

In addition to his personal prayer life and his work in training priests, St. Joseph Cafasso dedicated more than 20 years of his life to serving as a chaplain in the Turin prison, “a inhuman and dehumanizing place,” the pope said.

“He was always a good pastor, understanding and compassionate,” the pope said.

The saint devoted particular time and attention to inmates condemned to death; “after having heard their confessions and giving them the Eucharist, he accompanied 57 condemned men to the gallows. He accompanied them with deep love until they took their last breaths,” the pope said.

After reading a brief summary of his talk in French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese and in brief greetings in Polish, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian and Italian, the pope greeted by name the archbishops who had received their palliums the previous day and asked their pilgrim groups to continue praying for their archbishops.

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Editor’s Note: The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100630_en.html.

The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish will be posted online at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20100630_sp.html.

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