Pope Benedict’s Message

Pope Benedict XVI

“Blessed is the servant who has faith in the clergy who live uprightly according to the Roman Church.”
“We must honor all … those who minister the most holy divine words and respect them as those who minister to us spirit and life.” St. Francis

Protecting marriage is protecting children

Saint Francis of Assisi – Catechesis by Pope Benedict

 

 


Universe is product of design, not chance

 

Pope Explains his Authorty

 


Pope Benedict said that Christ had given his apostles, and the bishops who succeeded them, the duty to ensure that the faith is passed along without dilution or distortion. Although the Pope “must be aware that he is a weak and fragile man,” he cannot avoid this responsibility, the Holy Father continued. He must execute his teaching function, fulfilling the mandate from Christ, because “when Sacred Scripture is separated from the living voice of the Church, it falls victims to the disputes among experts.”
The Pope acknowledged that papal authority is a stumbling block for some people, who see the teaching magisterium as a threat to freedom of belief and of conscience. But he explained that the Pope’s authority is not really his own, since “the ministry of the Pope is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word.” As teacher, he continue, the Pontiff “binds himself and the Church in obedience to God’s Word, in the face of all attempts to adapt that Word, or water it down, and in the face of all forms of opportunism.” Benedict XVI went on to say that his predecessor, John Paul II, was carrying out this task when he repeatedly demanded respect fro human life, in the face of mounting public opposition. “The freedom to kill is not true freedom, a but a tyranny that reduces human beings to slavery,” he said.

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January 06, 2011 Universe is product of design, not chance, Pope says

The universe reflects “the wisdom of the Creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his homily as he celebrated Mass for the feast of the Epiphany, January 6.

Commenting on the visit of the Magi, the Holy Father said that the wise men who followed a star recognized the plan that is inherent in all creation. The universe is not driven by random chance, he said. “In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, its greatness and rationality, we cannot fail to read the eternal rationality,” the Pope said. “We can not help but be guided by it to the one God, Creator of heaven and earth.”

A Fox News report on the homily drew the curious conclusion that the Pope was speaking about the “Big Bang” theory. But in fact the Pontiff spoke about the limitations of all human ideas about life—political as well as scientific—and all human plans that tend to shut out God. He reflected on how King Herod feared the Christ Child, because of jealousy for his royal power. All believers should learn from that story, he said:

Herod is a character whom we do not like, whom we instinctively judge in a negative way for its brutality. But we should ask ourselves: maybe there is something of Herod in us? Perhaps we, too, on occasion, see God as a kind of rival?
At his midday audience on January 6, the Pope sent his greetings to the Eastern Christian churches that celebrate Christmas on January 7. He offered a prayer that all of Christ’s faithful would be “strengthened in faith, hope, and charity.” In an apparent reference to Christians who have been the victims of violent attacks, he prayed that “comfort be given to communities that are suffering.”

Benedict XVI Stresses Ethics in Politics

 


Says Lack of Moral Principles Threatens Democracy
LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).-
https://mail.google.com/mail/?source=navclient-ff&shva=1#inbox/12b21acc762d026c
Benedict XVI is underlining the need to base political decisions in ethical foundations and objective moral principles, without which democracy is threatened.

Today in London, the Pope addressed representatives of civil society, the academic, cultural and entrepreneurial world, the diplomatic corps and religious leaders at Westminster Hall. The meeting took place on the second day of the Pontiff’s four-day state visit to the United Kingdom.

The Holy Father affirmed, “There is widespread agreement that the lack of a solid ethical foundation for economic activity has contributed to the grave difficulties now being experienced by millions of people throughout the world.”

“So too in the political field,” he added, “the ethical dimension of policy has far-reaching consequences that no government can afford to ignore.”

Benedict XVI stated that the central question at issue, then, is this: where is the ethical foundation for political choices to be found?”

The Pope highlighted the example of St. Thomas More, “the great English scholar and statesman, who is admired by believers and non-believers alike for the integrity with which he followed his conscience, even at the cost of displeasing the sovereign whose ‘good servant’ he was, because he chose to serve God first.”

The Pontiff continued, “The dilemma which faced More in those difficult times, the perennial question of the relationship between what is owed to Caesar and what is owed to God, allows me the opportunity to reflect with you briefly on the proper place of religious belief within the political process.”

“Britain has emerged as a pluralist democracy which places great value on freedom of speech, freedom of political affiliation and respect for the rule of law, with a strong sense of the individual’s rights and duties, and of the equality of all citizens before the law,” he observed.

Common good
“Catholic social teaching has much in common with this approach,” the Holy Father noted, “in its overriding concern to safeguard the unique dignity of every human person, created in the image and likeness of God, and in its emphasis on the duty of civil authority to foster the common good.”

He continued: “Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: what are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend?

“By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved?”

“These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse,” Benedict XVI stated.

“If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident,” he said. “Herein lies the real challenge for democracy.”

“The Catholic tradition maintains that the objective norms governing right action are accessible to reason, prescinding from the content of revelation,” the Pope affirmed.

“According to this understanding,” he continued, “the role of religion in political debate is not so much to supply these norms, as if they could not be known by non-believers — still less to propose concrete political solutions, which would lie altogether outside the competence of religion — but rather to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles.”

The Pontiff said, “This is why I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith — the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief — need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilization.”


Society is Losing Religion, Says Benedict XVI

 

Religion is losing favor in society, which is a threat to the basic foundations of marriage and respect for the person from conception to natural death, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today upon receiving the letters of credence of Walter Jürgen Schmid, the new German ambassador to the Holy See.

In his address, the Pope lamented that “there is no strong attachment to religion” in society in general, and that faith in the “personal God” of Christianity is being left to the side in favor of a notion of a “god” who is “a supreme, mysterious and indeterminate being, who has only a vague relationship” with mankind.

“If one abandons faith in a personal God, the alternative arises of a ‘god’ who does not know, does not listen and does not speak,” the Pontiff warned. “And, more than ever before, does not have a will.

“If God does not have his own will, in the end good and evil are not distinguished, good and evil are no longer in contradiction to one another, but are in an opposition in which one is complementary of the other.

“Thus man loses his moral and spiritual strength, necessary for the complete development of the person. Social action is dominated increasingly by private interest or by the calculation of power, at the expense of society.

“Instead, if God is a Person — and the order of creation as well as the presence of Christians of conviction in society is a sign of this — it follows that an order of values is legitimized.”

Marriage

Benedict XVI also reflected on the concept of marriage, stating that it is “manifested as a lasting union of love between a man and a woman, which is also directed to the transmission of human life.”

He said the Church “cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a reappraisal of alternative models of the life of a couple and of the family,” which would “contribute to the weakening of the principles of the Natural Law and thus to relativizing the whole of legislation and also to confusion on the values in society.”

The Pope also spoke of the need to be “diligent” with regard to the advances in biotechnology and medicine, asserting that the “human person be protected precisely in a situation of weakness,” and that the person “always has priority in regard to other objectives.”

“We have the duty to study diligently to what point these methods can be of help to man and where, instead, it is a question of the manipulation of man, of violation of his integrity and dignity,” the Pontiff noted. “We cannot reject this progress, but we must be very diligent.”

“Once one begins to distinguish — and this now happens often in the maternal womb — between a worthy life and a life unworthy of living, no other phase of life will be safe, and even less so old age and infirmity,” the Holy Father added.

At the end of his address, Benedict XVI encouraged the government of Germany to offer a “pondered and pacifying” contribution to the current media culture.

“The construction of a human society requires fidelity to truth,” he affirmed, lamenting that at times the news cycle is driven by competition instead of facts.

“The subject becomes particularly problematic,” he noted, “when authoritative persons take a public position in this respect, without being able to confirm the aspects adequately.”


No Government Can Make Love Superfluous

 

Without charity work, society cannot last long, Benedict XVI says, since even in the most just society, love will always be necessary.
Referencing his encyclical “Deus Caritas Est,” he also affirmed that “love will always be necessary, even in the most just society.”
“Love of neighbor cannot be delegated,” he said, and “the state and politics, even with their necessary concern for well-being, cannot replace it.”
“There is no just state legislation that can make the service of love superfluous,” the Bishop of Rome contended. “Whoever wants to have nothing to do with love, disposes himself to have nothing to do with the person as person; there will always be suffering that needs consolation, help.”

Volunteers
“… volunteers are not ‘provisional resources’ in the social network, but persons who really contribute to delineate the human and Christian face of society,” he said. “Without charitable work, the common good and society will not be able to last long, because their progress and dignity depend in large measure precisely on those persons who do more than strictly fulfill their duty.”
Benedict XVI encouraged the civil protection workers to be “living icons of the good Samaritan, paying attention to your neighbor, recalling the dignity of the person and inspiring hope.”
Your mission,” he said, “does not consist only in the management of emergencies, but in a great conscientious and meritorious contribution to the realization of the common good,” which “represents always the horizon of human coexistence also and above all in moments of great trials.”

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Protecting marriage is protecting children

 


Pope tells Pontifical Council February 08, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI met on February 8 with members of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who have gathered for their plenary meeting under the direction of the council’s president’ Cardinal Ennio Antonelli. The Pope encouraged the group in its studies on the themes: “the family, subject of evangelization” and “the family, resource for society.”
The Pontiff devoted some time to a discussion of the Pontifical Council’s plans to produce a new document on preparation for marriage. Citing the work of his predecessor John Paul II, Pope Benedict said that there are three essential types of preparation: remote, when children are trained to have a healthy attitude toward marriage and human sexuality; proximate, when engaged couples learn together about the Church’s approach to Christian marriage; and immediate, when the couple makes final spiritual preparations to enter a marital union.
Pope Benedict called the group’s attention to the UN discussion of the rights of children. “The family founded on marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest help that can be given to children,” he said. “Supporting the family and promoting its true good, its rights, its unity and stability is the best way to protect the rights and the real needs of children.” The Pope acknowledged with regret in his address that some Catholic priests had failed to respect the rights of children by abusing them. He vowed that the Church “hasn’t, and won’t ever, stop deploring and condemning” their misdeeds.

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Saint Francis of Assisi – Catechesis by Pope Benedict XVI

 


Dear brothers and sisters,

In a recent catechesis, I already illustrated the providential role that the Order of Friars Minor and the Order of Preachers, founded respectively by St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic Guzmán, had in the renewal of the Church of their time. Today I would like to present to you the figure of Francis, an authentic “giant” of holiness, who continues to fascinate very many people of every age and every religion.

“A son is born to the world.” With these words, in the Divine Comedy (Paradiso, Canto XI), the greatest Italian poet, Dante Alighieri, alludes to Francis’ birth, which occurred at the end of 1181 or the beginning of 1182, in Assisi. Belonging to a wealthy family — his father was a textile merchant — Francis enjoyed a carefree adolescence and youth, cultivating the chivalrous ideals of the time. When he was 20 he took part in a military campaign, and was taken prisoner. He became ill and was released. After his return to Assisi, a slow process of spiritual conversion began in him, which led him to abandon gradually the worldly lifestyle he had practiced until then.

Striking at this time are the famous episodes of the meeting with the leper — to whom Francis, getting off his horse, gave the kiss of peace; and the message of the Crucifix in the little church of San Damiano. Three times the crucified Christ came to life and said to him: “Go, Francis, and repair my Church in ruins.” This simple event of the Word of the Lord heard in the church of San Damiano hides a profound symbolism. Immediately, St. Francis is called to repair this little church, but the ruinous state of this building is a symbol of the tragic and disturbing situation of the Church itself at that time, with a superficial faith that does not form and transform life, with a clergy lacking in zeal, with the cooling off of love; an interior destruction of the Church that also implied a decomposition of unity, with the birth of heretical movements.

However, at the center of this Church in ruins is the Crucified and he speaks: he calls to renewal, he calls Francis to manual labor to repair concretely the little church of San Damiano, symbol of the more profound call to renew the Church of Christ itself, with his radical faith and his enthusiastic love for Christ.

This event, which probably occurred in 1205, makes one think of another similar event that happened in 1207: the dream of Pope Innocent III. He saw in a dream that the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Mother Church of all churches, was collapsing and a small and insignificant religious supported the church with his shoulders so that it would not collapse. It is interesting to note, on one hand, that it is not the Pope who helps so that the church will not collapse, but a small and insignificant religious, whom the Pope recognizes in Francis who visited him. Innocent III was a powerful Pope, of great theological learning, as well as of great political power, yet it was not for him to renew the Church, but for the small and insignificant religious: It is St. Francis, called by God.

On the other hand, however, it is important to note that St. Francis does not renew the Church without or against the Pope, but only in communion with him. The two realities go together: the Successor of Peter, the bishops, the Church founded on the succession of the Apostles and the new charism that the Holy Spirit created at this moment to renew the Church. True renewal grows together.

Let us return to St. Francis’ life. Because his father Bernardone reproved him for excessive generosity to the poor, Francis, with a symbolic gesture, and before the bishop of Assisi, stripped himself of his clothes, thus intending to renounce his paternal inheritance: As at the moment of creation, Francis had nothing, but only the life that God gave him, and into whose hands he entrusted himself. Then he lived as a hermit until, in 1208, another fundamental event took place in the journey of his conversion. Hearing a passage of the Gospel of Matthew — Jesus’ discourse to the Apostles sent on mission — Francis feels he is called to live in poverty and to dedicate himself to preaching. Other companions associated themselves to him and, in 1209, he went to Rome, to submit to the Pope the project of a new form of Christian life. He was given a paternal reception by the great Pontiff who, enlightened by the Lord, intuited the divine origin of the movement awakened by Francis. The Poverello of Assisi had understood that every charism given by the Holy Spirit is placed at the service of the Body of Christ, which is the Church; hence, he always acted in full communion with the ecclesiastical authority. In the life of saints there is no opposition between a prophetic charism and the charism of government and, if some tension is created, they must wait patiently for the times of the Holy Spirit.

In reality, some historians in the 19th century and also in the last century tried to create behind the Francis of tradition, a so-called historical Francis, just as there is a desire to create behind the Jesus of the Gospels, a so-called historical Jesus. Such a historical Francis would not have been a man of the Church, but a man linked immediately only to Christ, a man who wished to create a renewal of the people of God, without canonical forms and without the hierarchy. The truth is that St. Francis really had a very immediate relationship with Jesus and with the Word of God, which he wished to follow sine glossa, exactly as it is, in all its radicalism and truth. It is also true that initially he did not have the intention of creating an order with the necessary canonical forms, but, simply, with the Word of God and the presence of the Lord, he wished to renew the people of God, to call them again to listening to the Word and to literal obedience to Christ. Moreover, he knew that Christ never is “mine” but always is “ours,” that “I” cannot have Christ and “I” cannot reconstruct against the Church, his will and his teaching — but only in communion with the Church, built on the succession of the Apostles, is obedience to the Word of God also renewed.

It is also true that he did not intend to create a new order, but only to renew the people of God for the Lord who comes. But he understood with suffering and pain that everything must have its order, that even the law of the Church is necessary to give shape to renewal and thus he really inserted himself totally, with the heart, in the communion of the Church, with the Pope and the bishops. He knew always that the center of the Church is the Eucharist, where the Body and Blood of Christ are made present. Through the priesthood, the Eucharist is the Church. Where priesthood, and Christ and communion of the Church go together, only there does the Word of God also dwell. The true historical Francis and the Francis of the Church speaks precisely in this way also to non-believers, to believers of other confessions and religions.

Francis and his friars, ever more numerous, established themselves in the Porziuncola, or church of Saint Mary of the Angels, sacred place par excellence of Franciscan spirituality. Also Clare, a young lady of Assisi of a noble family, placed herself in Francis’ school. Thus the Second Franciscan Order originated, that of the Poor Clares, another experience destined to bear outstanding fruits of sanctity in the Church.

The successor of Innocent III, Pope Honorius III, with his bull “Cum dilecti” of 1218, also upheld the singular development of the first Friars Minor, who were opening their missions in several countries of Europe, and even in Morocco. In 1219 Francis obtained permission to go to speak with the Muslim Sultan Melek-el-Kamel in Egypt, and also to preach the Gospel of Jesus there. I want to underline this episode of the life of St. Francis, which is very timely. At a time in which there was under way a clash between Christianity and Islam, Francis, armed deliberately only with his faith and his personal meekness, pursued with efficacy the way of dialogue. The chronicles tell us of a benevolent and cordial reception by the Muslim Sultan. It is a model that also today should inspire relations between Christians and Muslims: to promote a dialogue in truth, in reciprocal respect and in mutual understanding (cf. “Nostra Aetate,” 3).

It seems, then, that in 1220 Francis visited the Holy Land, thus sowing a seed that was to bear much fruit: his spiritual sons, in fact, made of the places in which Jesus lived a privileged realm of their mission. With gratitude I think today of the great merits of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

Returning to Italy, Francis entrusted the government of the order to his vicar, Friar Pietro Cattani, while the Pope entrusted the order, which continued gathering more followers, to the protection of Cardinal Ugolino, the future Supreme Pontiff Gregory IX. For his part the founder, totally dedicated to preaching, which he carried out with great success, wrote a Rule, later approved by the Pope.

In 1224, in the hermitage of La Verna, Francis saw the Crucified in the form of a seraphim and from the encounter with the crucified seraphim, he received the stigmata; he thus became one with the crucified Christ: a gift, hence, which expresses his profound identification with the Lord.

Francis’ death — his transitus — occurred on the evening of Oct. 3, 1226, at the Porziuncola. After blessing his spiritual sons, he died, lying on the naked earth. Two years later Pope Gregory IX inscribed him in the register of saints. A short time later, a large basilica was raised in Assisi in his honor, still today a destination for very many pilgrims, who can venerate the tomb of the saint and enjoy Giotto’s frescoes, a painter who illustrated in a magnificent way the life of Francis.

It has been said that Francis represents an alter Christus, he was truly a living icon of Christ. He was even called “Jesus’ brother.” Indeed, this was his ideal: to be like Jesus; to contemplate the Christ of the Gospel, to love him intensely and to imitate his virtues. In particular, he wished to give a fundamental value to interior and exterior poverty, teaching it also to his spiritual sons. The first Beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount — blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3) — found a luminous fulfillment in the life and in the words of St. Francis.

Truly, dear friends, the saints are the best interpreters of the Bible; they, incarnating in their lives the Word of God, render it more than attractive, so that it really speaks to us. Francis’ witness, who loved poverty to follow Christ with dedication and total liberty, continues to be also for us an invitation to cultivate interior poverty to grow in trust of God, uniting also a sober lifestyle and detachment from material goods.

In Francis, love for Christ is expressed in a special way in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. In Franciscan sources one reads moving expressions, such as this: “The whole of humanity fears, the whole universe trembles and heaven exults, when on the altar, in the hand of the priest, there is Christ, the Son of the living God. O wonderful favor! O sublime humility, that the Lord of the universe, God and Son of God, so humbles himself as to hide himself for our salvation, under the low form of bread” (Francis of Assisi, Scritti, Editrici Francescane, Padua, 2002, 401).

In this Year for Priests, it pleases me also to recall a recommendation addressed by Francis to priests: “When you wish to celebrate Mass, certainly in a pure way, carry out with reverence the true sacrifice of the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Francis of Assisi, Scritti, 399).

Francis always showed great deference to priests, and recommended that they always be respected, even in the case when, at the personal level, they are not very worthy. He cherished, as motivation for this profound respect, the fact that they have received the gift of consecrating the Eucharist. Dear brothers in the priesthood, let us never forget this teaching: the holiness of the Eucharist asks us to be pure, to live in a consistent way with the mystery we celebrate.

From the love of Christ is born love of people and also of all God’s creatures. Here is another characteristic trait of Francis’ spirituality: the sense of universal fraternity and love for Creation, which inspired his famous Canticle of Creatures. It is a very timely message. As I reminded in my recent encyclical “Caritas in Veritate,” the only sustainable development is one that respects Creation and does not damage the environment (cf. No. 48-52), and in the Message for the World Day of Peace of this year I underlined that also the building of a solid peace is linked to respect for creation. Francis reminds us that in creation is displayed the wisdom and benevolence of the Creator. In fact, nature is understood by him as a language in which God speaks with us, in which reality becomes transparent and we can speak of God and with God.

Dear friends, Francis was a great saint and a joyful man. His simplicity, his humility, his faith, his love of Christ, his kindness to every man and woman made him happy in every situation. In fact, between sanctity and joy there subsists a profound and indissoluble relation. A French writer said that there is only one sadness in the world: that of not being saints, that is, of not being close to God. Looking at St. Francis’ witness, we understand that this is the secret of true happiness: to become saints, close to God!

May the Virgin, tenderly loved by Francis, obtain this gift for us. We entrust ourselves to her with the same words of the Poverello of Assisi: “Holy Virgin Mary, there is no one like you born in the world among women, daughter and handmaid of the Most High King and heavenly Father, Mother of our Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, spouse of the Holy Spirit: pray for us … to your most holy favorite Son, Lord and Master” (Francis of Assisi, Writings, 163).

Ref. http://www.ofm.org/ofm/?p=586〈=en


Society is Losing Religion

 


Defends Marriage in Address to German Envoy
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 13, 2010 (Zenit.org).-
https://mail.google.com/mail/?source=navclient-ff&shva=1#inbox/12b0e01031942e84

Religion is losing favor in society, which is a threat to the basic foundations of marriage and respect for the person from conception to natural death, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today upon receiving the letters of credence of Walter Jürgen Schmid, the new German ambassador to the Holy See.

In his address, the Pope lamented that “there is no strong attachment to religion” in society in general, and that faith in the “personal God” of Christianity is being left to the side in favor of a notion of a “god” who is “a supreme, mysterious and indeterminate being, who has only a vague relationship” with mankind.

“If one abandons faith in a personal God, the alternative arises of a ‘god’ who does not know, does not listen and does not speak,” the Pontiff warned. “And, more than ever before, does not have a will.

“If God does not have his own will, in the end good and evil are not distinguished, good and evil are no longer in contradiction to one another, but are in an opposition in which one is complementary of the other.

“Thus man loses his moral and spiritual strength, necessary for the complete development of the person. Social action is dominated increasingly by private interest or by the calculation of power, at the expense of society.

“Instead, if God is a Person — and the order of creation as well as the presence of Christians of conviction in society is a sign of this — it follows that an order of values is legitimized.”

Marriage
Benedict XVI also reflected on the concept of marriage, stating that it is “manifested as a lasting union of love between a man and a woman, which is also directed to the transmission of human life.”

He said the Church “cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a reappraisal of alternative models of the life of a couple and of the family,” which would “contribute to the weakening of the principles of the Natural Law and thus to relativizing the whole of legislation and also to confusion on the values in society.”

The Pope also spoke of the need to be “diligent” with regard to the advances in biotechnology and medicine, asserting that the “human person be protected precisely in a situation of weakness,” and that the person “always has priority in regard to other objectives.”

“We have the duty to study diligently to what point these methods can be of help to man and where, instead, it is a question of the manipulation of man, of violation of his integrity and dignity,” the Pontiff noted. “We cannot reject this progress, but we must be very diligent.”

“Once one begins to distinguish — and this now happens often in the maternal womb — between a worthy life and a life unworthy of living, no other phase of life will be safe, and even less so old age and infirmity,” the Holy Father added.

At the end of his address, Benedict XVI encouraged the government of Germany to offer a “pondered and pacifying” contribution to the current media culture.

“The construction of a human society requires fidelity to truth,” he affirmed, lamenting that at times the news cycle is driven by competition instead of facts.

“The subject becomes particularly problematic,” he noted, “when authoritative persons take a public position in this respect, without being able to confirm the aspects adequately.”


Benedict XVI Pope Warns Economy and Ethics Too Easily Divorce

 


Urges Korea to Foster Common Good Along With Prosperity. [And a lesson for all nations]
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Economic growth can all too easily bypass ethical considerations, Benedict XVI is cautioning.

The Pope noted this today in an English-language address to Korea’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Han Hong-soon.

While congratulating Koreans for their “remarkable degree of industry and generosity” that has led to economic growth for the nation, the Holy Father also pointed to an observation made by Korean President Lee Myung-bak when he visited the Vatican last year. The president spoke of the “dangers involved in rapid economic growth which can all too easily bypass ethical considerations, with the result that the poorer elements in society tend to be excluded from their rightful share of the nation’s prosperity.”

The financial crisis has only worsened this problem, the Pontiff stated, though it has also “focused attention on the need to renew the ethical foundations of all economic and political activity.”

In this regard, Benedict XVI encouraged the Korean government in a commitment “to ensure that social justice and care for the common good grow side by side with material prosperity,” and he assured the cooperation of the Church in promoting “these worthy goals.”

Church’s work
The Holy Father went on to reflect about the Church’s efforts in Korea, noting its schools and educational programs, its endeavors in interreligious dialogue, and its charity programs.

“In all these ways, the local Church helps to nurture and promote the values of solidarity and fraternity that are essential for the common good of any human community, and I acknowledge with gratitude the appreciation shown by the government for the Church’s involvement in all these areas,” he said.

But, the Pope continued, the Church has a role that goes beyond these activities: “a role that involves proclaiming the truths of the Gospel, which continually challenge us to look beyond the narrow pragmatism and partisan interests that can so often condition political choices, and to recognize the obligations incumbent upon us in view of the dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God.”

This calls for a commitment to defending life from conception till natural death, promoting stable family life, and building peace and justice, he said.

The Pope affirmed: “The importance that your government attaches to our diplomatic relations demonstrates its recognition of the Church’s prophetic role in these areas.”

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December 20, 2010 Pope is unsparing in analysis of sex-abuse scandal

 


http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=8647
Pope tells Pontifical Council February 08, 2010

In a powerful address to the Roman Curia, looking back across the year 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said that the explosion of the sex-abuse scandal across Europe had gravely damaged and humbled the Church. He encouraged all prelates to ponder why and how it had happened, and what lessons could be learned.

Each year the Roman Pontiff meets with officials of the Roman Curia in mid-December for an exchange of Christmas greetings. The Pope’s address to the Curia has come to be regarded as one of the major papal policy statements of the year.

[The full text of the papal address is available in our library.]

Pope Benedict devoted most of his speech to the sex-abuse scandal. Reflecting on the damage, he said:

We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again.
The Pope argued, however, that the misdeeds of priests, while reprehensible, should be seen in “the context of these times in which these events have come to light.” He said that the prevailing attitudes of the 1960s and 1970s broke down the moral consensus against sexual exploitation. Citing the rise in child pornography, sexual tourism, and drug trafficking, he said that moral standards had broken down. The problem was regrettably allowed into the Church, Pope Benedict continued:

It was maintained-– even within the realm of Catholic theology-– that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than.’ Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. … Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.
The Holy Father began his address by citing the words of the Advent liturgy, imploring God to stir up his power and come to save his people. Those prayers, he remarked, were probably composed during a time of turmoil, as the Roman Empire was collapsing. The Christians of that era, he said, witnessed the “disintegration of the key principles of law and of the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them.” They were shaken by a series of major natural disasters. In short their times were much like our own.

So, the Pope said, Christians today should renew those prayers as Christmas approaches, asking for God to bring new light and life to his Church. “Let us ask him, then, to wake us from the sleep of a faith grown tired, and to restore to that faith the power to move mountains–- that is, to order justly the affairs of the world,” the Pope said.

Looking back across 2010, Pope Benedict recalled how the Year for Priests had helped clerics to gain a new appreciation for the beauty of their vocation. It was especially painful, he observed, when ugly revelations came at the close of that year. He recalled that “to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime.”

The Pope was unsparing in his condemnation of the abuse. He quoted at length from a mystical vision of St. Hildegard of Bingen, who said:

For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests.
The Pope mentioned, too, that this time of reckoning is a good moment to offer thanks to all of the people who have offered their help to victims of abuse, and sought to obtain justice and support for them.

Pope Benedict’s address to the Roman Curia touched on a few other topics as well. He spoke about the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, and the steady gains in relations with the Orthodox world. “Even if full communion is not yet granted to us,” the Pope commented, “we have nevertheless established with joy that the basic form of the ancient Church unites us profoundly with one another.”

The situation in the Middle East is troublesome in other respects, the Pope said, especially because of the violence against Christians there and elsewhere in the world. Christians, he said, “are the most oppressed and tormented minority.” He called upon world leaders to “put a stop to ‘Christianophobia.’”

The Pope also mentioned his trip to Great Britain, and repeated the message that he had proclaimed there: that a great society based on a Christian culture cannot thrive apart from its Christian roots. He mentioned with pleasure the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, and said that Cardinal Newman offers a valuable witness to contemporary society, because he understood that the most important aspects of life are those that concern the soul, and that the search for truth is inevitably linked with the search for God.

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