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ROME (CNS) -- Faith is a continuing path of growth and maturity that cannot progress without the presence of temptations, Pope Francis told priests of the Diocese of Rome.
How faith develops in "a man, in a priest" despite his flaws can be seen in St. Peter, the pope said March 2 as he led a meditation with diocesan and religious clergy.
"One thing is clear: Temptation is always present in the life of Simon Peter and temptation is always present in our lives. Moreover, without temptation, you cannot progress in faith. In the 'Our Father,' we ask for the grace to not fall but not to not be tempted," he said.
The meeting, held at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, was delayed for roughly 45 minutes as Pope Francis heard the confessions of a dozen priests, according to the Vatican press office.
Greeted with a warm applause by the priests, the pope said that he would not read his entire meditation and instead focus on key aspects of his talk, titled, "The progress of faith in priestly life."
Without a continual growth in faith, the pope said, priests run the risk of remaining immature and living priestly life "halfway."
"And we priests, if we do not have a mature faith capable of generating faith in others -- that is, fatherhood -- we can do harm and so much evil. But if faith grows, it does so much good," the pope said, departing from his prepared remarks.