Speeches 2005-13 389
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Priests, Seminarians and Religious,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
[In Galician:] I thank Archbishop Xulián Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela for his kind words. I am happy to greet all of you with affection in the Lord and with gratitude for your presence in this highly significant place.
To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe. Above all, Christians go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the places associated with the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. They go to Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, and also to Compostela, which, associated with the memory of Saint James, has welcomed pilgrims from throughout the world who desire to strengthen their spirit with the Apostle’s witness of faith and love.
In this Holy Year of Compostela, I too, as the Successor of Peter, wished to come in pilgrimage to the “House of Saint James”, as it prepares to celebrate the eight-hundredth anniversary of its consecration. I have come to confirm your faith, to stir up your hope and to entrust to the Apostle’s intercession your aspirations, struggles and labours in the service of the Gospel. As I embraced the venerable statue of the Saint, I also prayed for all the children of the Church, which has her origin in the mystery of the communion that is God. Through faith we are introduced to the mystery of love that is the Most Holy Trinity. We are in some sense embraced by God, transformed by his love. The Church is this embrace of God, in which men and women learn also to embrace their brothers and sisters and to discover in them the divine image and likeness which constitutes the deepest truth of their existence, and which is the origin of genuine freedom.
Truth and freedom are closely and necessarily related. Honestly seeking and aspiring to truth is the condition of authentic freedom. One cannot live without the other. The Church, which desires to serve unreservedly the human person and his dignity, stands at the service of both truth and freedom. She cannot renounce either, because what is at stake is man himself, because she is moved by love for man, “the only creature on earth which God has wanted for its own sake” (Gaudium et Spes GS 24), and because without this aspiration for truth, justice and freedom, man would lose his very self.
From Compostela, the spiritual heart of Galicia and at the same time a school of unbounded universality, allow me to exhort all the faithful of this beloved Archdiocese, and those of the Church in Spain, to live their lives enlightened by the truth of Christ, confessing the faith with joy, consistency and simplicity, at home, at work and in their commitment as citizens.
May the joy of knowing that you are God’s beloved children bring you to an ever deeper love for the Church and to cooperate with her in her work of leading all men and women to Christ. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that many young people will devote themselves to this mission in the priestly ministry and in the consecrated life: today, it is as worthwhile as ever to dedicate one’s whole life to the proclamation of the newness of the Gospel.
I cannot conclude without first expressing my appreciation and gratitude to the Catholics of Spain for the generosity with which they support so many institutions of charity and of human development. Continue to maintain these works which benefit society as a whole, and whose effectiveness has been shown in a special way in the present economic crisis, as well as when grave natural disasters have affected certain countries.
[In Galician:] With these sentiments, I ask Almighty God to grant all of you the boldness which Saint James showed in bearing witness to the Risen Christ. In this way, may you remain faithful in the ways of holiness and spend yourselves for the glory of God and the good of our brothers and sisters in greatest need. Thank you.
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious Men and Women,
I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet all those who represent what has been for more than a century the Obra Benéfico-Social del Nen Déu. I thank the Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, Sister Rosario, Superior of this community, young Antonio and María del Mar who spoke, as well as the children who have sung so marvellously. All of you have given me a beautiful welcome.
I also thank those present, in particular the Patrons of the Obra, the Mother General and the Franciscan Religious of the Sacred Heart, the children, the youth and adults of this institution, their parents and relatives, as well as the professionals and volunteers who carry out praiseworthy work in this place.
I would also like to express my appreciation to the authorities, and I invite them to increase their efforts to provide adequate social services and assistance to the most needy. I also thank those who, with their generous support, build up and sustain private welfare institutions, such as this Special Education School of Nen Déu. At a time when many households are faced with serious economic difficulties, the followers of Christ must multiply concrete gestures of effective and constant solidarity, showing in this way that charity is the hallmark of our Christian life.
The dedication of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia this morning has highlighted that churches are the sign of the true sanctuary of God among men. Here, I would like to emphasize how, through the efforts of this and similar church institutions, including the new Residence which you have wished to name after the Pope, it is clear that, for the Christian, every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in need. In this way, the Church desires to put into practice the words of the Lord in the Gospel, “I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25,40). In this land, these words of Christ have motivated many sons and daughters of the Church to dedicate their lives to teaching, to works of assistance and the care of the sick and the disabled. Inspired by their example, I ask you to continue to provide loving care to the smallest and the most needy, giving them the very best of yourselves.
In recent decades, remarkable advances in medicine have greatly contributed to the care of those in greatest need, advances which have been accompanied by a growing conviction of the importance of dedicated and humane treatment for the positive outcome of the healing process. Therefore, it is indispensable that new technological developments in the field of medicine never be to the detriment of respect for human life and dignity, so that those who suffer physical illnesses or handicaps can always receive that love and attention required to make them feel valued as persons in their concrete needs.
I now turn to you, dear children and young people, giving thanks to God for your lives, so precious in his eyes, and I assure you that you have a special place in the Pope’s heart. I pray for you every day and I ask you to help me by means of your prayers so that I may faithfully fulfil the mission entrusted to me by Christ. I always remember in my prayers those who are dedicated to helping the suffering, and those who work tirelessly so that the handicapped can take their rightful place in society and not be marginalized because of their limitations. In this respect, I wish to recognize, in a special way, the faithful witness of priests and those who visit the sick at home, in hospitals or in other specialized institutions. They incarnate that important ministry of consolation in the face of human frailty, which the Church seeks to carry out in imitation of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lc 10,29-37).
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mercy and of Blessed Mother Carmen of the Child Jesus, may God bless all those who make up the great family of this splendid Obra, as well as your loved ones and those who collaborate in the work of this institution and those similar to it. As a pledge of this, I cordially impart to all my Apostolic Blessing.
Barcelona International Airport Sunday, 7 November 2010
Your Eminences the Archbishop of Barcelona and the Cardinal President of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference,
Your Eminences and Your Excellencies,
Dear Prime Minister,
Distinguished National Regional and Local authorities,
Dear Brother and Sisters,
Thank you very much. I wish to convey in these brief words my deep sentiments of gratitude at the conclusion of my visit to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona. I thank Your Majesties for coming here today. I am grateful to Your Majesty for your gracious words in which you expressed the affection of this noble people to the Successor of Peter. I also wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the authorities present, to the Archbishops of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, to the Spanish Bishops and to all those who, without counting the cost, have helped to bring this journey to a happy conclusion. I am grateful for the many constant and touching gestures of attention offered in these days to the Pope, clear signs of the openness and hospitality characteristic of the people of these lands so dear to my heart.
At Compostela, as a pilgrim, I joined the many people from Spain and Europe and elsewhere who come to the tomb of the apostle to fortify their faith and to receive forgiveness and peace. As Peter’s Successor I also came to strengthen my brothers and sisters in the faith that at the very dawn of Christianity came to these lands and took such deep root that it has constantly shaped the spirit, customs, art and character of its peoples. The preservation of this rich spiritual patrimony demonstrates the love of your country for its history and culture, yet it is also a privileged way of transmitting to younger generations those fundamental values so necessary for building up a common future of harmony and solidarity.
The paths that cross Europe on the way to Santiago differed greatly, each marked by its own language and its particular characteristics, but the faith was the same. There was a common language, the Gospel of Christ. In any place pilgrims could feel at home. Beyond national differences, they knew that they were members of one great family to which the other pilgrims and people along the way also belonged. May this faith find new vigour on this continent and become a source of inspiration. May it give rise to an attitude of solidarity towards all, especially towards those communities and nations in greater need.
[in Catalan:] Here in Barcelona, I have had the immense joy of consecrating the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, which Gaudí conceived as a monument of praise in stone to God. I also visited an important charitable institution of the Church. They stand in today’s Barcelona as two symbols of the fruitfulness of that faith which has marked this people deeply and which, through charity and the mystery of God’s beauty, contributes to the creation of a society more worthy of man. Truly, beauty, holiness and the love of God enable people to live with hope in this world.
I return to Rome after visiting only two places in this beautiful country. Nevertheless, in my thoughts and prayers, I have wished to embrace all Spaniards without exception and all those born elsewhere but now living here. I hold all of you in my heart and I pray for you, especially for those who suffer. I place you under the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, so greatly venerated and invoked in Galicia, Catalonia and throughout Spain. I ask her to obtain for you from Almighty God abundant heavenly gifts, that you may live as one family, guided by the light of faith. I bless you in the name of the Lord. With his help, we will meet again next year in Madrid, to celebrate World Youth Day. Adios!
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am pleased to greet you at the end of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. I cordially greet each one of you, in particular the President, Archbishop Piero Marini, whom I thank for his courteous words at the start of our meeting.
I greet the National Delegates of the Bishops’; Conferences and, in a special way, the Irish Delegation led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, a city in which the next International Eucharistic Congress will soon be taking place, in June 2012.
Your Assembly has paid great attention to this event, which also fits into the programme of renewal for the Church in Ireland. The theme “The Eucharist, communion with Christ and among ourselves”, calls to mind the centrality of the Eucharistic Mystery for the growth of the life of faith and for every authentic process of ecclesial renewal. While the Church is a pilgrim on earth, she is a sacrament of communion with God and of unity among men and women (cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium LG 1).
For this purpose, she has received the Word and the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, from which she “ever derives her life and on which she thrives” (ibid., 26).
The gift of Christ and of his Spirit, which we receive in the Eucharist, fulfills with superabundant fullness the yearnings for fraternal unity that dwell in the human heart and at the same time raises them far above the simple experience of human conviviality.
Through communion with the Body of Christ the Church becomes increasingly herself: a mystery of “vertical” and “horizontal” unity for the entire human race. The seeds of disintegration, which daily experience shows are so firmly rooted in humanity because of sin, are opposed by the generating power of unity of Christ's Body. The Eucharist, continually forming the Church, also creates communion among men and women.
Dear Friends, there are several felicitous circumstances that make your work more meaningful now and in the time to come. This Assembly, as Archbishop Marini said, is taking place on the 50th anniversary of the Eucharistic Congress in Munich that marked a turning point in the understanding of these ecclesial events by formulating the idea of statio orbis, which will be taken up later by the Roman Rite: De sacra Communione et de cultu Mysterii eucharistici extra Missam.
As Archbishop Marini said, I had the joy of taking part in that gathering personally as a young theology professor and of seeing this concept develop.
In addition, the Dublin Congress in 2010 will have the features of a Jubilee; it will in fact be the 50th, and will likewise be held 50 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council to which the theme explicitly refers, recalling Chapter 7 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium.
The International Eucharistic Congresses now have a long history in the Church. Through the characteristic form of the statio orbis they highlight the universal dimension of the celebration. Indeed, they are always a celebration of faith around Christ in the Eucharist, the Christ of the supreme sacrifice for humanity. Those who take part in them are not only the faithful of one particular Church or nation but also, as far as possible, come from various parts of the globe.
It is the Church which is gathered around her Lord and her God. In this regard the National Delegates have an important role. They are called to sensitise their respective Churches to the event of the Congress, especially in the period of its preparation, so that fruits of life and communion may flow from it.
A task of Eucharistic Congresses, especially in today’s context, is to make a special contribution to the new evangelization, promoting mystagogical evangelization (Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 64), which is carried out at the school of the Church in prayer, on the basis of the Liturgy and through the Liturgy. However, every Congress also has in itself an evangelizing inspiration in a more strictly missionary sense, so that the pair “Eucharist-mission” has become part of the guidelines proposed by the Holy See.
The Eucharistic Table, a table of sacrifice and of communion, thus comes to represent the centre of outreach of the Gospel leaven, a driving force for the construction of human society and a pledge of the Kingdom to come. The Church’s mission is in continuity with Christ’s: “as the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20,21).
And the Eucharist is the main goal of this missionary continuity between God the Father, the incarnate Son and the Church which journeys on through history, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, a pastoral and liturgical guideline. Since the Eucharistic celebration is the centre and culmination of all the various manifestations and forms of devotion, it is important that every Eucharistic Congress know how to involve and integrate in accordance with the spirit of conciliar reform all the expressions of Eucharistic devotion extra missam rooted in popular devotion, and with the associations of the faithful inspired by the Eucharist in various ways.
All the Eucharistic devotions, also recommended and encouraged by the Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, (nn. 10;47-52) and by the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, should be harmonized in accordance with a Eucharistic ecclesiology oriented to communion.
In this regard too the Eucharistic Congresses are a help for the ongoing renewal of the Church’s Eucharistic life.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Eucharistic Apostolate to which you devote your efforts is very precious. Persevere in it with commitment and enthusiasm, bringing life to and spreading the Eucharist devotion in all its expressions.
Clementine Hall Saturday, 13 November 2010
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am pleased to meet with you at the end of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in which you examined the theme: “Culture of Communication and New Languages”. I would like to thank Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi for his kind words and to greet all the participants. I am grateful for this contribution to the study of such a significant theme for the mission of the Church.
To speak about communication and language means not only to touch upon a crucial topic of our world and culture, but, for us believers, means drawing close to this mystery of God. Through his goodness and wisdom, he wanted to reveal himself and to make known to man the mystery of his will (cf.Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution, Dei Verbum DV 2).
In Christ God indeed revealed himself to us as Logos, which is communicated to us and challenges us, creating the relationship on which is founded our identity and dignity as human people, loved as children by the one Father (cf. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, nn. 6, 22, 23). Communication and language are also essential dimensions of the culture of humanity, which consists of information and notions, of beliefs and lifestyles, but also of laws, without which people could hardly progress towards humanity and social relations. I value the original decision to inaugurate the Plenary Meeting of the Assembly in the Promoteca Hall at the Campidoglio [Capitol], the civil and institutional heart of Rome. The inauguration included a roundtable discussion on the theme: “In the City, listening to the languages of the soul”.
The Dicastery desired in this way to express one of its essential tasks: to listen to the men and women of our time in order to promote new opportunities to proclaim the Gospel. Thus, listening to the voices of the globalized world, we notice the profound cultural transformation that is taking place with new languages and new forms of communication, which also foster new and problematic anthropological models.
In this context, the Pastors and the faithful notice several difficulties in the communication of the Gospel message and in the transmission of the faith in an ecclesial community. As I wrote in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini: “a great many Christians need to have the word of God once more persuasively proclaimed to them, so that they can concretely experienced the power of the Gospel” (n. 96). Problems sometimes seem to increase when the Church turns to the men and women who are far away or indifferent to an experience of faith. The Gospel message reaches them in a feeble and non-inclusive way. In a world that makes communication its winning strategy, the Church, repository of the mission to communicate to all peoples the Gospel of Salvation, does not remain indifferent and alien. On the contrary she seeks to avail herself of the new languages and new forms of communication with a renewed and creative spirit, but also with a critical eye and attentive discernment.
The incapacity of language to communicate the profound sense and beauty of the experience of faith can contribute to the indifference of many people, especially the young, it can become the reason for estrangement. The Constitution Gaudium et Spes already confirmed this, revealing that an inadequate presentation of the Gospel conceals rather than reveals the authentic face of God and religion (cf. n. 19). In the search for truth, the Church wishes to speak to everyone but for the dialogue and communication to be effective and fruitful, it is necessary to tune in to the same frequency, in the context of friendly and sincere gatherings, in that ideal “Courtyard of the Gentiles”, the project I proposed a year ago to the Roman Curia and which the Dicastery is now putting into practice in various emblematic places of European culture.
Today many young people, stunned by the infinite possibilities offered by computer networks or by other forms of technology, establish methods of communication that do not contribute to their growth in humanity. Rather they risk increasing their sense of loneliness and disorientation. In the face of these phenomena I have spoken on various occasions of an educational emergency, a challenge to which one can and should respond with creative intelligence, committing oneself to promote a humanizing communication which stimulates a critical eye and the capacity to evaluate and discern.
In today’s culture of technology too, the Gospel is the guide and the permanent paradigm of inculturation, purifying, healing and elevating the best features of the new languages and the new forms of communication. For this difficult and intriguing task, the Church can draw on the extraordinary patrimony of symbols, images, rites and acts of her tradition. The rich and concentrated symbolism of the Liturgy in particular must shine out with all its power as a communicative feature to deeply touch the human conscience, the heart and intellect. The Christian tradition, moreover, has always closely connected the language of art to the Liturgy, whose beauty has a special communicative power. Last Sunday, we experienced this artistic language in Barcelona at the Basilica of the Sagrada Família, a work of Antoni Gaudí who brilliantly combined the sense of the sacred and of the Liturgy with modern artistic forms and with the best architectural traditions.
Yet the beauty of Christian life is even more effective than art and imagery in the communication of the Gospel Message. In the end, love alone is worthy of faith and proves credible. The lives of the Saints and Martyrs demonstrate a singular beauty which fascinates and attracts, because a Christian life lived in fullness speaks without words. We need men and women whose lives are eloquent and who know how to proclaim the Gospel with clarity and courage, with transparency of action and with the joyful passion of charity.
After going on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela where I had the opportunity to admire in thousands of people, especially the young, the involving power of witness in the joy of walking together towards truth and beauty, I hope that many of our contemporaries can ask as disciples of Emmaus, listening to the voice of the Lord: “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Lc 24,32).
Dear friends, I would like to thank you all for your daily work, done with competency and dedication and, as I trust you to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, I also cordially impart an Apostolic Blessing to you all.
Consistory Hall Monday, 15 November 2010
Dear Brother Bishops,
I am pleased to welcome you on the occasion of your ad limina visit. You have come to the City where Peter ended his mission of evangelization and bore witness to Christ even to the point of pouring out his Blood; you have come here to see and greet the Successor of Peter. In this way you strengthen the apostolic foundations of the Church in your country and visibly express your communion with all the other members of the Episcopal College and with the Roman Pontiff himself (cf. Pastores Gregis ). The cordial words which Archbishop João Braz of Brasília addressed to me on your behalf were in this key. I thank him, as I assure you of my cordial affection and of my prayers for all the people entrusted to your pastoral care.
The series of the Brazilian Prelates’ meetings with the Pope that began more than a year ago ends with the visit of the Centre East Region. By a felicitous coincidence, the date of the Discourse I addressed to the first group of Bishops was your National Feast Day of Independence, while the last Discourse which I am delivering today is taking place on the very day on which the proclamation of the Republic in Brazil is commemorated. I make the most of the occasion to emphasize once again the importance of the Church’s evangelizing action in the construction of the Brazilian identity. As you know well, today’s society demands of Christians a renewed witness of life so that the proclamation of the Gospel may be accepted for what it is: the Good News of the saving action of God who goes to meet man.
In this regard, for almost 60 years the National Conference of the Bishops of Brazil has been a reference point for Brazilian society, proposing itself increasingly and primarily as a place in which to put charity into practice. In fact, the first witness that is expected of those who proclaim the word of God is that of reciprocal charity: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13,35). Your Bishops’ Conference, like the others, came into being as a practical application of the collegial affection of Bishops in hierarchical communion with the Successor of Peter to be an instrument of affective and effective communion among all the members and of efficient collaboration with the Pastor of every particular Church in the threefold function of teaching, sanctifying and governing the sheep of his own flock.
The Bishops’ Conference, therefore, is presented as one of the forms, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which permit the Bishops to exercise jointly and harmoniously certain pastoral functions for the good of the faithful and of all the citizens of a specific territory (cf . Code of Canon Law CIC 447).
In fact, an ever closer and more harmonious cooperation with their Brothers in the ministry help the Bishops to carry out his mandate better (cf . Christus Dominus CD 37), without abdicating from the principal responsibility of leading his particular Church as the proper, ordinary and immediate Pastor (cf. Motu Proprio Apostolos Suos, n. 10), making heard the voice of Jesus Christ who “is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (He 13,8).
The Bishops’ Conference therefore coordinates the Bishops’ efforts and intentions, becoming an instrument that enables each to share his burdens; but it must not become a parallel or substitute of the ministry of each one of the Bishops. In other words it must neither change its relationship with the respective particular Church or with the Episcopal College nor make itself an intermediary between the Bishop and the See of Peter.
At the same time, in the faithful exercise of the teaching office incumbent on you, dear Bishops, when you meet in assembly you must above all examine the most efficient means to ensure that you bring the universal Magisterium to the people entrusted to you in a satisfactory way. This teaching office will be carried out in the terms indicated by my venerable Predecessor, Pope John Paul ii, in his Motu Proprio Apostolos Suos, also in confronting the new issues emerging, so as to be able subsequently to direct people’s consciences in order to find the right solution to the new problems raised by the social and cultural changes.
Today certain topics in particular require a join action on the part of Bishops: the promotion and safeguard of faith and morals, the translation of the liturgical books, the promotion and formation of vocations to special consecration, the compilation of teaching aids for catechesis, ecumenical commitment, relations with the civil authorities, the protection of human life from conception until natural death, the holiness of the family and of marriage between a man and a woman, the right of parents to educate their own children, religious freedom and the other human rights, peace and social justice.
At the same time, it is necessary to recall that the consultors and structures of the Bishops’ Conference exist to serve the Bishops and not to replace them. In brief, it is a question of ensuring that the Bishops’ Conference, with its institutions, always function as a driving force of the pastoral solicitude of the Bishops whose chief concern must be the salvation of souls, which, moreover, is the fundamental mission of the Church.
Dear brothers, at the end of our meeting, I would like to invite you to look to the future with Christ’s eyes, placing your hope in him, for “hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rm 5,5).
In reaffirming my deep affection for the Brazilian people, I entrust Brazil to the motherly intercession of the Virgin Mary, Nossa Senhora Aparecida, a model for all disciples. May she lead you on the paths of her Son. Remembering all the Brazilian Prelates who have come here on their ad limina visit in the past 14 months, as well as those who were prevented from coming by health problems, I warmly impart the Apostolic Blessing to you, and also to the priests, men and women religious, catechists and all the members of your dioceses.
Speeches 2005-13 389