IT IS NECESSARY TO RESTORE THE PRIMACY OF GOD IN THE WORLD
VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father travelled from Castelgandolfo to the Italian city of Ancona where he presided at a concelebration of the Eucharist to mark the closure of the twenty-fifth Italian National Eucharistic Congress, which has focused on the theme "the Eucharist for daily life". The celebration was held in the city's shipyard. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
In his homily, the Holy Father referred to the Gospel narrative of the bread from heaven. The reaction of Jesus' disciples, many of whom abandoned Him at that time is, he said, similar to our own resistance before "the total gift Christ makes of Himself. Because welcoming this gift means losing ourselves, allowing ourselves to be absorbed and transformed to the point of living in Him".
Our difficulty lies in the fact that "we often confuse freedom with a lack of constraints, with the conviction that we can do everything alone, without God Who is seen as a restriction to our freedom, But this illusion soon turns to disappointment, creating disquiet and fear".
Some ideologies leave God to one side, or simply tolerate Him as a private choice which should not interfere with public life. They seek to organise society on the foundation of the economy and the force of power. However, said the Pope, "history has dramatically shown us" the failure of attempts to ensure material well being and peace while ignoring God and His revelation.
For this reason, "it is the primacy of God which we must, first and foremost, restore in our world and our lives, because it is this primacy which allows us to rediscover the truth of who we are; and it is in knowing and following the will of God that we discover our own good".
The Eucharist, a source for positive social development
The starting point for the restoration of the primacy of God must be the Eucharist, in which "God gives Himself to us, so as to open our lives to Him". Eucharistic communion "supports and transforms daily life". Moreover, the history of the Church is replete with saints "whose lives are an eloquent sign of how, from communion with the Lord, from the Eucharist, there arises a new and intense sense of responsibility at all levels of community life, a positive form of social development which focuses on human beings, especially the poor, the sick and the needy".
"Eucharistic spirituality is, then, the true antidote to the selfishness and egoism that often characterise daily life". Likewise, it is "the heart of an ecclesial community that knows how to overcome divisions and conflicts, and to make use of its various charisms and ministries, placing them all at the service of the unity of the Church".
Eucharistic spirituality is also the path by which to restore dignity to man and, therefore, "to the work he does, at the same time seeking to conciliate work with a time for rest and for the family, and to overcome the insecurity of precarious work and the problems of unemployment". Furthermore, it will help us to approach the various forms of human frailty, "aware that they do not cloud the value of the person but require our presence, our acceptance and our assistance".
"There is nothing that is truly human that cannot be fully experienced in the Eucharist", the Holy Father concluded. "May daily life, then, become a place for spiritual development, so as to experience the primacy of God in all circumstances".
VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass for the closure of the twenty-fifth Italian National Eucharistic Congress, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus in the shipyard of the city of Ancona. Before the Marian prayer the Pope reminded faithful present that "the Angelus invites us to imitate Mary Most Holy, to contemplate the well of love from which the Sacrament of the Eucharist comes". The Eucharistic mystery "makes the risen Christ present, our source of hope and comfort in daily life, especially in moments of difficulty".
On today's tenth anniversary of the attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001, the Pope entrusted the victims and their families to the Lord. And he added: "I invite the leaders of nations, and all men and women of good will, always to reject violence as a solution to problems, to resist the temptation to hate, and to work in society inspired by the principles of solidarity, justice and peace".
VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. today in the cathedral of San Ciriaco, the Holy Father met with a group of priests and families from the archdiocese of Ancona, inviting them to reflect on the importance of leading the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage back to their single source in the Eucharist. "Both those states of life", he said, "have their roots in the love of Christ, ... and they have a shared mission: bearing witness to His love and making it present in service to the community".
"Such an approach makes it possible, first and foremost, to overcome a blinkered view of the family as a mere recipient of pastoral care" when, in fact, "it is the primary place for human and Christian education and, therefore, the greatest ally of priestly ministry. ... In turn, the priest's closeness to the family helps him to a fuller awareness of the profound truth about himself and his own mission".
"No vocation is a purely private matter (particularly the vocation to marriage) because it is open to the horizon of the entire Church. What is important, then, is to integrate and harmonise priestly ministry with the true Gospel of marriage and the family, in order to achieve effective fraternal communion. And the Eucharist remains the centre and source of this unity, which is what drives the Church's activities".
The Holy Father went on: "Dear priests, through the gift you received at Ordination you are called to serve as pastors of the ecclesial community, which is the family of families. ... Cultivate great familiarity with the Word of God. ... God is your home and your inheritance. It is to this that you must bear witness before families ... even at moments of difficulty. ... Be welcoming and merciful, also towards people who struggle to maintain the commitments of the marriage bond, and towards those who, alas, have failed to do so".
"Dear wedded couples", he went on, "your Marriage is rooted in the faith that 'God is love' and that following Christ means 'abiding in love'. ... Construct your families in unity, a gift that comes from on high and that nourishes your commitment to the Church and to the promotion of a just and fraternal world".
"May your daily activities have their origin and centre in Sacramental communion", the Pope told his audience. "Educating new generations in the faith also means that you must show coherence. ... Bear witness to them of the demanding beauty of Christian life. ... To those entrusted to your responsibility, be a sign of Jesus' goodness and tenderness. In Him it is evident that the God Who loves life is no stranger to human existence; rather, he is the friend Who never abandons us".
VATICAN CITY, 11 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Following his meeting with priests and families in the cathedral of Ancona, Benedict XVI travelled by car to the city's Piazza del Plebiscito where he addressed a group of young engaged couples gathered there to greet him.
"In some ways ours is not an easy time, especially for you young people", the Pope told them. "The table is full of delicacies but, like the Gospel narrative of the wedding feast of Cana, the wine seems to have run out. In particular, the difficulty in finding stable work extends a veil of uncertainty over the future. This means that definitive decisions are delayed, and has a negative effect on the development of society which is unable to take full advantage of the energies, competence and creativity of your generation".
"The wine is also lacking at the feast for a culture which tends to ignore clear moral criteria. In their disorientation, people tend to move individually and autonomously, often only on the perimeter of reality. ... Thus, even fundamental decisions become uncertain and remain perennially revocable".
"Never lose hope", the Pope told the young people. "Keep your courage, even in moments of difficulty, remain firm in the faith. ... Nothing can separate us from the love of God. You may be certain that the Church ... does not cease to look to you with great trust. She knows that you thirst for values, for true values upon which it is worth building your home: the values of faith, of the individual, of the family, of human relations, of justice. Do not lose heart before the shortcomings that seem to rob the feast of life of its joy".
"You are experiencing a unique moment which opens you to the wonder of meeting another person, which helps you discover the beauty of existing as a precious part of another person's life. ... Follow this journey gradually, intensely and truthfully. ... Most of all, I would like to tell you to avoid falsely reassuring relationships of intimacy. Ensure, rather, that your relationship acts as a leaven for active and responsible presence in the community".
"All human love is a sign of the eternal Love which created us, the grace of which sanctifies the choice of a man and a woman to dedicate themselves to married life. Experience this time of engagement in trusting expectation of that gift, which must be accepted by following a path of understanding, respect and attention for one another which you must never lose. ... Prepare yourselves to make that 'eternal' choice which characterises love. Indissolubility, rather than being an imposition, is a gift we should want, seek and experience, over and above the changing conditions of human life. ... Ongoing faithfulness and love for one another will also make you capable of being open to life, of being parents. ... Fidelity, indissolubility and the transmission of life are the pillars for each family, an authentic common good and a precious heritage for the whole of society".
The Holy Father concluded by highlighting how "part of the experience of love is striving towards God. True love promises the infinite! Make this period of preparation for marriage an itinerary of faith: rediscover the centrality of Jesus Christ and of ... the Church in your life as a couple".
At the end of the meeting the Holy Father travelled to the port of Ancona where, at 6.45 p.m. he boarded a helicopter for his return flight to Castelgandolfo.
VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a message to Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, marking the tenth anniversary of the attacks against the World Trade Centre in New York, and against Washington and Pennsylvania, which occurred on 11 September 2001 and killed thousands of people.
After commending the victims to divine mercy, Benedict XVI goes on to recall that the perpetrators were convinced they were acting in the name of God. "Once again", he writes, "it must be unequivocally stated that no circumstances can ever justify acts of terrorism. Every human life is precious in God's sight and no effort should be spared in the attempt to promote throughout the world a genuine respect for the inalienable rights and dignity of individuals and peoples everywhere".
The Holy Father has words of praise for the courage and generosity shown by the American people during the rescue operations and "for their resilience in moving forward with hope and confidence. It is my fervent prayer", he concludes, "that a firm commitment to justice and a global culture of solidarity will help rid the world of the grievances that so often give rise to acts of violence and will create the conditions for greater peace and prosperity, offering a brighter and more secure future".
VATICAN CITY, 10 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
VATICAN CITY, 12 SEP 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a message sent by Benedict XVI to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, for a congress on the theme: "Bound to live together. The dialogue of religions and cultures". The congress, sponsored by the archdiocese and the Sant'Egidio Community, is taking place in Munich from 11 to 13 September. For the last twenty-five years, since John Paul II's meeting with religious leaders in the Italian town of Assisi, the Sant'Egidio Community has annually organised an ecumenical meeting for peace.
In the German-language text, dated from Castelgandolfo on 1 September, the Pope highlights the theme of the meeting, but warns that living together can also become living against one another if we do not learn to become more open and accepting. "Everything depends", he writes, "on our readiness to understand living together as a commitment and a gift, on finding the path to true coexistence. This shared life once meant remaining within the confines of a particular region, but today it is inevitably experienced at a universal level; today it is all humankind that must live together. Meetings such as the one which took place in Assisi and the one being held today in Munich, are occasions in which religions can ask themselves how to become a force for coexistence".
VATICAN CITY, 12 SEP 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Renzo Pegoraro, professor of bioethics at the Triveneto Theological Faculty and director of the Lanza Foundation in Padua, as chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
On Saturday 10 September he raised Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, to the dignity of bishop.