Speeches 2005-13 605



Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, Castel Gandolfo
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Dear Cardinals,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Bishop Hofmann,
Dear Bishop Scheele,
Distinguished Musicians,
Dear Guests from Würzburg and Franconia,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The performance of a work on St Augustine at Castel Gandolfo is without any doubt a unique event. I warmly thank all those who have made this event possible this evening. My thanks go in particular to you, dear Bishop Hofmann, to the Augustinus-Institut and to the Diocese of Würzburg for the gift you have made me of this concert in the context of the International Symposium on Augustine that is being held at the Augustinianum in Rome. I thank in particular the musicians — the choirmaster, Prof. Martin Berger; the soloists; the Würzburg Cathedral Chamber Choir; and all the musicians — for their masterful performance. To all of you, a heartfelt “Vergelt’s Gott” [may God reward you].

The title of this work on Augustine describes it as “a mosaic of sounds”. In seven musical images, composed in turn of various voices, songs and melodies, an impressive portrait of St Augustine is painted in sounds. It is a mosaic. Several pieces sparkle depending on where the light falls and where the spectator stands, but only in the whole is his image revealed. This mosaic symbolizes the greatness and complexity of Augustine the man and theologian that escapes any classification or arrangement which tends to give excessive prominence to individual aspects. This composition, therefore, tells us that if we really want to know Augustine we must never lose sight of his thought as a whole, of his opus and of his personality.

The great Latin Father of the Church has never ceased to be up to date. Once again, the work on Augustine [that we have just heard] has also shown us this. The seven images have acquainted us with the Bishop of Hippo in the language of contemporary music. It must be pointed out that they did so without making the protagonist appear. Yet it is through his “absence” that Augustine makes himself present and is “timeless”. The struggle of human beings, their search for what is closest to them, for the truth, for God, is valid in every era. It does not only concern a rhetorician and a grammar master in the turmoil and upheaval of late antiquity, but also of every person in every age. And thus we find at the end of the work the famous words introducing the Confessions that rang out, fading into several languages: “Magnus es, Domine, et laudibilis valde: magna virtus tua et sapientiae tuae non est numerous.... Quaerentes enim inveniunt eum et invenientes laudabunt eum” — Great are you, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is your power, and of your wisdom there is no end.... And those who seek the Lord shall praise him. For those who seek shall find him, and those who find him shall praise him” (I, 1, 1).

I extend my gratitude once again to the organizers of this evening dedicated to St Augustine and to the musicians and to everyone who contributed to this concert. Thank you for your generous offering and for the precious gift. I also greet all those who are taking part in the International Symposium on St Augustine which is being held in these days at the Augustinianum, the headquarters of the Patristic Institute in Rome. May your congress on the relationship between cultures in De Civitate Dei make a fruitful contribution to acquiring a deeper knowledge of the thought of the holy Bishop of Hippo and to recognizing his timeliness for the issues and challenges we face today. I warmly impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all.


Hall of the Swiss, Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo

Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

I am pleased to welcome to Castel Gandolfo the representatives of the thirty-second World Congress of Sports Medicine as, for the first time in your history, you hold your biennial Congress in Rome. I would also like to thank Doctor Maurizio Casasco for his kind words on your behalf.

On this occasion, it seemed appropriate to offer you a few thoughts on the care of athletes and of participants in sports. I understand that you who have come for the Congress hail from one hundred and seventeen countries and five continents, your diversity being an important sign of the ubiquity of athletics across cultures, regions and circumstances. It is also a significant indication of the capacity for sports and athletic endeavours to unite persons and peoples in the common pursuit of peaceful competitive excellence. The recent Olympics and Paralympics in London made this clear. The universal appeal and importance of athletics and the field of sports medicine are also justly reflected in the theme of your Congress this year, which speaks of the worldwide implications of your work, and its potential to inspire many different people all around the globe.

As Doctor Casasco rightly pointed out in his speech, you as medical experts recognize that the starting point of all your work is the individual athlete whom you serve. Just as sport is more than just competition, each sportsman and woman is more than a mere competitor: they are possessed of a moral and spiritual capacity which ought to be enriched and deepened by sports and sports medicine. Sometimes, however, success, fame, medals and the pursuit of money become the primary, or even sole, motive for those involved. It has even happened from time to time that winning at all costs has replaced the true spirit of sport and has led to the abuse and misuse of the means at the disposal of modern medicine.

You, as practitioners of sports medicine, are aware of this temptation and I know that you are discussing this important question during your Congress. This is surely because you too appreciate that those whom you care for are unique and gifted individuals, regardless of athletic capabilities, and that they are called to moral and spiritual perfection prior to the call to any physical achievement. Indeed, Saint Paul notes in his first letter to the Corinthians, that spiritual and athletic excellence are closely related, and he exhorts believers to train themselves in the spiritual life. “Every athlete”, he says, “exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (9:25). This is why, dear friends, I urge you to continue to keep before you the dignity of those whom you assist by your professional medical work. In this way, you will be agents not only of physical healing and athletic excellence, but also of moral, spiritual and cultural regeneration.

As the Lord himself took human flesh and became man, so each human person is called to reflect perfectly the image and likeness of God. I therefore pray for you and for those whom your work benefits, that your efforts will lead to an ever more profound appreciation of the beauty, the mystery and the potential of each human person, athletic or otherwise, able-bodied or physically challenged. May your professionalism, good counsel and friendship benefit all those whom you are called to serve. With these thoughts, I invoke upon you and those whom you serve God’s abundant blessings! Thank you.


Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo Friday, 28 September 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Everything in this world passes! Every thing that begins, even the most positive and beautiful thing, inevitably brings with it its own conclusion. So it is for the calm and peaceful period that I have spent here with you in the beautiful setting of Castel Gandolfo, where I was once again able to breath a family atmosphere of great warmth. Our meeting, that has now become a pleasant custom, gives me the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your generous service in this Papal Residence.

I address a special and affectionate greeting first of all to Dr Saverio Petrillo, General Director of the Pontifical Villas, with my gratitude for his courteous words to me also on behalf of you who are present here. A fond greeting to all the employees and to their families. May the Lord, full of goodness, bless you and keep you in his love!

The month of September, now almost behind us, is always a positive period of revitalization after the summer holidays: for your children and young people school has begun again; for all of you work has resumed, busier and more demanding than ever. In the Church, too, for many Christian communities scattered throughout the world, what God the Father is giving us is the season of a new pastoral year that is beginning. Moreover we also see certain very important events at hand: I am thinking of my upcoming visit to Loreto, with which I wish to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the pilgrimage Blessed John XXIII made to this Marian Shrine to entrust to Mary the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council; I am thinking of the Synod of Bishops which will reflect on the New Evangelization today in the Church and in the world; and lastly — on the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Council — of the opening of the Year of Faith, which I have proclaimed to help every human being open his or her heart and life to the Lord Jesus and to his word of salvation.

I thus entrust to your prayers, dear friends, these important moments in the Church we are called to live out. May the Lord help us, that they may be a means to our growth in faith, to our rediscovering Jesus as the true and precious pearl, the treasure of our life. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and our Mother, whom we shall confidently invoke during this coming month of October with the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary, always protect you and sustain you in carrying out all the good intentions you carry in your heart.

May my Blessing also be with you, which I impart with affection to each one of you, to your families and to all your loved ones, especially the sick and the suffering. [Blessing] Goodbye!




Hall of the Swiss, Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo Saturday, 29 September 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am pleased to welcome you at the end of my summer stay in Castel Gandolfo. It has enabled me to enjoy a period for study, prayer and rest, during which I have noted with admiration the solicitude and care of all the staff engaged in guaranteeing assistance and hospitality to me and to my co-workers, as well as to the guests and pilgrims who have come here to meet the Successor of Peter. I express my deep gratitude to each and every one for your dedication during these months. In the summer period Castel Gandolfo is like a “second See” of the Bishop of Rome, which vies with the “former” one in its capacity to welcome the visitors and pilgrims who come to pray the Sunday Angelus or to take part in the Wednesday General Audiences.

I first of all greet with affection and gratitude Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano. I greet the Parish Priest of Castel Gandolfo and his co-workers, together with the religious and lay communities resident in the area, both male and female. I ask you all to continue to make me feel your spiritual closeness even after my departure, as you have done during this period of my stay here. I thank to you for this, while I encourage you to persevere with trust and joy in your service to Christ and to his Gospel.

I address a cordial greeting, through the Mayor, to the civil authorities of Castel Gandolfo. As I thank you for the willingness and concern you have shown, I assure you of my remembrance in prayer for your community as a whole, and in particular for the families in difficulty and for the sick.

I would then like to extend my greeting to those in charge of the various Services of the Governorate: the Police Force, the Garden Services, the Technical and Health-Care Services, as well as the other corps which guaranteed the smooth course of all the events: the Pontifical Swiss Guard, the Staff and Officers of the Italian Security Forces and the Officers and Airmen of the 31st Squadron of the Air Force. May the Lord reward you all with abundant heavenly gifts and keep and bless you and your families.

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you for coming to this meeting today. The best way to remember each other is in prayer: I will not fail to pray for you and for your intentions, and I am confident that you will do likewise. I entrust each one of you and your relatives and friends to the Virgin Mary, whom we venerate in the month of October as Queen of the Holy Rosary. May she always, with her loving gaze, accompany and sustain our footsteps on the road of justice and truth. With these sentiments I impart a heartfelt Apostolic Blessing to each one of you present here and to all your loved ones.

Ottobre 2012






Dear Brothers,

My meditation refers to the word “Evangelium” “euangelisasthai” (cf. Lc 4,18). In this Synod we desire to know more about what the Lord tells us and what we can or must do. My meditation is divided into two parts: a first reflection on the meaning of these words and then I would like to try to interpret the hymn of the Terce “Nunc, Sancte, nobis Spiritus”, on page 5 of the Book of Prayers.

The word “Evangelium” “euangelisasthai” has a long history. It appears in Homer, as the announcement of a victory and therefore the announcement of good, joy and happiness. It appears, then, in the second part of Isaiah (cf. Is Is 40,9), like a voice announces joy from God, a voice that makes it clear that God has not forgotten his people, that God, who apparently had almost withdrawn from history, it is here, he is present. And God has power, God gives joy, he opens the doors of exile; after the long night of exile, his light appears and provides the possibility of returning to his people, he renews the story of good, the story of his love. In this context of evangelization, three words in particular appear: dikaiosyne, eirene, soteria — justice, peace and salvation. Jesus himself took up the words of Isaiah in Nazareth, speaking of this “Gospel” that he now brings to the excluded, those in prison, those suffering and the poor.

But as for the meaning of the word “Evangelium” in the New Testament, in addition to this — the Deutero Isaiah, which opens the door — the use of the word in the Roman Empire, beginning with the Emperor Augustus, is also important. Here the term “Evangelium” means a word, a message that comes from the Emperor. Then the message of the Emperor — as such — brings good: it is the renewal of the world, it is salvation. It is an imperial message and as such a message of strength and power, it is a message of salvation, renewal and health. The New Testament accepts this situation. St Luke explicitly compares the Emperor Augustus with the Child born in Bethlehem: “Evangelium” — he says — yes, it is the Emperor’s word, the true Emperor of the world. The true Emperor of the world has made himself heard, he speaks to us. And this fact, in itself, is redemption because the great suffering of man — then, as now — is this: behind the silence of the universe, behind the clouds of history, is or isn’t there a God? And, if this God is there, does he know us, does he have anything to do with us? Is this God good, then does the reality of good have any power in the world or not? This question is as relevant today as it was then. Many people wonder: is God just a hypothesis or not? Is he a reality or not? Why do we not hear him? “Gospel” means: God has broken his silence, God has spoken, God exists. This fact in itself is salvation: God knows us, God loves us, he has entered into history. Jesus is his Word, God with us, God showing us that he loves us, that he suffers with us until death and rises again. This is the Gospel. God has spoken, he is no longer the great unknown, but has shown himself and this is salvation.

The question for us is this: God has spoken, he has truly broken the great silence, he has shown himself, but how can we communicate this reality to the people of today, so that it becomes salvation? In itself, the fact that he has spoken is salvation, it is redemption. But how can man know this? This point, seems to me, to be a question but also a demand, a mandate for us: we can find the answer meditating on the Hymn of the Terce “Nunc, Sancte, nobis Spiritus”. The first verse says: “Dignàre promptus ingeri nostro refusus, péctori”, that is, we pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit, both in us and with us. In other words: we cannot make the Church, we can only announce what he has done. The Church does not begin with our “making”, but with the “making” and “speaking” of God. In the same way, the Apostles did not say, after a few meetings: now we want to make a Church, and that by means of a constituent assembly they were going to draft a constitution. No, they prayed and in prayer they waited, because they knew that only God himself can create his Church, that God is the first agent: if God does not act, our things are only ours and are insufficient; only God can testify that it is he who speaks and has spoken. Pentecost is the condition of the birth of the Church: only because God acted first, are the Apostles able to act with him and make what he does present. God has spoken and this “has spoken” is the perfection of faith but it is also always a present: the perfection of God is not only a past, because it is a true past that always carries in itself the present and the future. God has spoken means: “He speaks”. And as at that time it was only on God’s initiative that the Church could be born, that the Gospel could be known, the fact that God spoke and speaks, in the same way today only God can begin, we can only cooperate, but the beginning must come from God. So it is not a mere formality if we start our sessions each day with prayer: this corresponds to reality itself. Only God’s precedence makes our journey possible, our cooperation, which is always cooperation, and not entirely our own decision. Therefore, it is important always to know that the first word, the true initiative, the true activity comes from God and only by inserting ourselves into the divine initiative, only by begging for this divine initiative, shall we too be able to become — with him and in him — evangelizers. God is always the beginning, and it is always only he who can make Pentecost, who can create the Church, who can show the reality of his being with us. On the other hand, however, this God, who is always the beginning, also wants to involve our activity, so that the activities are theandric, so to speak, made by God, but with our involvement and implying our being, all our activity.

So when we are carrying out the new evangelization it is always cooperation with God, it is in togetherness with God, it is based on prayer and on his real Presence.

Now, this action of ours, following the initiative of God, can be found described in the second verse of this hymn: “Os, lingua, mens, sensus, vigor, confessionem personent, flammescat igne caritas, accendat ardor proximos”. Here we have, in two lines, two determinant nouns: “confessio” in the first lines, and “caritas” in the second two. “Confessio” and “caritas”, like the two ways in which God involves us, make us act with him, in him and for humanity, for his creation: “confessio” and “caritas”. And the verbs are added: in the first case “personent” and in the second “caritas” interpreted with the word fire, ardour, to ignite, to exflame.

We see the first “confessionem personent”. Faith has a content: God communicates himself, but this “I” of God really reveals itself in the figure of Jesus and is interpreted in the “confession” that speaks to us of his virginal conception at the Nativity, of the Passion, of the Cross, of the Resurrection. This revelation of God himself is a whole Person: Jesus as the Word, with a very real content that is expressed in the “confessio”. So, the first point is that we must enter into this “confession”, allow ourselves to be penetrated, so that “personent” — as the hymn says — in us and through us. Here it is also important to observe a small philological reality: “confessio” in pre-Christian Latin would not have been “confessio” but “professio” (profiteri): this is the positive presentation of a reality. Instead, the word “confessio” refers to the situation in a court, in a trial where someone opens his mind and confesses. In other words, this word “confession”, which in Christian Latin replaced the word “professio” brings with it the martyrological element, the element of witnessing to faith in front of the enemy, even in situations of passion and of the danger of death. Christian confession essentially involves a willingness to suffer: this seems to me to be very important. Again, in the essence of the “confessio” of our Creed, an openness to passion, suffering, indeed, giving up life is implied. And this guarantees credibility: the “confessio” is not just something that can be abandoned; the “confessio” implies the willingness to give up my life, to accept the passion. This is also truly the verification of the “confessio”. It can be seen that for us “confessio” is not a word, it is more than pain, it is more than death. For the “confessio” it is really worth suffering, it is worth suffering up to death. Whoever makes this “confessio” shows in this way that what he confesses is more than life: it is life itself, the treasure, the precious and infinite pearl. And it is in the martyrological aspect of the word “confessio” that the truth appears: it comes into being only for a reality for which it is worth suffering, which is stronger than even death, and it demonstrates that I hold the truth in my hand, that I am more than certain that I am “bearing” my life because I find life in this confession.

Let us now look at where this “confession” should penetrate, “Os, lingua, mens, sensus, vigor”. From St Paul, Letter to the Romans 10, we know that the location of the “confession” is in the heart and mouth: it must be in the depth of the heart, but must also be public; faith carried in the heart has to be announced; it is never only a reality of the heart, but tends to be communicated, to be really confessed before the eyes of the world. So we have to learn, on the one hand, to be truly let us say, penetrated in the heart by the “confession”, so our heart is formed, and from the heart we also find, along with the great history of the Church, the word and the courage of the word, and the word which indicates our present, this “confession” which is always, however, one. “Mens”: the “confession” is not only something of the heart and of the mouth, but also of the mind; it has to be thought about and thus, thought of and intelligently conceived, it touches the other person and always assumes that my thought is truly located in the “confession”. “Sensus”: it is not something purely abstract and intellectual, the “confessio” must also penetrate the meanings of our lives. St Bernard of Clairvaux told us that God, in his revelation, in the history of salvation, gave our senses the possibility to see, to touch, to taste revelation. God is no longer only a spiritual thing: he has entered the world of the senses and our senses must be filled with this taste, with this beauty of God’s Word, which is true. “Vigor”: is the vital force of our being and also the juridical vigor of a reality. With all our vitality and strength, we must be penetrated by the “confessio”, which has to really “personare”; the melody of God must chant our being in its entirety.

Confessio” is the first column, so to speak, of evangelization and the second is “caritas”. “Confessio” is not an abstract thing, it is “caritas”, it is love. Only in this way is it really the reflection of divine truth, which as truth is also, inseparably, love. In very powerful words the text describes this love: it is ardour, it is flame, it ignites others. There is a passion of ours that must grow from faith, that must be transformed into the fire of charity. Jesus told us: I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already. Origen handed down to us a word of the Lord: “Whoever is close to me is close to fire”. The Christian must not be lukewarm. Revelations tells us that this is the greatest danger for a Christian: not that he says no, but a very tepid yes. This tepidness really discredits Christianity. Faith must become in us the flame of love, a flame that truly ignites my being, becomes the great passion of my being and so ignites my neighbour. This is the way of evangelization: “Accéndat ardor proximos”, so that truth becomes charity in me and charity like fire ignites my neighbour. Only in this igniting of the other through the flame of our charity does evangelization, the presence of the Gospel which is no longer just words, but a lived reality, really grow.

St Luke tells us that at Pentecost, at the foundation of the Church of God, the Holy Spirit was fire that transformed the world, but fire in the form of tongues, that is, a fire which is however also reasonable, which is spirit, which is also understanding; fire which is united to thought, to “mens”. And it is truly this intelligent fire, this “sobria ebrietas”, that is characteristic of Christianity. We know that fire lies at the beginning of human culture; fire is light, heat, the power to transform. Human culture begins when man gains the power to create fire: with fire he can destroy, but with the fire he can transform and renew. The fire of God is transforming fire, a fire of passion — of course — that also destroys much in us, that leads to God, but fire, above all, that transforms, renews and creates a new man, who becomes light in God.

Thus, in the end, we can only pray to the Lord that the “confessio” be founded in us deeply and become the fire that ignites others; thus the fire of his presence, the novelty of his being with us, might become really visible and the strength of the present and future.



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good evening to you all and thank you for coming. Thanks also to Italian Catholic Action which organized this torchlight procession.

Fifty years ago on this day I too was in this square, gazing towards this window where the good Pope, Blessed Pope John looked out and spoke unforgettable words to us, words that were full of poetry and goodness, words that came from his heart.

We were happy — I would say — and full of enthusiasm. The great Ecumenical Council had begun; we were sure that a new spring of the Church was in sight, a new Pentecost with a new, strong presence of the freeing grace of the Gospel.

We are also happy today, we hold joy in our hearts but I would say it is perhaps a more measured joy, a humble joy. In these 50 years we have learned and experienced that original sin exists and that it can be evermore expressed as personal sins which can become structures of sin. We have seen that in the field of the Lord there are always tares. We have seen that even in Peter’s net there were bad fish. We have seen that human frailty is present in the Church, that the barque of the Church is even sailing against the wind in storms that threaten the ship, and at times we have thought: “the Lord is asleep and has forgotten us”.

These are some of the experiences of the past 50 years but we have also had a new experience of the Lord’s presence, of his goodness and of his strength. The fire of the Holy Spirit, the fire of Christ, is not a voracious, destructive fire; it is a silent fire, a small flame of goodness and of truth that transforms, that gives light and warmth. We have seen that the Lord does not forget us. Even today in his humble way the Lord is present and warms our hearts, he shows life, creates charisms of goodness and charity that illuminate the world and are a guarantee for us of God’ goodness. Yes, Christ is alive, he is with us even today, and we can be happy today too because his goodness will not be extinguished; it is still strong today!

Finally I dare to make Pope John’s unforgettable words my own: “When you go home, give your children a kiss and tell them that it is from the Pope”.

In this way I warmly impart my blessing: “May the name of the Lord be blessed...”.





Clementine Hall Friday, 12 October 2012
Dear and Venerable Brothers,

We find ourselves together today, after the solemn Celebration that gathered us yesterday in St Peter’s Square. The warm and brotherly greeting that I would like to give you now is born from the profound communion that only the Eucharistic celebration can create. In it the bonds that unite us as members of the College of Bishops united to the Successor of Peter is made visible, almost tangible.

In your faces, dear Patriarchs and Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, dear Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences of the world, I see too the hundreds of Bishops who in every region of the earth are committed to proclaiming the Gospel and to serving the Church and humankind, in obedience to the mandate received from Christ. Today, however, in a special way I would like to address my greeting to you, dear Brothers who have been graced to participate as Fathers at the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. I thank Cardinal Arinze, who has conveyed your sentiments to me, and at this moment I have present in my prayers and in my affection the entire group — almost 70 — of Bishops still living who took part in the work of the Council. In answering the invitation to this commemoration, to which they were prevented from coming by advanced age or because of their health, many of them recalled those days with moving words assuring their spiritual union and offering up their suffering for this intention.

Many memories spring to mind, that each one of us has deeply engraved in his heart, of that very lively, rich and fruitful period which was the Council. I do not want, therefore, to dwell too long, but — taking up a few elements of my homily yesterday — I would like to recall only how one word, pronounced by Blessed John XXIII in a systematic way, recurred again and again during the Council: the word aggiornamento [updating].

Fifty years from the opening of that solemn gathering of the Church some people may ask themselves whether that term was perhaps, from the very beginning, not entirely felicitous. The choice of words is something that can be debated for hours and opinions will always conflict, but I am convinced that the intuition that Blessed John XXIII summarized in that word was and remains exact. Christianity must not be considered as “something of the past”, nor must it be lived with our gaze ever turned back, because Jesus Christ is yesterday, today and forever (cf. He 13,8). Christianity is marked by the presence of the eternal God, who entered into time and is present in all times, because every time is brought forth from his creative power, from his eternal “today”.

This is why Christianity is always new. We must never look at it as though it were a tree, fully developed from the mustard seed of the Gospel, that grew, gave its fruit, and one fine day grows old as the sun sets on its life force. Christianity is a tree that is, so to speak, ever “timely”, ever young. And this trend, this aggiornamento does not mean a break with tradition, but expresses its ongoing vitality; it does not mean reducing the faith, debasing it to the fashion of the times, measured by what pleases us, by what pleases public opinion, but it is the contrary: exactly as the Council Fathers did, we must bring the “today” that we live to the standard of the Christian event, we must bring the “today” of our time to the “today” of God.

The Council was a time of grace in which the Holy Spirit taught us that the Church, in her journey through history, must always speak to the people of today. But this can only happen through the strength of those who are deeply rooted in God, who allow themselves to be guided by him and live out their faith with purity. It does not come from those who adapt themselves to the passing moment, from those who choose the easiest path. The Council was clear when in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, n. 49, it stated that everyone in the Church is called to holiness according to the words of the Apostle Paul “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1Th 4,3): holiness reveals the true face of the Church, it ushers the eternal “today” of God into the “today” of our life, into the “today” of the people of our time.

Dear Brothers in the episcopate, memory of the past is precious, but it is never an end in itself. The Year of Faith that we inaugurated yesterday suggests the best way to remember and commemorate the Council: to focus on the heart of its message, which moreover is nothing other than the message of faith in Jesus Christ, the one Saviour of the world, proclaimed to the men and women of our time. Today too what is important and essential is to bring the ray of God’s love to the hearts and lives of every man and every woman, and to bring every man and woman of every time and place to God. I warmly hope that each particular Church may find in the celebration of this Year the opportunity for the ever necessary return to the living source of the Gospel, to the transforming encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. Thank you.
Speeches 2005-13 605