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VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI lamented the seemingly "dying" church in Europe and the United States and raised questions about the soaring number of priests in Asia and Africa in a lengthy, off-the-cuff speech to Italian priests.
Benedict also expressed sadness at the plight of divorced Roman Catholics who remarry without getting an annulment, reaffirming that they cannot receive Communion but stressing they should feel they still belong to the church.
The pope made the remarks to priests from the northern Valle d'Aosta region in a two-hour closed meeting Monday in Introd, near where he has been vacationing. The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published a transcript of the remarks Wednesday.
The pope began his remarks, which touched on Marx, the upheavals in Europe of 1968 and other topics, by stressing that a pope isn't an "oracle" and "is infallible only in rare situations." Benedict previously has stressed that he intends to listen to others and not do only his will as pope.
He then delved into the issues raised by the Aosta bishop on the concerns of priests, noting that he was recently visited by bishops from Africa and Sri Lanka, where the number of priests is skyrocketing. In Europe and elsewhere, the number of priests has fallen sharply.
Benedict he said the "joy" at the growing numbers of churchmen in the developing world is accompanied by "a certain bitterness" because some would-be priests were only looking for a better life.
"Becoming a priest, they become almost like a head of a tribe, they are naturally privileged and have another type of life," he said. "So the wheat and the chaff go together in this beautiful growth of vocations.
"Bishops have to be very attentive to discern (among the candidates) and not just be happy to have many future priests, but to see which ones really are the true vocations — discern between the wheat and the chaff," he said.
Benedict also touched on another his favorite themes: the state of the church in Europe. He said in contrast to the developing world, where there is a "springtime of faith," the West was "a world that is tired of its own culture, a world that has arrived at a time in which there's no more evidence of the need for God, much less Christ, and in which it seems that man alone can make himself.
Originally posted by Jehosephat
blame it on capitalisum and materialistic society. WHere people covert thier gadgets and toys instead of thier God