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At the end of the Pope’s General Audience on Wednesday, 6 February, Benedict XVI received in the Paul VI Hall the participants of the 12th General Assembly of the Fraternity of Saint Charles Borromeo. They had just elected a new Superior General, Father Paolo Sottopietra, 45.  Father Sottopietra is the second Superior General following the founder and Superior General the Most Reverend Massimo Camisasca who was ordained bishop for the Diocese of Reggio Emilia on 7 December. Camisasca served as the leader for 27 years. The Fraternity developed from the charism of the Servant of God Father Luigi Giussani and the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation. 

Present at the papal audience were Bishop Massimo Camisasca, FSCB and Father Julián Carrón.

The Holy Father’s address

It gives me great joy to be with you. I remember well my visits to Palazzo Borromeo, next to St. Mary’s Major Basilica, where I personally met Fr. Giussani; I have known his faith, his joy, his strength and the richness of his ideas, the creativity of his faith. A true friendship developed between us; and so, through him I got to know even better the community of Communion and Liberation.

And I am glad that his successor is with us, who continues this great work and inspires so many people, so many lay people, men and women, priests and laity, to collaborate in spreading the Gospel and the growth of the Kingdom of God. And among you I have also had the opportunity to get to know Massimo Camisasca; we have talked about different things; I have gotten to know his creativity in art, his ability to see, to interpret the signs of the times, his great gift as a teacher, a priest. I once even had the honor to ordain some priests in Porto Santa Rufina, and it was nice to know that here a new Priestly Fraternity is arising in the spirit of St. Charles Borromeo, who always remains the great model of a Pastor who is truly stimulated by the love of Christ, who seeks out the small, who loves them and so truly creates faith and builds up the Church.

Now your Fraternity is large, and it is a sign that there are vocations. But there is also a need to be open to finding, accompanying, guiding and helping vocations mature. This is the thing for which I thank Don Camisasca, who has been a great educator. And today, education is always important to the growth of the truth, for us to grow in our status as children of God and brothers of Jesus Christ.

Now, thanks be to God, I have also known for a long time your new Superior General, who has also been in touch somewhat with my theology. So, I am glad that I can be spiritually and intellectually with you and that we can offer fruitful help to each other through our work.

May the Lord bless you all. I thank the Lord for this gift of your Fraternity: may it grow and deepen always, even more in the love of Christ, in the love of men for Christ. The Lord accompanies you.

Pictures of the meeting with Pope Benedict


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The Fraternity of Saint Charles Borromeo elected as their new Superior General, Father Paolo Sottopietra, 45.

Father Paolo Sottopietra’s brief biography is here in Italian: Paolo Sottopietra biography.pdf