Sunday, October 16, 2011

Public Office Must be Exercised with Dignity & Responsibility -- Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, 14 OCT 2011 (VIS) - "The exercise of civil authority is so important as to have an almost 'sacred' character; therefore it must be exercised with great dignity and a lively sense of responsibility". These words were pronounced this morning by the Holy Father to Italian provincial prefects, accompanied by Roberto Maroni, minister of the Interior, in an audience arranged as part of the celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.

In his address the Pope highlighted how throughout the country "we can see the traces which the Christian faith has left impressed in the customs of the Italian people, giving rise to noble and deep-rooted religious and cultural traditions, as well as to an artistic heritage unique in the world". Today too the Catholic Church "is an important presence among the people, aware of their deepest needs which she interprets in a logic of readiness and service".

"Conscious of the fact that, as John Paul II said, we depend upon one another, the Church wishes to unite with other institutions and with the various territorial organizations, in order to create a firm platform of moral virtues upon which to build a coexistence worthy of man. In this mission the Church knows she can rely on the effective and friendly collaboration of prefects, whose function it is to guarantee ... social cohesion and civil rights".

Benedict XVI recalled the position of the Social Doctrine of the Church vis-a-vis public administration, "which is not to be conceived as impersonal or bureaucratic, but rather as an act of generous assistance for citizens, undertaken with a spirit of service". He also noted how the work of prefects today has become more complex and arduous due to economic and social uncertainty, and exhorted them not to be disheartened by difficulties. "Handle the matters entrusted to you with prudence and a great sense of duty, never failing in your commitment to truth and or in your courage to defend the supreme good. ... As high-level representatives of State, you are called to combine authority and professionalism in the exercise of your responsibilities, especially at times of tension and discord", he said.

The Pope concluded by inviting the prefects to follow the example of their patron, St. Ambrose, "so that your work may always serve justice, peace, freedom and the common good. God will not fail to support your efforts, rewarding them with abundant fruits to spread the civilization of love".


AC/Vatican Information Service
20111014 (420)

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