BENEDICT XVI RECALLS LEO XIII ON BICENTENARY OF HIS BIRTH
The Holy Father celebrated Mass in the town's main square in the presence of several thousand faithful. In his homily he commented on today's Gospel readings, which concern the primacy of God and of Christ. In this context he noted that Leo XIII "was a man of great faith and profound devotion. This remains the basis of everything, for all Christians including the Pope", he said, "without prayer; that is, without the inner union with God, we can do nothing, as Jesus made clear to His disciples during the Last Supper".
"Absolutely nothing comes before the love of God and of Christ. And Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci absorbed this primary and principal quality here, in his hometown, from his parents and from his parish", said the Pope.
He then highlighted "another aspect deriving from the primacy of God and Christ, which is to be found in the public activity of all pastors of the Church particularly the Supreme Pontiff, each with the characteristics specific to his own personality. ... All pastors are called to transmit to the People of God not abstract truths but a 'wisdom'; in other words, a message that unites faith and life, truth and tangible reality. Pope Leo XIII, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, was able to do this in one of the most difficult historical periods for the Church, remaining faithful to tradition while, at the same time, measuring himself against the great questions of his day".
Leo XIII's social Magisterium was made famous "by his 1891 Encyclical 'Rerum novarum', but it was also rich in many other contributions which together make an organic corpus, the first nucleus of Church social doctrine", said Pope Benedict.
In this context he also mentioned the 1890 Encyclical "Catholicae Ecclesiae" on the subject of slavery. "The new Christian fraternity overcame the separation between slaves and freemen, introducing into history the principle of human promotion which would lead to the abolition of slavery, but also to overcoming barriers that still exist today".
On the subject of the "human promotion which Christianity brought to the progress of civilisation", the Pope highlighted how "Christians, acting as individual citizens or in associations, represent a beneficial and peaceful force for profound change, favouring the development of potentials inherent to reality itself. This is the form of presence and activity in the world suggested by Church social doctrine which always aims at maturity of conscience as a condition for valid and lasting transformation".
"During a period of harsh anticlericalism and virulent demonstrations against the Pope, Leo XIII was able to guide and support Catholics along the path of constructive participation, rich in content, firm in its principles yet capable of openness. The immediate wake of the publication of 'Rerum novarum' was followed, in Italy and other countries, by a veritable explosion of initiatives: associations, savings societies for rural workers and artisans, newspapers, etc. ... Thus, a very old but wise and farsighted Pope was able to steer a rejuvenated Church into the twentieth century, with an attitude appropriate to facing new challenges. He was a Pope still politically and physically 'prisoner' of the Vatican but in reality, with his Magisterium, he represented a Church capable of facing, without too many complexes, the great questions of the modern age".
The Holy Father concluded by expressing "the old but ever new commandment to love one another as Christ lived us, and with this love to be salt and light of the world. Thus will you be faithful to the heritage of your great and venerated fellow citizen, Pope Leo XIII. And thus may it be for the whole the Church!"
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the Pope returned by helicopter to the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo for the Angelus prayer.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
VATICAN CITY, 4 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Giorgio Lingua, nunciature counsellor, as apostolic nuncio to Jordan and to Iraq, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Fossano, Italy in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1984.
ANGELUS: POPE EXPLAINS HIS MESSAGE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY
VATICAN CITY, 5 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Having returned from his pastoral visit to the Italian town of Carpineto Romano, at midday today the Holy Father appeared at the balcony overlooking the inner courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered there.
Before the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI made brief mention of his recently-published Message for the twenty-sixth World Youth Day, due to be celebrated in Madrid, Spain, in August 2011.
The Pope highlighted how the title of the Message comes from a phrase in St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians: "Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith". This, he observed, "is something which runs decisively against the tide. Who nowadays suggests that young people should be 'planted' and 'firm'? On the contrary, uncertainty, mobility and volubility are exalted; all aspects which reflect a culture hesitant over its fundamental values, the basic principles by which to orient and regulate life".
The Pope went on: "I myself, through my own experience and through my contacts with young people, am well aware that each generation - indeed, each individual - is called to discover the meaning of life anew. It is for this reason that I wished to offer a message which, following the style of the Bible, evokes the image of the tree and the house. Young people, indeed, are like growing trees: in order to develop correctly they need deep roots which, when storms blow, keep them firmly rooted to the ground. In the same way, the image of a building in construction recalls the need for proper foundations, in order for the house to be solid and secure".
The Pope highlighted how the words "in Jesus Christ" and "in the faith" represent the heart of his Message. "The full maturity and inner stability of the person", he said, "have their foundation in the relationship with God, a relationship which passes through the encounter with Jesus Christ. A relationship of profound trust and authentic friendship with Jesus is capable of giving young people what they need to face life well: serenity and inner light, the attitude of positive thinking, generosity of spirit towards others, and a readiness to be personally responsible for goodness, justice and truth".
Finally the Holy Father noted how, in becoming believers, young people are "supported by the faith of the Church. If no man is an island", he said, "then this is especially true of Christians who discover in the Church the beauty of a faith shared and witnessed with others in fraternity and the service of charity".
VATICAN CITY, 6 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Marco Eugenio Galrao Leita de Almeida of Estancia.
- Bishop Guerrino Riccardo Brusati of Caetite, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Antonio Alberto Guimaraes Rezende C.S.S.
- Bishop Cristiano Jakob Krapf of Jequie.
- Archbishop Itamar Vian O.F.M. Cap. of Feira de Santana.
- Bishop Luiz Flavio Cappio O.F.M. of Barra.
On Saturday 4 September he received in separate audiences:
- Four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Mario Rino Sivieri of Propria.
- Archbishop Luis Gonzaga Silva Pepeu O.F.M. Cap. of Victoria da Conquista.
- Bishop Jose Valmor Cesar Teixeira S.D.B. of Bom Jesus da Lapa.
- Bishop Armando Bucciol of Livramento de Nossa Senhora.
- Kagefumi Ueno, ambassador of Japan on his farewell visit.
- Francesco Kim Ji-Young, ambassador of Korea on his farewell visit.
- Janos Balassa, ambassador of Hungary on his farewell visit.
-Archbishop Celestino Migliore, apostolic nuncio to Poland.