BUILDING A MORE UNITED, JUST AND FRATERNAL SOCIETY
VATICAN CITY, 23 JUN 2011 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today, Solemnity of the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Rome's basilica of St. John Lateran, then presided at the Eucharistic procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major.
(IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
In his homily the Pope recalled how today "the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession along the streets of towns and villages to show that the risen Christ walks among us and guides us to the kingdom of heaven. What Jesus gave us in the Upper Room we openly display today, because the love of Christ is not reserved for the few but is intended for everyone".
Referring to Eucharistic communion, the Holy Father said that "while bodily food is assimilated by and helps sustain our organism, the Eucharist is a different kind of bread. We do not assimilate it; rather, it assimilates us to itself so that we are conformed to Jesus Christ, become limbs of His Body, a single thing with Him. This is a decisive step: indeed, precisely because it is Christ Who transforms us to Himself in Eucharistic communion, so in this meeting our individuality is opened, freed from egocentrism and inserted into the Person of Jesus, Who in turn is immersed in the communion of the Trinity.
"Thus the Eucharist, while uniting us to Christ, also opens us to others, makes us limbs of one another: no longer are we divided but a single being in Him", the Pope added. "Eucharistic communion unites me to my neighbour with whom perhaps I am not even on good terms, but it also unites me to my distant brothers and sisters all over the world".
"Those who recognise Jesus in the consecrated Host recognise Him in their suffering brothers and sisters, in the hungry and thirsty, in the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned; they are attentive to everyone and take concrete steps to help those in need. From the gift of Christ's love arises our special responsibility as Christians to build a united, just and fraternal society. Particularly in our own time in which globalisation makes us increasingly dependent upon one another, Christianity can and must ensure that unity is not built without God - in other words, without real Love - which would only open the way to confusion and selfishness".
Benedict XVI continued: "The Gospel has always sought the unity of the human family, a unity not imposed from above or by ideological or economic interests, but based on a sense of responsibility towards each other, because we recognise one another as members of the same body, the Body of Christ, because we have learned and continue to learn from the Sacrament of the Altar that sharing and love is the way to true justice".
"Without any illusions or belief in ideological utopias, we advance along the paths of the world, carrying the Body of the Lord with us like the Virgin Mary in the mystery of the Visitation", said Pope Benedict concluding his homily. "With the humility of knowing that we are simple grains of wheat, we remain firm in the conviction that the love of God incarnated in Christ is stronger than evil, violence and death. We know that God is preparing new heaven and new earth for all men, where peace and justice reign; and in the faith we see the new world which is our true homeland".
After Mass, the Pope presided at the Eucharistic procession along Rome's Via Merulana to the basilica of St. Mary Major. Along the route, thousands of faithful prayed and sang accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. A covered vehicle transported the Sacrament in a monstrance, before which the Holy Father knelt in prayer.
VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father received participants in the annual general meeting of the Reunion of Organisations for Aid to the Oriental Churches (ROACO).
In his remarks to the group, Benedict XVI recalled how yesterday's celebration of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi "was a call to the beloved city of Rome and to the entire Catholic community to continue their journey along the difficult paths history, among the great spiritual and material poverty of the world, in order to bring the charity of Christ and the Church, which arises from the Paschal Mystery, the mystery of love, the gift which generates life".
"Never forget the Eucharistic dimension of your objective", the Pope went on, "so as to remain within the ambit of ecclesial charity, which particularly seeks to reach the Holy Land, but also the Middle East as a whole, in order to support the Christian presence there. I ask you to do everything possible - also be intervening with the public authorities with whom you have contacts at the international level - to ensure that the pastors and faithful of Christ can remain in the East where they were born, not as strangers but as citizens who bear witness to Jesus Christ as the saints of the Eastern Churches did before them. The East is their earthly homeland. It is there that they are called today to promote, without distinction, the good of all mankind. Everyone professing this faith must be recognised as having equal dignity and true freedom, thus favouring more fruitful ecumenical and inter-religious collaboration".
The Holy Father then continued his remarks in English: "I thank you for your reflections on the changes that are taking place in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, which are a source of anxiety throughout the world. Through the communications received at this time from the Coptic-Catholic Cardinal-Patriarch and from the Maronite Patriarch, as well as the pontifical representative in Jerusalem and the Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land, the Congregation and the agencies will be able to assess the situation on the ground for the Church and the peoples of that region, which is so important for world peace and stability. The Pope wishes to express his closeness, also through you, to those who are suffering and to those who are trying desperately to escape, thereby increasing the flow of migration that often remains without hope. I pray that the necessary emergency assistance will be forthcoming, but above all I pray that every possible form of mediation will be explored, so that violence may cease and social harmony and peaceful coexistence may everywhere be restored, with respect for the rights of individuals as well as communities".
Switching to German, the Pope referred to the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which was held last October in the Vatican and which, he said, gave rise "to new signs for our age". Nonetheless, "shortly afterwards a number of defenceless people in the Syro-Catholic cathedral ofBaghdad, Iraq, were victims of an act of senseless violence. ... This was followed by similar incidents some months later". The Pope expressed the hope that the suffering of so many people would be a seed to enrich the faith in those lands.
Finally he thanked all those present for their prayers for the sixtieth anniversary of his ordination as a priest which falls this year on 29 June, Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.
VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:
"This morning the Holy Father received in audience Igor Luksic, prime minister ofMontenegro. The prime minister subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
"The cordial discussions focused on the Basic Agreement between the Holy See and Montenegro, which the secretary of State and the prime minister signed at the end of their meeting. The agreement concerns, in particular, the juridical status of the Catholic Church and of her main institutions within civil society, and confirms the excellent relations between the Holy See and Montenegro which have existed since the country first gained its independence.
"The conversations between Cardinal Bertone and Mr. Luksic also provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on the current international situation, in the perspective of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Attention dwelt on the commitment of the Montenegrin government to promoting peace and harmony among the different peoples and religious confessions present in the country. The parties also expressed their desire to continue constructive dialogue on themes of mutual for Church and State".
VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, the Holy See and Montenegro signed a Basic Agreement confirming and regulating certain principles in areas of shared interest.
Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. signed for the Holy See and Igor Luksic, prime minister, signed for Montenegro.
The agreement, taking account of the independence and autonomy of Church and State and of their openness to mutual collaboration, establishes a juridical framework for their relations. Specifically, it regulates the juridical status of the Catholic Church in civil society, her liberty and independence in apostolic activity and in matters that specifically concern freedom of worship, and her activities in the fields of culture, education, pastoral care and charity. The text also concerns the administration of seminaries, as well as the provision of spiritual assistance to the armed forces and in prisons and hospitals. The agreement will come into force with the exchange of the instruments of ratification,.
VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
- Archbishop Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
VATICAN CITY, 24 JUN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin of Ajaccio, France, as bishop of Le Havre(area 1,902, population 411,132, Catholics 308,502, priests 70, permanent deacons 18, religious 97), France. He succeeds Bishop Michel Guyard, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Msgr. Giovanni Tani, rector of the Major Pontifical Seminary of Rome, as archbishop of Urbino-Urbania-Sant'Angelo in Vado (area 781, population 54,900, Catholics 50,500, priests 68, permanent deacons 1, religious 118), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Sogliano al Rubicone in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1973. He succeeds Archbishop Francesco Marinelli, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Raphael Minassian, patriarchal exarch for the Armenians inJerusalem and Amman, as ordinary for Armenian Catholics in Eastern Europe, giving him the "ad personam" title of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born inBeirut, Lebanon in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1973.