Put on a radiant face

Posted by Patrice Tuohy
Saturday 08, August 2009 | Category:   Consecrated Life

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi
The papal nuncio (ambassor) Archbishop Pietro Sambi gave the keynote address at this past week's gathering in St. Louis of the major superiors of men religious. In his address, National Catholic Reporter's John Allen reports,

Sambi called upon the church in the United States “not to remain a prisoner of the sex scandal” nor “a prisoner to the crisis in religious life.” Sambi acknowledged that the sexual abuse crisis has taken a terrible toll, saying that in some quarters it has “deprived us of all credibility.” Likewise, he conceded that diminishing numbers have induced a crisis of confidence in some circles of religious life. Nonetheless, Sambi insisted that rebirth is possible through adopting the spirit of St. Paul, being “seized,” “grasped,” by the Gospel of Christ, and preaching that gospel relentlessly. “There is a Christian way of dealing with problems,” Sambi told the several hundred leaders of religious life. “It involves converting humiliation into strength by fidelity to our vocation and mission.”

Also on his blog, Allen had this to say about the papal nuncio:

Here’s a window onto Sambi’s personality: When I sat down next to him at the speaker’s table on Thursday morning, I asked how he was doing. “Better every day,” he said with a broad smile, adding. “We must be optimistic ... we are Christians, after all.” Sambi is the kind of guy who, just by being himself, puts a radiant human face on the church.

That seems to be a worthy aspiration for all Christians: Commitment to putting a radiant human face on the church.

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