Pope Francis "four pillars:" "intellectual, spiritual, human and pastoral" to Bishops of Burundi Africa

(Vatican Radio) In a country which continues to feel the wounds of the " terrible conflict " of its recent past, consecrated people can be “witnesses of fraternity” for the public sector and the lay community. That’s what Pope Francis told the bishops of Burundi, whom he received Monday during their ad limina visit to Rome. In a discourse in French, the Pope said peace is possible even after war has taught people to hate.

Observing that the deep wounds of the 1993 - 2005 conflict continue to scar and divide Burundi’s population, the Pope said only an “authentic conversion of hearts to the Gospel” can lead people to “fraternal love and forgiveness.”

Noting the bishops’ desire for evangelization of the Burundian people as a means for “true reconciliation,” the Pope said the Church must offer witnesses whose actions “accord with their faith” and who courageously proclaim Christian values in the public sphere.

In particular, Pope Francis said the local Church must take initiatives in social and political dialogue to promote reconciliation. And he suggested that the local Church be open to dialogue with public authorities who "are in need of your witness to your faith and courageous proclamation of Christian values​​, so that they can understand the Church's social doctrine, appreciating its value and inspiration in the management of public affairs ."

In order to be up to the task, priests must be properly trained from the very beginning of their studies and assisted throughout their ministry. Each vocation to the priesthood, he reiterated , must in all cases be based on "four pillars:" "intellectual, spiritual, human and pastoral" development. The Gospel should remain their focus throughout their pastoral ministry, and the Pope affirmed that priests should not allow administrative concerns to dominate their duty to attend to the pastoral needs of the faithful, nor should they focus strictly on providing the sacraments without offering other forms of evangelization.

Today, the Pope acknowledged, vocations " are fragile " and young people " need to be carefully supported in their journey.” The priests who minister to them must be “true examples of joy and priestly perfection, (people) who are their neighbors and share their lives , who really listen to them and guide them so as to know better.” “It is only at this price,” he added, “that fair judgment can be exercised to avoid unfortunate mistakes. "

The Pope acknowledged the many good works carried out by consecrated people in the areas of social education, health care and the assistance they provide to the many refugees in Burundi. But he noted that Burundi’s lay people and youth as a whole are also in need of authentic Christian development: "In a world undergoing secularization, it is necessary to give the younger generation an authentic view of life, society , the family." To achieve this, the Pope concluded , it will be essential to do " everything possible" to immerse education in Christian values - both within and outside Catholic schools - so that Burundi 's future leaders, can build a "more humane and just " society.

Text from page Vatican Radio website