“Being the papal representative is irreconcilable with criticizing the Pope behind his back, having blogs or indeed joining groups hostile to him, to the Curia or to the Church of Rome”, Pope Francis said in the central part of his address delivered during the audience he granted to the Papal representatives, dedicated to the figure of the nuncio as a “man of the Pope”. “As a papal representative, the Nuncio does not represent himself, but rather Peter’s Successor, and acts on his behalf in the Church and before governments; that is, he concretizes, implements and symbolizes the Pope’s presence among the faithful and populations”, Pope Francis recalled, adding that “it is good that in several countries the nunciature is called the ‘House of the Pope’”. “Certainly, every person may have reservations, sympathies and antipathies – the Holy Father admitted -, but a good Nuncio cannot be a hypocrite as the representative is a conduit, or better, a bridge connecting the Vicar of Christ to the people to whom he is sent, in a specific zone, for which he is appointed and sent by the same Roman Pontiff”.
“Hence yours is a very demanding mission, for it demands openness and flexibility, humility, impeccable professionalism, and communication and negotiation skills”, the Pope told the Vatican diplomats: “It requires you to frequently travel by car, long distances, that is, to live with your suitcase always packed”. “Since the Nuncio is sent by the Pope and the Church, he must be skilled at human relations, have a natural inclination to interpersonal relations, that is, he needs to be close to the faithful, priests, local Bishops, and other diplomats and leaders”, Pope Francis wrote, suggesting that “the service of the representative also includes visiting the communities the Pope cannot visit, assuring them of the closeness of Christ and the Church”, as Paul VI recommended. As a representative, the Nuncio should also “constantly keep himself up to date and study so as to gain deep knowledge of the teachings and positions of the person he represents”. He has also “the duty to constantly update and inform the Pope on the situation and on the different ecclesial and socio-political changes in the country to which he is sent”.