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Showing posts with label Pope Benedict XVI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pope Benedict XVI. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Pays Tribute to Pope Benedict's Theology

Address By His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew To The Circle Of Students Of Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) At The Opening Of The Conference On “Benedict XVI And Orthodoxy”

Your Eminence,

Esteemed members of the Study Group dedicated to the theology of Pope Benedict XVI,

We welcome you with great joy to the City of Constantine during this radiant period of the Lord’s resurrection. You have come to the Sacred See of the Holy and Great Church of Christ in order to deliberate on the theology of Pope Benedict XVI, the “theologian pope,” whose profound and prolific theological scholarship clearly proves that ecclesiastical ministry – even at the highest church offices – can coincide with a creative commitment to theological study.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pope Francis Creates 19 New Cardinals. Calls on Them to Evangelize with Courage

Pope Francis urged 19 freshman cardinals to shun rivalries and factions at an induction ceremony on Saturday where his scandal-plagued predecessor, pope Benedict, made a surprise appearance.

It was the first time Benedict attended a papal rite since his resignation a year ago. His presence offered the remarkable scene of a former pope, a reigning pope and a potentially future pope in St. Peter's Basilica at the same time. 

Read more at The Telegraph >>

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Holy Father Has Just Fervently Declared His Support for Benedict XVI’s Vision of the Church, and Has Issued a Clear Rejection of the So-Called ‘Spirit of Vatican II’

As attendance at Mass and the confessional ‘soars’, his pastoral strategy is looking clearer; who knows? The ‘Francis effect’ may even prove durable

An important letter, from Pope Francis to Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, has just been published. It includes the following: “With these lines I wish to be close to you and join myself to the act of presentation of the book ‘Primato pontificio ed episcopato. Dal primo millennio al Concilio ecumenico Vaticano II’ ['Pontifical primacy and epicopate: from the first millennium to the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.' The book is a collection of essays, some by Archbishop Marchetto, in his honour]. I beg you to consider myself spiritually present [there]…

“You have made [your love for the Church] manifest in many ways… above all it is manifest in all your purity in the studies made on the Second Vatican Council. I once told you, dear Abp. Marchetto, and I wish to repeat it today, that I consider you to be the best interpreter [ermeneuta] of the Second Vatican Council.”

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Saved Boy from Cancer, Says Family

By Dave Delozier

DENVER (KUSA) - The world viewed Pope Benedict XVI as the leader of more than a billion Catholics world-wide. He was regularly seen speaking to thousands in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

But Peter Srsich saw a different side of the pope.

When Peter was just 17-years-old he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

"He had a chest x-ray and it revealed a softball sized tumor in his chest," Laura Srsich, Peter's mother, said. "It was determined that it was stage four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma."

While doctors at Children's Hospital Colorado worked to save Peter's life, the Make-a-Wish Foundation granted him his wish.

"First thing Peter said, 'I'd love to go meet the Pope in Rome,'" Laura said.

On a sunny day in May Peter got his chance to meet Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square.

"When I got up to actually talk to him I was struck by how human he was," Peter said. "It was a humbling experience for me to see how humble he was."

Pope Benedict XVI listened as Peter told him about his journey with cancer. Peter presented the pope with a lime green wristband that had printed on it, "Praying for Peter." In return the pope offered a blessing for Peter.

"Then he blessed me. He put his hand right on my chest where the tumor had been. He didn't know where the tumor was, but he put his hand right there," Peter said.

Nearly a year later, Peter is now cancer free and a sophomore at Regis University. He is hoping one day to become an ordained priest.

Pope Benedict XVI surprised many when he announced his resignation, the first pope to do so since Pope Gregory XII in 1415.

Peter believes in doing so Pope Benedict XVI is humbly putting the Catholic Church ahead of his own needs. Something that Peter says is in character with the man he met.

"I'm going to remember him as one of the most humble people in the world, especially by this last act he is doing," Peter said. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Before Stepping Down, Pope Benedict Changed Phrase in Ceremony for Baptism

VATICAN CITY, August 22, 2013 – The Sunday after the Epiphany is the Sunday of the baptism of Jesus. And on each of these Sundays, year after year, Benedict XVI administered the first sacrament of Christian initiation to a certain number of children, in the Sistine Chapel.

Each time, therefore, he had occasion to pronounce the formulas supplied by the rite of baptism in effect since 1969. But two of the words in this rite never entirely convinced him.

And so, before renouncing the chair of Peter, he ordered that they should be changed in the original Latin, and as a result in the modern languages as well.

The provision, which was worked up by the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments, was published in the official bulletin of the dicastery, “Notitiae." Its existence was pointed out, amid the silence of the Vatican media, by the newspaper of the Italian episcopal conference, “Avvenire."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI’s “First Convert”

The story of how a New York Jew wrestled with Christ and became Catholic

By Roger Dubin

Groucho Marx once said, “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have a guy like me as a member.”  
So began my witness testimony at the Easter Vigil on April 7, 2007, when my wife Barbara and I entered the Catholic Church. For a New York Jew, who’d detested the name “Jesus” for as long as he could remember, to be standing before a packed congregation at Sacred Heart Church in Prescott, Arizona, having to recount in three minutes how he got there—well, you can imagine what a surreal a moment that was. 

Yet now, when instead of three minutes I have three thousand words, plus six years as a Catholic, the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis for perspective, the task is, if anything, even more daunting. But Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, asked me to give it a shot, so here goes. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill Praises Pope Emeritus for “Uncompromising and Consistent” Leadership

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia has thanked Pope Benedict XVI for his uncompromising position on faith issues and wished him strength, the patriarch's press service reported on Friday.

From Voice of Russia, Interfax

"In these days, which are special to you, I would like to express feelings of brotherly love in Christ and respect," the patriarch said in his message to the pontiff.

The patriarch said the decision made by Benedict XVI to step down from his post, which the pope announced "with humility and simplicity" on February 11, drew "a lot of response" in the hearts of millions of Catholics.

"Your uncompromising and consistent position on issues relating to faith and your adherence to the living church traditions have always been close to us. At a time when the ideology of permissiveness and moral relativism is trying to cause people to lose moral values, you boldly raised your voice in defense of evangelical ideals and high human dignity, calling on people to become free from sin," Patriarch Kirill said.

Patriarch Kirill said it is with warmth that he recalls his meetings with Joseph Ratzinger before his election as pope.

Patriarch Kirill believes the relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, "which bear great responsibility for testifying Christ to the modern world," received "a new impetus" in the years of the service of Benedict XVI.

Patriarch Kirill said he is hoping "the good and close relations between Orthodox and Catholic Christians," which developed with active participation by Benedict XVI, will continue developing under his successor.

"Accept my sincere wishes of good health, long life, and God's help in your prayer and theological work," the patriarch said in his message to Benedict XVI.

Benedict XVI voluntarily left his post as pope on February 28. Such things have not happened in the Vatican for almost 600 years. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in the 1415.

Benedict XVI intends to settle down in a monastery in the Vatican. He will not take part in church management and will dev vote his life wholly to prayer and thinking.

In his last address to believers, Benedict XVI said: "This day is different from other days. I will not be pope anymore, I will be a pilgrim undertaking his last stage of pilgrimage on this earth. This day has brought great joy to me. I am ready to serve God with all my heart, prayers, and thoughts, and all my internal forces. I bless you in the name of the Holy Spirit," he said.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tu Es Petrus! Thank You, Holy Father

Here is a loving tribute to our Holy Father, prepared by one of the Church's most dynamic religious communities of women, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, with music by the magnificent choral group, Libera.  Like our Blessed Lord whom he has served and valiantly proclaimed to the world, "he has done all things well" (Mk 7:37). If we could find a more perfect tribute, we would post it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pope Benedict's Homily for Ash Wednesday 2013: "It is Never Too Late to Return to God"

Vatican Basilica
Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The English translation is by Vatican Radio

Venerable Brothers,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today, Ash Wednesday, we begin a new Lenten journey, a journey that extends over forty days and leads us towards the joy of Easter, to victory of Life over death. Following the ancient Roman tradition of Lenten stations, we are gathered for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The tradition says that the first statio took place in the Basilica of Saint Sabina on the Aventine Hill. Circumstances suggested we gather in St. Peter’s Basilica. Tonight there are many of us gathered around the tomb of the Apostle Peter, to also ask him to pray for the path of the Church going forward at this particular moment in time, to renew our faith in the Supreme Pastor, Christ the Lord. For me it is also a good opportunity to thank everyone, especially the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, as I prepare to conclude the Petrine ministry, and I ask you for a special remembrance in your prayer.

The readings that have just been proclaimed offer us ideas which, by the grace of God, we are called to transform into a concrete attitude and behaviour during Lent. First of all the Church proposes the powerful appeal which the prophet Joel addresses to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (2.12). Please note the phrase “with all your heart,” which means from the very core of our thoughts and feelings, from the roots of our decisions, choices and actions, with a gesture of total and radical freedom. But is this return to God possible? Yes, because there is a force that does not reside in our hearts, but that emanates from the heart of God and the power of His mercy. The prophet says: “return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in punishment” (v. 13). It is possible to return to the Lord, it is a ‘grace’, because it is the work of God and the fruit of faith that we entrust to His mercy. But this return to God becomes a reality in our lives only when the grace of God penetrates and moves our innermost core, gifting us the power that “rends the heart”. Once again the prophet proclaims these words from God: “Rend your hearts and not your garments” (v. 13). Today, in fact, many are ready to “rend their garments” over scandals and injustices – which are of course caused by others – but few seem willing to act according to their own “heart”, their own conscience and their own intentions, by allowing the Lord transform, renew and convert them.

This “return to me with all your heart,” then, is a reminder that not only involves the individual but the entire community. Again we heard in the first reading: “Blow the horn in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly! Gather the people, sanctify the congregation; Assemble the elderly; gather the children, even infants nursing at the breast; Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her bridal tent (vv.15-16). The community dimension is an essential element in faith and Christian life. Christ came “to gather the children of God who are scattered into one” (Jn 11:52). The “we” of the Church is the community in which Jesus brings us together (cf. Jn 12:32), faith is necessarily ecclesial. And it is important to remember and to live this during Lent: each person must be aware that the penitential journey cannot be faced alone, but together with many brothers and sisters in the Church.

Finally, the prophet focuses on the prayers of priests, who, with tears in their eyes, turn to God, saying: ” Between the porch and the altar let the priests weep, let the ministers of the LORD weep and say: “Spare your people, Lord! Do not let your heritage become a disgrace, a byword among the nations! Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”(V.17). This prayer leads us to reflect on the importance of witnessing to faith and Christian life, for each of us and our community, so that we can reveal the face of the Church and how this face is, at times, disfigured. I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the Church, of the divisions in the body of the Church. Living Lent in a more intense and evident ecclesial communion, overcoming individualism and rivalry is a humble and precious sign for those who have distanced themselves from the faith or who are indifferent.

Photo By Gregorio Borgia
“Well, now is the favourable time, this is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). The words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians of Corinth resonate for us with an urgency that does not permit absences or inertia. The term “now” is repeated and can not be missed, it is offered to us as a unique opportunity. And the Apostle’s gaze focuses on sharing with which Christ chose to characterize his life, taking on everything human to the point of taking on all of man’s sins. The words of St. Paul are very strong: “God made him sin for our sake.” Jesus, the innocent, the Holy One, “He who knew no sin” (2 Cor 5:21), bears the burden of sin sharing the outcome of death, and death of the Cross with humanity. The reconciliation we are offered came at a very high price, that of the Cross raised on Golgotha, on which the Son of God made man was hung. In this, in God’s immersion in human suffering and the abyss of evil, is the root of our justification. The “return to God with all your heart” in our Lenten journey passes through the Cross, in following Christ on the road to Calvary, to the total gift of self. It is a journey on which each and every day we learn to leave behind our selfishness and our being closed in on ourselves, to make room for God who opens and transforms our hearts. And as St. Paul reminds us, the proclamation of the Cross resonates within us thanks to the preaching of the Word, of which the Apostle himself is an ambassador. It is a call to us so that this Lenten journey be characterized by a more careful and assiduous listening to the Word of God, the light that illuminates our steps.

In the Gospel passage according of Matthew, to whom belongs to the so-called Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to three fundamental practices required by the Mosaic Law: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. These are also traditional indications on the Lenten journey to respond to the invitation to «return to God with all your heart.” But he points out that both the quality and the truth of our relationship with God is what qualifies the authenticity of every religious act. For this reason he denounces religious hypocrisy, a behaviour that seeks applause and approval. The true disciple does not serve himself or the “public”, but his Lord, in simplicity and generosity: “And your Father who sees everything in secret will reward you” (Mt 6,4.6.18). Our fitness will always be more effective the less we seek our own glory and the more we are aware that the reward of the righteous is God Himself, to be united to Him, here, on a journey of faith, and at the end of life, in the peace light of coming face to face with Him forever (cf. 1 Cor 13:12).

Dear brothers and sisters, we begin our Lenten journey with trust and joy. May the invitation to conversion , to “return to God with all our heart”, resonate strongly in us, accepting His grace that makes us new men and women, with the surprising news that is participating in the very life of Jesus. May none of us, therefore, be deaf to this appeal, also addressed in the austere rite, so simple and yet so beautiful, of the imposition of ashes, which we will shortly carry out. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and model of every true disciple of the Lord accompany us in this time. Amen!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Godly Man in an Ungodly Age

 By Patrick J. Buchanan 
“To govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

With those brave, wise, simple words, Benedict XVI announced an end of his papacy. How stands the Church he has led for eight years? 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict's Abdication of the Petrine Office

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

Like so many throughout the world, we felt shock and ineffable sadness on learning of our Holy Father's abdication today.

The quiet, scholarly Bavarian Pope has been a great and historic helmsman for the bark of Saint Peter.  With his restoration of the Extraordinary or Tridentine Mass, he has healed wounds that festered for decades and ended nearly a half century of turmoil and alienation that followed the Second Vatican Council; he has built trust and collaboration between the See of Peter and the churches of Constantinople and Moscow; he has healed divisions between Anglicanism and Catholicism and provided a bridge across which disaffected Anglicans, Lutherans and other Protestants could return to the historic Church and keep the beautiful patrimony of their traditions; he has ensured faithful translations of the Roman Missal and reverent liturgies, he has reminded Catholics of the "hermeneutic of continuity" and restored our beautiful traditions and devotions.  With superb ecclesiastical appointments, personal example, brilliant teaching and the invocation of a special Year of Faith, he has refocused a bureaucratic and self-focused Church into a dynamic, renewed and evangelical Catholicism that is reaching millions in Africa and Asia, while offering a radical, counter-cultural vision to the youth of historically Christian nations.  He has spawned a wealth of vocations among generous young people who know the emptiness and the despair of hedonism and secularism and want to live their lives, like that of their Pope, in radical service to Jesus, the Gospels and the salvific mission of the Church.  Perhaps the Holy Father's greatest gift is that of a teacher.  In countless letters, encyclicals, homilies, reflections and books, Pope Benedict has presented the Word of God, difficult theological issues and doctrine  in ways that are not only clear and relevant to modern men and women, but in ways that profoundly touch their hearts and compel action.

It was shocking to learn that for the first time in over 700 years a Pope will abdicate his position as Supreme Pontiff.  We believe that popes and monarchs are far more than chief administrative officers, important for what they do, but rather God-chosen leaders, spiritual leaders, important for what they are and represent.  Pope Benedict is Christ's Vicar on Earth and the successor of Saint Peter, the first Pope, but he has shouldered that awesome responsibility with humility, kindness and a profound love for the Church and all of its members.  

We wish he would stay and continue a dutiful and brilliant papacy for many, many more years;  but even in relinquishing the Petrine Office, this gentlemanly and holy Pope provides new insights about life lived radically in service to Christ and His Church.  He has acted with humility and as a loving shepherd not only for her more than a billion professed members, but to all mankind who, whether they recognize it or not, have been entrusted to his care and are the objects of his love, prayers and service.

We know that the Holy Spirit will provide the Church with the right Pope for the years ahead, but the 265th link connecting that papacy with all those before it, right back to Saint Peter, will always be remembered for his brilliance, holiness, glorious restoration and renewal.  Thank you, Holy Father, for your example, faithful teaching, for all that you did to restore and renew Christ's Church for a new and challenging era in salvation history.

May God richly bless you and honor you, in this life and the next, for being a good and holy shepherd.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Historic Visit Scheduled Between Pope and Vietnam's Communist Leader

( In a move that surprised many, Benedict XVI will receive the secretary general of Vietnam's Communist Party on Tuesday. Nguyen Phu Trong will stop by the Vatican during a tour of European capitals.   

The audience with Benedict XVI is unusual for several reasons. The first is that Tuesday is usually a rest day for the Pope. In addition, papal audiences are usually reserved for heads of state, and not leaders of political parties.

Another reason is that the Communist Vietnamese government and the Holy See do not maintain full diplomatic relations. The two states have established a Joint Working Group to discuss the start of full relations, and the Vatican has a non residential representative.

One of the biggest sticking points in talks is the persecution of Catholics throughout the officially-atheist South East Asian country. The most recent Christian persecution list from Open Doors, place Vietnam at 21, describing the state of persecution as “severe.” The ecumenical group says Catholics and other Christians in the state are often harassed, and their worship increasingly restricted.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pope Benedict's Homily for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

Vatican Basilica
Sunday, 6 January 201
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For the Church which believes and prays, the Wise Men from the East who, guided by the star, made their way to the manger of Bethlehem, are only the beginning of a great procession which winds throughout history.  Thus the liturgy reads the Gospel which relates the journey of the Wise Men, together with the magnificent prophetic visions of the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah and Psalm 71, which depict in bold imagery the pilgrimage of the peoples to Jerusalem.  Like the shepherds, who as the first visitors to the newborn Child in the manger, embodied the poor of Israel and more generally those humble souls who live in deep interior closeness to Jesus, so the men from the East embody the world of the peoples, the Church of the Gentiles – the men and women who in every age set out on the way which leads to the Child of Bethlehem, to offer him homage as the Son of God and to bow down before him.  The Church calls this feast “Epiphany” – the appearance of the Godhead.  If we consider the fact that from the very beginning men and women of every place, of every continent, of all the different cultures, mentalities and lifestyles, have been on the way to Christ, then we can truly say that this pilgrimage and this encounter with God in the form of a Child is an epiphany of God’s goodness and loving kindness for humanity (cf. Tit 3:4).
Following a tradition begun by Pope John Paul II, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord also as the day when episcopal ordination will be conferred on four priests who will now cooperate in different ways in the ministry of the Pope for the unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ in the multiplicity of the Particular Churches. The connection between this episcopal ordination and the theme of the pilgrimage of the peoples to Jesus Christ is evident.  It is the task of the Bishop in this pilgrimage not merely to walk beside the others, but to go before them, showing the way. But in this liturgy I would like to reflect with you on a more concrete question.  Based on the account of Matthew, we can gain a certain idea of what sort of men these were, who followed the sign of the star and set off to find that King who would establish not only for Israel but for all mankind a new kind of kingship.  What kind of men were they?  And we can also ask whether, despite the difference of times and tasks, we can glimpse in them something of what a Bishop is and how he is to carry out his task.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pope Benedict Writes Christmas Column for the Financial Times

Pope Benedict has written an op-ed on the spiritual meaning of Christmas for the  December 20 issue of the Financial Times.  It is unprecedented for a Roman Pontiff to write an essay for a secular publication.

Upon releasing a copy of the Holy Father's column, the Vatican Information Service stated:  "The Pope's article for the Financial Times originates from a request from the editorial office of the Financial Times itself which, taking as a cue the recent publication of the Pope's book on Jesus' infancy, asked for his comments on the occasion of Christmas. Despite the unusual nature of the request, the Holy Father accepted willingly.

Pope Benedict previously agreed to be interviewed by the BBC at Christmas following his 2010 visit to the United Kingdom. The full text of the Pope's article follows:

A time for Christians to engage with the world
"'Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God,' was the response of Jesus when asked about paying taxes. His questioners, of course, were laying a trap for him. They wanted to force Him to take sides in the highly-charged political debate about Roman rule in the land of Israel. Yet there was more at stake here: if Jesus really was the long-awaited Messiah, then surely He would oppose the Roman overlords. So the question was calculated to expose Him either as a threat to the regime, or a fraud.

"Jesus’ answer deftly moves the argument to a higher plane, gently cautioning against both the politicisation of religion and the deification of temporal power, along with the relentless pursuit of wealth. His audience needed to be reminded that the Messiah was not Caesar, and Caesar was not God. The kingdom that Jesus came to establish was of an altogether higher order. As He told Pontius Pilate, 'My kingship is not of this world.'

"The Christmas stories in the New Testament are intended to convey a similar message. Jesus was born during a “census of the whole world” taken by Caesar Augustus, the Emperor renowned for bringing the Pax Romana to all the lands under Roman rule. Yet this infant, born in an obscure and far-flung corner of the Empire, was to offer the world a far greater peace, truly universal in scope and transcending all limitations of space and time.

"Jesus is presented to us as King David’s heir, but the liberation He brought to His people was not about holding hostile armies at bay; it was about conquering sin and death forever.

"The birth of Christ challenges us to reassess our priorities, our values, our very way of life. While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of great joy, it is also an occasion for deep reflection, even an examination of conscience. At the end of a year that has meant economic hardship for many, what can we learn from the humility, the poverty, the simplicity of the crib scene?

"Christmas can be the time in which we learn to read the Gospel, to get to know Jesus not only as the Child in the manger, but as the one in Whom we recognize God made Man.

"It is in the Gospel that Christians find inspiration for their daily lives and their involvement in worldly affairs – be it in the Houses of Parliament or the Stock Exchange. Christians shouldn’t shun the world; they should engage with it. But their involvement in politics and economics should transcend every form of ideology.

"Christians fight poverty out of a recognition of the supreme dignity of every human being, created in God’s image and destined for eternal life. Christians work for more equitable sharing of the earth’s resources out of a belief that, as stewards of God’s creation, we have a duty to care for the weakest and most vulnerable. Christians oppose greed and exploitation out of a conviction that generosity and selfless love, as taught and lived by Jesus of Nazareth, are the way that leads to fullness of life. Christian belief in the transcendent destiny of every human being gives urgency to the task of promoting peace and justice for all.

"Because these goals are shared by so many, much fruitful cooperation is possible between Christians and others. Yet Christians render to Caesar only what belongs to Caesar, not what belongs to God. Christians have at times throughout history been unable to comply with demands made by Caesar. From the Emperor cult of ancient Rome to the totalitarian regimes of the last century, Caesar has tried to take the place of God. When Christians refuse to bow down before the false gods proposed today, it is not because of an antiquated world-view. Rather, it is because they are free from the constraints of ideology and inspired by such a noble vision of human destiny that they cannot collude with anything that undermines it.

"In Italy, many crib scenes feature the ruins of ancient Roman buildings in the background. This shows that the birth of the child Jesus marks the end of the old order, the pagan world, in which Caesar’s claims went virtually unchallenged. Now there is a new king, who relies not on the force of arms, but on the power of love. He brings hope to all those who, like himself, live on the margins of society. He brings hope to all who are vulnerable to the changing fortunes of a precarious world. From the manger, Christ calls us to live as citizens of his heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that all people of good will can help to build here on earth".

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Pope's Christmas Card

Veritas de terra orta est! (“Truth shall spring out of the earth”). Benedict XVI chose these words  from Psalm 85:12 for this year’s Christmas card, which will be given to the Roman Curia, Vatican employees and all the faithful present at the audiences and celebrations in the upcoming days. The card, produced by the Vatican Printing Press, features the Holy Father’s hand-written message and this painting by Leandro Bassano (1557-1622), entitled: “The Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds”, located in the private apartment of the Apostolic Palace. Benedict XVI continues the tradition — began by Paul VI in 1963 — of printing cards for Christmas, Easter and other solemnities with a hand-written phrase taken from Scripture, the Church Fathers or the lectionary with a depiction of the theme of the liturgical feast.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pope Pays Tribute to Queen Elizabeth on Her Diamond Jubilee

The Vatican released today a message from Pope Benedict XVI to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of  her Diamond Jubilee.  The English-language text bears the date of 23 May.
"I write to offer my warmest congratulations to Your Majesty on the happy occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of your reign. During the past sixty years you have offered to your subjects and to the whole world an inspiring example of dedication to duty and a commitment to maintaining the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, in keeping with a noble vision of the role of a Christian monarch.

"I retain warm memories of the gracious welcome accorded to me by Your Majesty at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh at the beginning of my apostolic visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010, and I renew my thanks for the hospitality that I received throughout those four days. Your personal commitment to cooperation and mutual respect between the followers of different religious traditions has contributed in no small measure to improving ecumenical and inter-religious relations throughout your realms.

"Commending Your Majesty and all the royal family to the protection of Almighty God, I renew my heartfelt good wishes on this joyful occasion and I assure you of my prayers for your continuing health and prosperity".