ROME, Italy, March 15, 2011 ( – Priests ought to preach the full Gospel, even those aspects he finds uncomfortable, said Pope Benedict XVI last week.

The pope was speaking March 10th to the priests and religious of the Diocese of Rome.  He offered a meditation on Chapter 20 of the Acts of the Apostles, where St. Paul speaks to the elders of Ephesus.

“This is important: the apostle does not preach Christianity ‘a la carte’, according to his own taste,” said Pope Benedict.  “He did not preach a Gospel according to his favorite theological ideas.”

“He does not avoid the commitment to proclaim the whole counsel of God, even when uncomfortable, even the topics he personally does not like so much,” he continued.  “It is our mission to proclaim the whole counsel of God in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But it is important that we teach and preach – as St. Paul says here – and really bring the whole will of God.”

The pope’s words fit in with the emphasis he has placed in his papacy on the fact that true charity can only be founded on a deep respect for the truth, the thesis of his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (‘Charity in Truth’).

The pope’s address came less than a week after the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had called on priests to tackle issues like contraception, sterilization, and IVF in their homilies – topics which are often ignored due to their controversial nature.  In a publication released March 4th, the bishops urged priests to “foster an understanding of Church teachings on life and chastity” through “homilies, and through bulletin inserts and announcements citing good articles on these teachings.”