Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:
I had a call from Dun & Bradstreet. A representative wanted to verify information the company had about Catholic Answers. She asked me to confirm the names of the members of our board of directors. "Karl Keating?" Yes, I said."Philip Lenahan?" Yes again."Henry G. Graham?" Henry G. Graham? No. He was the author of "Where We Got the Bible," a book published by Catholic Answers. Bishop Graham died in 1959, long before Catholic Answers was established."John Chrysostom?" John Chrysostom! No, not him either. That saint was the archbishop of Constantinople and died earlier still, in 407.
Dun & Bradstreet sells reports on businesses. Prices range from $9.99 to $139.99. I do hope this phone call was not indicative of the reliability of the information found in those reports.
WELL, BONIFACE DID LIVE IN GERMANY
In last week's E-Letter I wrote about Fundamentalist minister John MacArthur. Later that same day James White, head of Alpha and Omega Ministries, came to MacArthur's defense. At his blog (http://www.aomin.org/) he published a piece titled "John MacArthur, Pope Boniface, and Karl Keating."That's right: "Pope Boniface." White used the name not just in the bolded title but twice in the body of the piece. This was caught by Catholic blogs, where participants had some fun at White's expense. After all, said one, it takes some effort to get wrong the name of what may be the world's most famous man.
White engaged in partial damage control. He changed "Boniface" to "Benedict" in the title of his piece, but he left "Boniface" in the body. Maybe that oversight will have been fixed by the time you read this.
In a second posting, put up last Thursday, White said, "Ignoring the substance of what I wrote and focusing solely upon mixing two artificial names (shall we just call him Joseph Ratzinger and stop the pretension of the papacy and its naming policy?), some have jumped on this as if it has some kind of meaning." He went on to call "Benedict" a "fake name.
"No, it is not fake. It is his real name. It is no more fake than is the surname of White's wife. Upon marrying him she dropped her maiden name and took his family name. This is an almost universal custom in this country. It is done chiefly to signify the unity of the husband and wife. If the Pope's name is "fake," so are the names of most married women in America. When a newly-elected pope takes a new name, he is doing a couple of things. He is setting aside his own identity because now he is Peter for the Church. He also is honoring the saint whose name he takes or a previous pope who used that name. (These twin reasons were cited by Joseph Ratzinger when he chose "Benedict"; he referred to the original St. Benedict and also to Pope Benedict XV.) The practice of popes taking new names started with a pope whose given name was Mercury. He thought it would be awkward for a pope to sport the name of a pagan god, so he changed his name to John. The practice stuck.
FOURTEEN MISSING CENTURIES
In his original complaint about last week's E-Letter, White said, "Tell us, Karl--can you name a single member of the Council of Nicaea who believed and professed what you believe about the papacy, Mary, purgatory, indulgences, transubstantiation, etc.?"Take the last item, transubstantiation. Not a single member of that Council (held in 325) ever used the term, for two reasons: The Council proceedings were in Greek, not Latin, and the Latin-derived "transubstantiation" was not a theological word of art until the Middle Ages. No one in the fourth century, at the Council or anywhere else, ever put on paper the word "transubstantiation."
But the Council fathers believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. All Christians did--and had, from the beginning. To see what the Fathers said about the Real Presence, go to http://www.catholic.com/library/Real_Presence.asp
It was not until the Middle Ages that some began to write in opposition to the Real Presence. To defend the historical understanding, the bishops at the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) used the term "transubstantiation" to describe what happens at the Consecration. Other terms had been proposed, but only this term eliminated heretical understandings. Here was the imposition of a new, precise theological term, used to clarify what the Church always had believed. That the term was not used at Nicaea is immaterial, just as it is immaterial that the words "Trinity" and "Incarnation" nowhere appear in Scripture.
James White knows this much. His petulant challenge to me camouflaged a more important matter. Catholics admit, rightly, that the terminology about some of their beliefs has undergone development over the centuries; even the beliefs themselves have developed, in John Henry Newman's sense of becoming better understood, more technically expressed, more thought-through. But as Newman realized and wrote (particularly in his "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine"), there is a straight line connecting today's expression of a doctrine and the primitive expression of it. This cannot be said for Protestant distinctives.
Calvinism did not exist before Calvin, and Lutheranism did not exist before Luther--not just as movements but as theological principles. The beliefs by which Protestants distinguish themselves from Catholics were not held by Christians prior to the Reformation. Double predestination in Calvin's sense? While predestination was much written about in the early centuries, Christians did not hold Calvin's understanding. Sola scriptura? There is no evidence in antiquity or the Middle Ages for the "Bible only" position.
An invisible church? This idea was quite foreign to Christian writers living before the sixteenth century. The list could be extended. The Reformers introduced novelties into Christianity. They dropped historical beliefs with which they disagreed, and into the vacancies they intruded new ideas of their own. This is denied by Fundamentalist controversialists, who say that what they teach today was taught by the apostles, by the New Testament, and even by the Fathers of the Church.
Just as one can find in Scripture warrant for almost any belief, if Scripture is chopped up sufficiently, so one can find warrant in the Fathers, if one slices and dices. I always have found it amusing that Augustine, say, is quoted in support of some Fundamentalist doctrine but never in support of Fundamentalist ecclesiology. Augustine was a bishop and knew himself to be a bishop. He believed the Church to be structured as today's Catholics believe it to be structured: pope, bishops, priests, deacons, religious, laymen. He believed in the magisterium of the Church and knew he was part of that magisterium. For him, everything fit together. The structure of the Church was as much of divine institution as were the beliefs about salvation and Scripture.
Catholics accept the whole of Augustine. Fundamentalists accept only fragments. How can they be comfortable quoting as an authority a man who rejected any notion of an invisible Church, who believed in sacraments, who practiced obedience to popes? There is a deep and wide gap in Fundamentalist self-understanding. It runs from the end of the first century to the beginning of the sixteenth. Two-thirds of Christian history is terra incognita for them. "There be dragons here," say their maps.
Pro Pontiff, Pro-Magisterial, Pro-life, Pro-family. These articles reflect these values and I believe should be Interesting to Catholics. If there are any article I have missed, or you feel should not be here, or you agree/disagree with, then please feel free to post a comment.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:
Saturday, August 27, 2005
At the Concluding Mass for World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI called upon the faithful to participate regularly in Sunday Mass. “You will realize that this is what gives a proper focus to your free time,” the Pontiff said during the Mass held at Marienfeld near Cologne.
Apart from this, he called on the more than one million youths in attendance to follow the faith of the Church. “Religion constructed on a 'do-it-yourself' basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves,” according to the Pope. The youth should also “form communities based on faith.” As examples, he cited the spiritual movements and communities that have developed in recent decades. Still, the Pontiff pointed out, it is important to maintain communion with the Pope and the bishops, lest believers seek “private paths” of their own.
In conclusion, Benedict XVI also exhorted the youth to engage in active forms of charity. It is better “to be useful and at the disposal of others than to be concerned only with the comforts that are offered to us,” said the Pope. The youth should demonstrate that they want to commit themselves to building a better world.
At the outset of the Mass, the Pope was welcomed by Joachim Cardinal Meisner: “You belong to the youth, and the youth belongs to you.” If a million persons gather together in Christ’s name, among them 10,000 priests and 800 bishops, then “we can touch, hear, and cannot fail to see Christ,” Meisner said.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Date: Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered in various languages at the end of the closing Mass of World Youth Day, before praying the Angelus.
* * * Dear Friends, We have come to the conclusion of this marvelous celebration and indeed of the 20th World Youth Day. In my heart I sense welling up within me a single thought: "Thank you!" I am sure that this thought finds an echo in each one of you. God himself has implanted it in our hearts and he has sealed it with this Eucharist which literally means "thanksgiving." Yes, dear young people, our gratitude, born from faith, is expressed in our song of praise to Him, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has given us yet another sign of his immense love.
Our words of thanks rise up to God through the gift of this unforgettable meeting, and are now extended to all those who have been involved in its preparation and organization. I wish to renew my gratitude particularly to the Pontifical Council for the Laity, under its president, Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, ably assisted by the secretary, Bishop Josef Clemens, and also to my confreres from the German Bishops' Conference, in the first place to the archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner. I am grateful to the political and administrative authorities who have ensured that each event has run smoothly; I thank the many volunteers from German dioceses and from different countries. A cordial word of thanks goes also to the many contemplative communities who have supported us in prayer during this World Youth Day.
And now, as the living presence of the Risen Christ in our midst nourishes our faith and hope, I am pleased to announce that the next World Youth Day will take place in Sydney, Australia, in 2008. We entrust to the maternal guidance of Mary most holy, the future course of the young people of the whole world.
[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father said:]
[In French] I greet affectionately the French-speaking young people. Thank you dear friends, for your participation, and I trust that you return home bringing within, you like the Magi, the joy of having found Christ, the Son of the living God.
[In English] I extend a warm greeting to the English-speaking young people from all parts of the world at the conclusion of these unforgettable days. May the light of Christ, which you have followed on your way to Cologne, shine ever more brightly and strongly in your lives!
[In Spanish] Dear Spanish-speaking young people! You have come to worship Christ. Now that you have found him, continue to worship him in your hearts, always prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you (cf. 1 Peter 3:15). Have a pleasant return home!
[In Italian] My dear Italian-speaking friends! This 20th World Youth Day is ending, but the Eucharistic celebration must continue in our lives: Bring to all the joy of Christ that you have found here.
[In Polish] To all the young Polish people, I extend a warm embrace! As the great Pope John Paul II would say: Keep the flame of faith alive in your lives and in your people. May Our Lady, Mother of Christ, guide your steps always.
[In Portuguese] I greet with affection the Portuguese-speaking young people. I pray, dear friends, that you will always live in friendship with Jesus, so as to know true joy and communicate it to others, especially to young people in difficulty.
[In Tagalog] My dear Tagalog-speaking friends and all the young people of Asia! Like the Magi, you too have come from the East to worship Christ. Now that you have found him, return to your countries bringing in your hearts the light of his love.
[In Swahili] A warm greeting also to you, young people from Africa! Bring to your great and beloved Continent the hope that Christ has given you. Be everywhere sowers of peace and brotherhood.
[In German] Dear friends who understand me in my own language, I thank you for the affection with which you have sustained me in these days. Be close to me in prayer. Walk together in unity. Always be faithful to Christ and to the Church. May the peace and the joy of Christ be with you always!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
GERMANY - COLOGNE - 21.08.2005
International Airport Köln/BonnFarewell Ceremony
At the conclusion of this, my first visit to Germany as the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, I must express once again my heartfelt gratitude for the welcome given to me, to my collaborators and especially to the many young people who came to Cologne from every continent for this World Youth Day. The Lord has called me to succeed our beloved Pope John Paul II, whose inspired idea it was to initiate the series of World Youth Days. I have taken up this legacy with joy, and I give thanks to God for giving me the opportunity to experience in the company of so many young people this further step along their spiritual pilgrimage from continent to continent, following the Cross of Christ.
I am grateful to all those who have so effectively ensured that every phase of this extraordinary gathering could take place in an orderly and serene fashion. These days spent together have given many young men and women from the whole world the opportunity to become better acquainted with Germany. We are all well aware of the evil that emerged from our homeland during the Twentieth Century, and we acknowledge it with shame and suffering. During these days, thanks be to God, it has become quite evident that there was and is another Germany, a land of singular human, cultural and spiritual resources. I hope and pray that these resources, thanks, not least, to the events of recent days, may once more spread throughout the world!
Now young people from all over the world can return home enriched by their contacts and their experiences of dialogue and fellowship in the different regions of our homeland. I am certain that their stay, marked by their youthful enthusiasm, will remain as a pleasant memory with the people who have offered them such generous hospitality, and that it will also be a sign of hope for Germany. Indeed one can say that during these days Germany has been the centre of the Catholic world. Young people from every continent and culture, gathered in faith around their Pastors and the Successor of Peter, have shown us a young Church, one that seeks with imagination and courage to shape the face of a more just and generous humanity. Following the example of the Magi, these young men and women set out to encounter Christ, in accordance with the theme of this World Youth Day. Now they are returning to their own regions and cities to testify to the light, the beauty and the power of the Gospel which they have experienced anew.
I must also express thanks to all who have opened their hearts and their homes to the countless young pilgrims. I am grateful to the government authorities, to the political leaders and the various civil and military departments, as well as the security services and the many volunteer organizations which have put so much effort into the preparation and realization of each of the initiatives and events of this World Youth Day. A special word of thanks goes to all who planned the moments of prayer and reflection, as well as the liturgical celebrations, eloquent examples of the joyful vitality of the faith that animates the younger generation in our time. I would also like to express my gratitude to the leaders of other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and to the representatives of other religions who wished to be present at this important meeting. I express my hope that we can strengthen our common commitment to train the younger generation in the human and spiritual values which are indispensable for building a future of true freedom and peace.
My deep gratitude goes to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, the Diocese that hosted this international meeting, to the Bishops of Germany, led by the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, to the priests, to men and women religious, and to the parish communities, lay associations and movements who have devoted such energy to helping the young people present to reap the spiritual fruits of their stay. I offer a special word of thanks to the young people from Germany, who in a variety of ways have helped to welcome other young people and to share with them moments of faith that have been truly memorable. I hope that this event will remain impressed on the life of Germany’s Catholics and will be an incentive for a renewed spiritual and apostolic outreach! May the Gospel be received in its integrity and witnessed with profound conviction by all Christ’s disciples, so that it becomes a source of authentic renewal for all of German society, thanks also to dialogue with the different Christian communities and the followers of other religions.
Finally, my respectful and cordial greetings go to the political, civil and diplomatic authorities present at this departure ceremony. In particular I thank you, Mr Chancellor, and I ask you kindly to convey my deep gratitude to the President of the Republic, the members of the Government and all the German people. Filled with the emotions and memories of these days, I now return to Rome. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings for a future of serene prosperity, harmony and peace
GERMANY - COLOGNE - 21.08.2005
Pius Hall of the SeminaryMeeting with German Bishops
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
I bless the Lord who has given me the joy of meeting you here, on German soil, at the conclusion of this Twentieth World Youth Day. I think we could say that the hand of Providence has been visible during these days, and not only has it given encouragement to me, the Successor of Peter, but it has also offered a sign of hope to the Church in this country, and above all to you, her Pastors. To all of you I renew my heartfelt thanks for the effort you have made in preparing for the event. I particularly thank Cardinal Joachim Meisner and his auxiliaries, and the President of the Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, together with all who have assisted in any way.
As I said this morning at the conclusion of the great Eucharistic celebration at Marienfeld, Germany has witnessed a remarkable pilgrimage in recent days. This was no ordinary group of pilgrims, but a pilgrimage of young people! This event, which the Diocese of Cologne and all of you worked so hard to prepare, has now ended: and what a cause it is for thanksgiving to God, for reflection and for renewed commitment! The much-beloved Pope John Paul II, founder of the World Youth Days, used to say that on these pilgrimages the young people are the protagonists and the Pope, in a certain sense, follows them. A humorous observation, but one which points to a profound truth: young people, who are searching for the fullness of life despite their weaknesses and limitations, urge their Pastors to listen to their questions and to do everything possible to help them understand the one true answer, which is Christ. We need, then, to cherish this gift which God has given to the Church in Germany, to accept the challenge that it presents and to make good use of the potential it provides.
It should be stressed that this event, while exceptional, is not unique. The Cathedral in Cologne is not, to quote a familiar expression, “a Cathedral in the desert”. I am thinking of the many gifts which enrich the Church in Germany. It brings joy to my heart to list them briefly here with you, in the same spirit of praise and thanksgiving that has marked these days of grace. Many people in this country live their faith in an exemplary manner, with great love for the Church, for its Pastors and for the Successor of Peter. A good number voluntarily take on what are sometimes demanding responsibilities in diocesan and parish life, in associations and movements, especially in order to help young people. Many priests, religious and lay people carry out faithful service in pastoral situations that are often difficult. And German Catholics are very generous towards the poor. Many Fidei Donum priests and German missionaries carry out their apostolate in distant lands. The Catholic Church maintains a presence in public life through many different institutions. Significant work is being done by the various charitable agencies: Misereor, Adveniat, Missio, Renovabis, as well as diocesan and parish Caritas organizations.
We know that on the face of this Church there are unfortunately also wrinkles, shadows that obscure her splendour. These too we should keep before us, in a spirit of unfailing love, at this moment of celebration and thanksgiving. Secularism and dechristianization continue to advance. The influence of Catholic ethics and morals is in constant decline. Many people abandon the Church or, if they remain, they accept only a part of Catholic teaching. The religious situation in the East is particularly worrying, since the majority of the population is unbaptized and has no contact with the Church. In each of these problems we recognize a fresh challenge. You yourselves are more aware of this than anyone, as is evident from your Pastoral Letter of 21 September 2004 in commemoration of the 1,250th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Boniface. In that Letter, quoting the Jesuit Father Alfred Delp, you stated that “we have become a mission territory”. As a native of this country that I hold so dear, I feel particularly affected by its problems. Today I want to assure you of my affection and solidarity, along with that of the entire College of Bishops, and I encourage you to remain united and to persevere undaunted in your mission. The Church in Germany needs to become ever more missionary, committed to finding the best ways to pass on the faith to future generations.
This is the panorama that World Youth Day opens up before us: it invites us to look to the future. For the Church, and especially for pastors, parents and educators, young people are a living call to faith and hope. My venerable Predecessor, in choosing for this Twentieth World Youth Day the theme: “We Have Come To Worship Him” (Mt 2:2), implicitly confirmed this call. He marked out a clear path for young people to follow. He urged them to seek Christ, with the Magi as their model; he invited them to follow the star, a reflection of Christ in the firmament of personal and social life; he trained them, by his strong but gentle example, to bend the knee before God made man, the Son of the Virgin Mary, and to acknowledge in him the Redeemer of humanity. That same model which he proposed to young people, John Paul II also offered to their Pastors, as a means of guiding their ministry among the younger generation and the whole family of the Church. The Way, the Truth and the Life which everyone seeks, particularly every young person, have been entrusted to us Pastors by Christ himself, who has made us his witnesses and ministers of his Gospel (cf. Mt 28:18-20). Consequently we must neither lessen the intensity of the search nor conceal the truth, but rather maintain the fruitful tension that exists between these two poles: a tension that corresponds profoundly to the character of modern man. With the light and strength that come from this gift, namely the Gospel which the Holy Spirit ceaselessly makes alive and active, we can proclaim Christ fearlessly and invite everyone not to be afraid to open their hearts to him, for we are convinced that in him is found the fullness of life and happiness.
This means being a Church open to the future, and therefore one full of promise for coming generations. Young people, in fact, are not looking for a Church which panders to youth but one which is truly young in spirit; a Church completely open to Christ, the new Man. This is the commitment that we wish to make today, at this truly significant moment, at the conclusion of this great event for youth, an event which has forced us to think about the future of the Church and of society. It is in this positive and hope-filled light that we can confidently confront the most difficult issues facing the Church in Germany. Once again young people are providing us, their Pastors, with a salutary stimulus, for they are asking us to be consistent, united and courageous. We for our part must train them in patience, in discernment, in healthy realism. Yet there can be no false compromise, no watering down of the Gospel.
Dear Brothers, the experience of the last twenty years has taught us that every World Youth Day represents a kind of new beginning for the pastoral care of young people in the host country. Preparing for the event mobilizes people and resources and celebrating it brings about a surge of enthusiasm that needs to be channelled in the best possible way. It contains enormous potential energy which can grow greater the wider it spreads. Here I am thinking of parishes, lay associations, movements; and of priests, religious, catechists and youth workers. I imagine that in Germany an enormous number of them have been involved in this event. I pray that for everyone it will be the occasion of a real growth in love for Christ and for the Church, and I encourage all to continue to cooperate, in a renewed spirit of service, for the improved pastoral care of young people.
Among young people, an important role is played by associations and movements, which are clearly a source of great enrichment. The Church must value them and at the same time she must guide them with pastoral prudence, so that they will contribute in the best possible way, through their varied gifts, to building up the community, without ever entering into competition but respecting one another and working together in order to awaken in young people the joy of faith, love for the Church and passion for the Kingdom of God. For this purpose it is essential that those who are engaged with and for young people should themselves be convinced witnesses to Christ and faithful to the teaching of the Church. The same applies in the field of Catholic education and catechesis: I am confident that you will take care to ensure that the persons chosen to be teachers of religion and catechists are well-prepared and faithful to the Church’s Magisterium. A useful aid in this commitment to the Christian formation of the younger generation will surely be the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which collects and synthesizes all the essential elements of Catholic faith and morality in clear and accessible language.
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, please God there will be other opportunities to explore further the many issues which demand your pastoral care and mine. On this occasion I wished to reflect with you on the message of this great pilgrimage of young people. It seems to me that, having come to the end of this experience, the young people have this to say to us: “We have came to worship him. We have found him. Help us now to become his disciples and witnesses.” It is a challenging appeal, but what great consolation it brings to the heart of a Pastor! May the memory of these hope-filled days spent in Cologne sustain your ministry, our ministry. I offer you my affectionate encouragement, together with a fervent fraternal request to live and work together in unity, on the basis of a communion that has its summit and its inexhaustible source in the Eucharist. Entrusting you to Mary Most Holy, Mother of Christ and of the Church, I cordially impart to each of you and to all your communities a special Apostolic Blessing.
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
Cologne - MarienfeldSunday, 21 August 2005
Prior to Mass, the Pope said the following:
Dear Cardinal Meisner, Dear Young People,
I would like to thank you, dear Confrère in the Episcopate, for the touching words you have addressed to me which introduced us so appropriately into the Eucharistic celebration.
I would have liked to tour the hill in the Popemobile and to be closer to each one of you, individually. Unfortunately, this has proved impossible, but I greet each one of you from the bottom of my heart. The Lord sees and loves each individual person and we are all the living Church for one another, and let us thank God for this moment in which he is giving us the gift of the mystery of his presence and the possibility of being in communion with him.
We all know that we are imperfect, that we are unable to be a fitting house for him. Let us therefore begin Holy Mass by meditating and praying to him, so that he will take from us what divides us from him and what separates us from each other and enable us to become familiar with the holy mysteries.
Dear Young Friends,
Yesterday evening we came together in the presence of the Sacred Host, in which Jesus becomes for us the bread that sustains and feeds us (cf. Jn 6: 35), and there we began our inner journey of adoration. In the Eucharist, adoration must become union.
At the celebration of the Eucharist, we find ourselves in the "hour" of Jesus, to use the language of John's Gospel. Through the Eucharist this "hour" of Jesus becomes our own hour, his presence in our midst. Together with the disciples he celebrated the Passover of Israel, the memorial of God's liberating action that led Israel from slavery to freedom. Jesus follows the rites of Israel. He recites over the bread the prayer of praise and blessing.
But then something new happens. He thanks God not only for the great works of the past; he thanks him for his own exaltation, soon to be accomplished through the Cross and Resurrection, and he speaks to the disciples in words that sum up the whole of the Law and the Prophets: "This is my Body, given in sacrifice for you. This cup is the New Covenant in my Blood". He then distributes the bread and the cup, and instructs them to repeat his words and actions of that moment over and over again in his memory.
What is happening? How can Jesus distribute his Body and his Blood?
By making the bread into his Body and the wine into his Blood, he anticipates his death, he accepts it in his heart, and he transforms it into an action of love. What on the outside is simply brutal violence - the Crucifixion - from within becomes an act of total self-giving love. This is the substantial transformation which was accomplished at the Last Supper and was destined to set in motion a series of transformations leading ultimately to the transformation of the world when God will be all in all (cf. I Cor 15: 28).
In their hearts, people always and everywhere have somehow expected a change, a transformation of the world. Here now is the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world: violence is transformed into love, and death into life.
Since this act transmutes death into love, death as such is already conquered from within, the Resurrection is already present in it. Death is, so to speak, mortally wounded, so that it can no longer have the last word.
To use an image well known to us today, this is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being - the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world.
All other changes remain superficial and cannot save. For this reason we speak of redemption: what had to happen at the most intimate level has indeed happened, and we can enter into its dynamic. Jesus can distribute his Body, because he truly gives himself.
This first fundamental transformation of violence into love, of death into life, brings other changes in its wake. Bread and wine become his Body and Blood.
But it must not stop there; on the contrary, the process of transformation must now gather momentum. The Body and Blood of Christ are given to us so that we ourselves will be transformed in our turn. We are to become the Body of Christ, his own Flesh and Blood.
We all eat the one bread, and this means that we ourselves become one. In this way, adoration, as we said earlier, becomes union. God no longer simply stands before us as the One who is totally Other. He is within us, and we are in him. His dynamic enters into us and then seeks to spread outwards to others until it fills the world, so that his love can truly become the dominant measure of the world.
I like to illustrate this new step urged upon us by the Last Supper by drawing out the different nuances of the word "adoration" in Greek and in Latin. The Greek word is proskynesis. It refers to the gesture of submission, the recognition of God as our true measure, supplying the norm that we choose to follow. It means that freedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather about living by the measure of truth and goodness, so that we ourselves can become true and good. This gesture is necessary even if initially our yearning for freedom makes us inclined to resist it.
We can only fully accept it when we take the second step that the Last Supper proposes to us. The Latin word for adoration is ad-oratio - mouth to mouth contact, a kiss, an embrace, and hence, ultimately love. Submission becomes union, because he to whom we submit is Love. In this way submission acquires a meaning, because it does not impose anything on us from the outside, but liberates us deep within.
Let us return once more to the Last Supper. The new element to emerge here was the deeper meaning given to Israel's ancient prayer of blessing, which from that point on became the word of transformation, enabling us to participate in the "hour" of Christ. Jesus did not instruct us to repeat the Passover meal, which in any event, given that it is an anniversary, is not repeatable at will. He instructed us to enter into his "hour".
We enter into it through the sacred power of the words of consecration - a transformation brought about through the prayer of praise which places us in continuity with Israel and the whole of salvation history, and at the same time ushers in the new, to which the older prayer at its deepest level was pointing.
The new prayer - which the Church calls the "Eucharistic Prayer" - brings the Eucharist into being. It is the word of power which transforms the gifts of the earth in an entirely new way into God's gift of himself, and it draws us into this process of transformation. That is why we call this action "Eucharist", which is a translation of the Hebrew word beracha - thanksgiving, praise, blessing, and a transformation worked by the Lord: the presence of his "hour". Jesus' hour is the hour in which love triumphs. In other words: it is God who has triumphed, because he is Love.
Jesus' hour seeks to become our own hour and will indeed become so if we allow ourselves, through the celebration of the Eucharist, to be drawn into that process of transformation that the Lord intends to bring about. The Eucharist must become the centre of our lives.
If the Church tells us that the Eucharist is an essential part of Sunday, this is no mere positivism or thirst for power. On Easter morning, first the women and then the disciples had the grace of seeing the Lord. From that moment on, they knew that the first day of the week, Sunday, would be his day, the day of Christ the Lord. The day when creation began became the day when creation was renewed. Creation and redemption belong together. That is why Sunday is so important.
It is good that today, in many cultures, Sunday is a free day, and is often combined with Saturday so as to constitute a "week-end" of free time. Yet this free time is empty if God is not present.
Dear friends! Sometimes, our initial impression is that having to include time for Mass on a Sunday is rather inconvenient. But if you make the effort, you will realize that this is what gives a proper focus to your free time.
Do not be deterred from taking part in Sunday Mass, and help others to discover it too. This is because the Eucharist releases the joy that we need so much, and we must learn to grasp it ever more deeply, we must learn to love it.
Let us pledge ourselves to do this - it is worth the effort! Let us discover the intimate riches of the Church's liturgy and its true greatness: it is not we who are celebrating for ourselves, but it is the living God himself who is preparing a banquet for us.
Through your love for the Eucharist you will also rediscover the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in which the merciful goodness of God always allows us to make a fresh start in our lives.
Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on.
In vast areas of the world today there is a strange forgetfulness of God. It seems as if everything would be just the same even without him.
But at the same time there is a feeling of frustration, a sense of dissatisfaction with everyone and everything.
People tend to exclaim: "This cannot be what life is about!". Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion. I have no wish to discredit all the manifestations of this phenomenon. There may be sincere joy in the discovery. But to tell the truth, religion often becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it.
But religion sought on a "do-it-yourself" basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves.
Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ! Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to him with conviction.
This is why love for Sacred Scripture is so important, and in consequence, it is important to know the faith of the Church which opens up for us the meaning of Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church as her faith grows, causing her to enter ever more deeply into the truth (cf. Jn 16: 13).
Beloved Pope John Paul II gave us a wonderful work in which the faith of centuries is explained synthetically: the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I myself recently presented the Compendium of the Catechism, also prepared at the request of the late Holy Father. These are two fundamental texts which I recommend to all of you.
Obviously books alone are not enough. Form communities based on faith!
In recent decades, movements and communities have come to birth in which the power of the Gospel is keenly felt. Seek communion in faith, like fellow travellers who continue together to follow the path of the great pilgrimage that the Magi from the East first pointed out to us. The spontaneity of new communities is important, but it is also important to preserve communion with the Pope and with the Bishops. It is they who guarantee that we are not seeking private paths, but instead are living as God's great family, founded by the Lord through the Twelve Apostles.
Once again, I must return to the Eucharist. "Because there is one bread, we, though many, are one body", says St Paul (I Cor 10: 17). By this he meant: since we receive the same Lord and he gathers us together and draws us into himself, we ourselves are one.
This must be evident in our lives. It must be seen in our capacity to forgive. It must be seen in our sensitivity to the needs of others. It must be seen in our willingness to share. It must be seen in our commitment to our neighbours, both those close at hand and those physically far away, whom we nevertheless consider to be close.
Today, there are many forms of voluntary assistance, models of mutual service, of which our society has urgent need. We must not, for example, abandon the elderly to their solitude, we must not pass by when we meet people who are suffering. If we think and live according to our communion with Christ, then our eyes will be opened. Then we will no longer be content to scrape a living just for ourselves, but we will see where and how we are needed.
Living and acting thus, we will soon realize that it is much better to be useful and at the disposal of others than to be concerned only with the comforts that are offered to us.
I know that you as young people have great aspirations, that you want to pledge yourselves to build a better world. Let others see this, let the world see it, since this is exactly the witness that the world expects from the disciples of Jesus Christ; in this way, and through your love above all, the world will be able to discover the star that we follow as believers.
Let us go forward with Christ and let us live our lives as true worshippers of God! Amen.
© Copyright 2005 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
COLOGNE — During his homily for the closing Mass of World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the youth to pursue a pure and full faith, which does not pick and choose among doctrines. He continued on that theme in remarks to the German Bishops before returning to Rome."If it is pushed too far, religion becomes almost a consumer product," said the Pope to over a million pilgrims in attendance at the three-hour Mass culminating World Youth Day. People choose what they like . . . But religion constructed on a 'do-it-yourself' basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves. Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ!," he said. (To read the full homily, &.)After a farewell to the youth, the Pope made his way to a meeting with the German bishops during which he encouraged them to capitalize on the rejuvenation of faith that comes with World Youth Day. "We need, then, to cherish this gift which God has given to the Church in Germany, to accept the challenge that it presents and to make good use of the potential it provides," he said.The Pope did not content himself with glossing over negatives in the Church, in fact, he said they must be examined. "We know that on the face of this Church there are unfortunately also wrinkles, shadows that obscure her splendour. These too we should keep before us, in a spirit of unfailing love," he said. Returning to the theme of orthodoxy, the Pope warned the bishops that "Many people abandon the Church or, if they remain, they accept only a part of Catholic teaching." He counselled that "Young people, in fact, are not looking for a Church which panders to youth but one which is truly young in spirit; a Church completely open to Christ, the new Man."He urged the Bishops to "confront the most difficult issues facing the Church in Germany," noting that young people "are asking us to be consistent, united and courageous." And while he encouraged bishops to reach out to the youth, he warned "Yet there can be no false compromise, no watering down of the Gospel."Throughout the 60s and to the modern day, when faced with demands of the popular culture, many in church leadership felt that watering down church teaching to make it palpable especially for the youth was the key to success. However the empty churches and seminaries, particularly in areas where watering down of church teaching was rampant has shown the recourse to compromise with the world to be an abysmal failure, especially when juxtaposed with the over-crowded seminaries in those locales where orthodoxy reigns. The Pope said to the bishops, "I am confident that you will take care to ensure that the persons chosen to be teachers of religion and catechists are well-prepared and faithful to the Church's Magisterium." (To read see the Pope's full address to the bishops, click here.)At the airport, the Pope bid farewell to his beloved homeland. "Indeed one can say that during these days Germany has been the centre of the Catholic world," he said. "I hope that this event will remain impressed on the life of Germany's Catholics and will be an incentive for a renewed spiritual and apostolic outreach!""Filled with the emotions and memories of these days, I now return to Rome." (To read the farewell address of the Pope at the airport, click here.)
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
One of the greatest cathedrals in the world stands above the Rhine River at Cologne, Germany. Important in the history of the Church in Germany, the gothic cathedral also is known worldwide as the shrine of the Magi, the three “wise men” who came from the East bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, to pay homage to the newborn Savior at Bethlehem. This month, many thousands of young people from all over the world are going to Cologne for the World Youth Day Observance. Over 500 from Chicago are traveling as Archdiocesan pilgrims and a few hundred more are being sponsored by other groups in the Archdiocese. I look forward to being with them, taking part in the events, celebrating the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist and giving some of the talks. The World Youth Days are a legacy of the fruitful pontificate of Pope John Paul II. They have been held in different parts of the world over the past 20 years, and they have brought together millions of young Catholics to pray, to learn about the faith and its expression in Church teaching and to celebrate with the Pope. It was sometimes remarked that such grandiose moments have no permanent effect. That claim was belied at the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The men and women in their 20s and 30s who filled St. Peter’s square in Rome to file past the late Pope’s body explained they were there because their lives had been changed during one of the World Youth Days. These are not only passing celebrations; they are, or can be, an instrument for lifetime conversion. Pope Benedict XVI will be attending his first World Youth Day as Successor of St. Peter. On Sunday, Aug. 21, he will offer Mass. The vigil with him the night before will offer the young people a chance to meet him and exchange with him on a personal level. They will have the opportunity to see and hear our new Holy Father at close quarters. Many around the world will be watching to see how this Pope relates to young people, especially those from his own birthplace. Each World Youth Day has a theme. The theme this August is inspired by Cologne, its cathedral and the Magi who are venerated there. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the wise men who inquired about Jesus’ whereabouts declared, “We have come to worship him.” (Mt. 2:21) Pope John Paul II, when he convoked this World Youth Day months before his death, wrote, “It is a theme that enables young people from every continent to follow in spirit the path taken by the Magi whose relics, according to a pious tradition, are venerated in this very city and to meet, as they did, the Messiah of all nations.” When one meets the Lord, one worships. What else is there to do? The catechesis or basic instruction in the faith will be given once again by bishops from all over the world, myself included. The instructions are given in the mornings in various language groups, followed by Mass with the group catechized during the morning. The instructions are given in different parts of the city and in the neighboring areas. The catechesis is done in the context of the pilgrimage that each group will be making to the Cologne cathedral to visit the shrine of the Magi. The goal is to make in microcosm the journey of life together with those who accompany us on the way to our own encounter with the Lord. In their pilgrimage to the cathedral, the young people will be invited to walk in spirit with the Magi who first sought Christ without an adequate understanding of who he really is, along with the saints of Cologne and of Germany. Some of these, like St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and Blessed Adolf Kolping, are saints of more recent times. Pope John Paul II had written, again in his message for this World Youth Day, “The Church needs saints. All are called to holiness, and holy people alone can renew humanity. Many have gone before us along this path of Gospel heroism, and I urge you to turn often to them to pray for their intercession.” The Magi are presented in the Gospel as seekers of truth, driven to give up everything that was familiar to them in order to understand and follow God’s ways. Since it is beneath human dignity to live in falsehood, the search for truth is necessary if we want to live in freedom. If not anchored in the truth about God and ourselves and the world God created, freedom inevitably degenerates into irrationality and tyranny. The truth about Jesus is that he is truly God and truly man, and that fundamental truth will be explored during the catechetics sessions. From the truth about Christ comes insight into how he wants us to follow him. True worship includes all of life. We have the commandments of God and of the Church, but behind them is a basic surrender of one’s whole self to God in Christ. True worship leads one to conversion. Without being related truly to God, our lives become idolatrous. We give to ourselves or to other creatures the honor and allegiance that belong to God alone. All the saints strive to be of help to others, but always their first concern is to worship and to serve God. The encounter with Christ in Cologne will, of course, be centered on our encountering him in the Eucharist. Again, Pope John Paul wrote, “I would like the young people to gather around the Eucharist as the vital source which nourishes their faith and enthusiasm. Bring to your encounter with Jesus hidden in the Eucharist all your hopes, your desire for love. The catechesis will serve as a reminder that the Eucharistic presence is not limited to the Mass. Eucharistic presence follows communion. By learning to worship Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament, young people, and all of us, can experience his living presence, receiving many fruits of holiness and healing.” Because Jesus is present in the Eucharist in Chicago as well as in Cologne, joining the young people in Cologne will be easy, if we keep them in our hearts during our prayer at Mass and, in prayer, use the catechetical themes for our own reflection and meditation here. The Magi needed signs from nature, stars and constellations, in order to begin their journey searching for the truth. Once they encountered Christ among his own people and came to worship him, they were guided back to their own country by angels. They had moved from inquiry into God’s purposes through nature into historical revelation. They had become part of God’s people, directed by angels, God’s personal messengers, rather than by stars. Their journey is ours today, and my prayer is that we accompany one another on it and invite others to join us. Please keep the young pilgrims to Cologne and, with them, Pope Benedict XVI in your prayers. God bless you.
until speech deliveredcheck against delivery
GERMANY - COLOGNE - 19.08.2005SynagogueVisit
Ladies and Gentlemen,Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Shalom lechem! It has been my deep desire, during my first visit to Germany since my election as the Successor of the Apostle Peter, to meet the Jewish community of Cologne and the representatives of Judaism in Germany. By this visit I would like to return in spirit to the meeting that took place in Mainz on 17 November 1980 between my venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II, then making his first visit to this country, and members of the Central Jewish Committee in Germany and the Rabbinic Conference. Today too I wish to reaffirm that I intend to continue on the path towards improved relations and friendship with the Jewish People, following the decisive lead given by Pope John Paul II (cf. Address to the Delegation of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, 9 June 2005: L’Osservatore Romano, 10 June 2005, p. 5).
The Jewish community in Cologne can truly feel “at home” in this city. Cologne is, in fact, the oldest site of a Jewish community on German soil, dating back to the Colonia of Roman times. The history of relations between the Jewish and Christian communities has been complex and often painful. There were times when the two lived together peacefully, but there was also the expulsion of the Jews from Cologne in the year 1424. And in the twentieth century, in the darkest period of German and European history, an insane racist ideology, born of neo-paganism, gave rise to the attempt, planned and systematically carried out by the regime, to exterminate European Jewry. The result has passed into history as the Shoah. The victims of this unspeakable and previously unimaginable crime amounted to seven thousand named individuals in Cologne alone; the real figure was surely much higher. The holiness of God was no longer recognized, and consequently contempt was shown for the sacredness of human life.
This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, in which millions of Jews – men, women and children – were put to death in the gas chambers and ovens. I make my own the words written by my venerable Predecessor on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and I too say: “I bow my head before all those who experienced this manifestation of the mysterium iniquitatis.” The terrible events of that time must “never cease to rouse consciences, to resolve conflicts, to inspire the building of peace” (Message for the Liberation of Auschwitz, 15 January 2005). Together we must remember God and his wise plan for the world which he created. As we read in the Book of Wisdom, he is the “lover of life” (11:26).
This year also marks the fortieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, which opened up new prospects for Jewish-Christian relations in terms of dialogue and solidarity. This Declaration, in the fourth chapter, recalls the common roots and the immensely rich spiritual heritage that Jews and Christians share. Both Jews and Christians recognize in Abraham their father in faith (cf. Gal 3:7, Rom 4:11ff.) and they look to the teachings of Moses and the prophets. Jewish spirituality, like its Christian counterpart, draws nourishment from the psalms. With Saint Paul, Christians are convinced that “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29, cf. 9:6,11; 11:1ff.). In considering the Jewish roots of Christianity (cf. Rom 11:16-24), my venerable Predecessor, quoting a statement by the German Bishops, affirmed that: “whoever meets Jesus Christ meets Judaism” (Insegnamenti, vol. III/2, 1980, p. 1272).
The conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate therefore “deplores feelings of hatred, persecutions and demonstrations of antisemitism directed against the Jews at whatever time and by whomsoever” (No. 4). God created us all “in his image” (cf. Gen 1:27) and thus honoured us with a transcendent dignity. Before God, all men and women have the same dignity, whatever their nation, culture or religion. Hence the Declaration Nostra Aetate also speaks with great esteem of Muslims (cf. No. 3) and of the followers of other religions (cf. No. 2). On the basis of our shared human dignity the Catholic Church “condemns as foreign to the mind of Christ any kind of discrimination whatsoever between people, or harassment of them, done by reason of race or colour, class or religion” (No. 5). The Church is conscious of her duty to transmit this teaching, in her catechesis and in every aspect of her life, to the younger generations which did not witness the terrible events that took place before and during the Second World War. It is a particularly important task, since today, sadly, we are witnessing the rise of new signs of antisemitism and various forms of a general hostility towards foreigners. How can we fail to see in this a reason for concern and vigilance? The Catholic Church is committed – I reaffirm this again today – to tolerance, respect, friendship and peace between all peoples, cultures and religions.
In the forty years that have passed since the conciliar Declaration Nostra Aetate, much progress has been made, in Germany and throughout the world, towards better and closer relations between Jews and Christians. Alongside official relationships, due above all to cooperation between specialists in the biblical sciences, many friendships have been born. In this regard, I would mention the various declarations by the German Episcopal Conference and the charitable work done by the “Society for Jewish-Christian Cooperation in Cologne”, which since 1945 have enabled the Jewish community to feel once again “at home” here in Cologne and to establish good relations with the Christian communities. Yet much still remains to be done. We must come to know one another much more and much better. Consequently I would encourage sincere and trustful dialogue between Jews and Christians, for only in this way will it be possible to arrive at a shared interpretation of disputed historical questions, and, above all, to make progress towards a theological evaluation of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. This dialogue, if it is to be sincere, must not gloss over or underestimate the existing differences: in those areas in which, due to our profound convictions in faith, we diverge, and indeed precisely in those areas, we need to show respect for one another.
Finally, our gaze should not only be directed to the past, but should also look forward to the tasks that await us today and tomorrow. Our rich common heritage and our fraternal and more trusting relations call upon us to join in giving an ever more harmonious witness and to work together on the practical level for the defence and promotion of human rights and the sacredness of human life, for family values, for social justice and for peace in the world. The Decalogue (cf. Ex 20; Dt 5) is for us a shared legacy and commitment. The Ten Commandments are not a burden, but a sign-post showing the path leading to a successful life. This is particularly the case for the young people whom I am meeting in these days and who are so dear to me. My wish is that they may be able to recognize in the Decalogue a lamp for their steps, a light for their path (cf. Ps 119:105). Adults have the responsibility of handing down to young people the torch of hope that God has given to Jews and to Christians, so that “never again” will the forces of evil come to power, and that future generations, with God’s help, may be able to build a more just and peaceful world, in which all people have equal rights and are equally at home.
I conclude with the words of Psalm 29, which express both a wish and a prayer: “May the Lord give strength to his people, may he bless his people with peace”. May he hear our prayer!
Monday, August 22, 2005
COLOGNE — On Friday, Pope Benedict XVI made an historic visit to Cologne's Synagogue. After greetings form the congregation and Rabbi Netanel Teitelbaum, and the reading of the well known Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd . . . ) Pope Benedict spoke to the assembled guests, his message broadcast around the world by an eager media.
In his address, the Pope condemned in vivid language the atrocities committed against the Jews during the holocaust. "In the twentieth century, in the darkest period of German and European history, an insane racist ideology, born of neo-paganism, gave rise to the attempt, planned and systematically carried out by the regime, to exterminate European Jewry," said Pope Benedict.
"The victims of this unspeakable and previously unimaginable crime amounted to seven thousand named individuals in Cologne alone; the real figure was surely much higher. The holiness of God was no longer recognized, and consequently contempt was shown for the sacredness of human life."
He concluded his remarks calling on Jewish believers to join Christians in defending life and family.
"Our rich common heritage and our fraternal and more trusting relations call upon us to join in giving an ever more harmonious witness and to work together on the practical level for the defence and promotion of human rights and the sacredness of human life, for family values, for social justice and for peace in the world," he said.
(This update courtesy of LiftSiteNews.com)
Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on. In vast areas of the world today there is a strange forgetfulness of God. It seems as if everything would be just the same even without him. But at the same time there is a feeling of frustration, a sense of dissatisfaction with everyone and everything. People tend to exclaim: “This cannot be what life is about!” Indeed not. And so, together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion. I have no wish to discredit all the manifestations of this phenomenon. There may be sincere joy in the discovery. Yet if it is pushed too far, religion becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it. But religion constructed on a “do-it-yourself” basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves. Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us: Jesus Christ! Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to him with conviction. This is why love for Sacred Scripture is so important, and in consequence, it is important to know the faith of the Church which opens up for us the meaning of Scripture. It is the Holy Spirit who guides the Church as her faith grows, causing her to enter ever more deeply into the truth (cf. Jn 16:13).
Sunday, August 21, 2005
COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) -
Pope Benedict, wrapping up a triumphant return to his German homeland, on Sunday urged young people to shun a "do-it-yourself" concept of religion where they can choose what they want and disregard the rest.
A crowd of up to a million young people cheered the Pope at the last major event of his trip -- an open-air mass outside the city to conclude the Catholic Church's World Youth Day.
Most had spent the chilly night in tents and sleeping bags, singing and praying in a festive atmosphere before the Pope arrived to say the Mass along with some 800 bishops.
Mostly in their teens and early 20s, the crowd rose to their feet when Benedict arrived in a popemobile to close the latest edition of the youth event started by his predecessor John Paul 20 years ago. They swayed and sang: "Jesus Christ, you are my life."
In his homily, read in five languages, Benedict used general principles to press his point, in contrast to John Paul who often spoke to youth specifically about sexual morality.
He asked them not to see religion as a "consumer product" where people choose only what they want from it and disregard rules that are sometimes difficult to observe.
"Religion constructed on a 'do-it-yourself' basis cannot ultimately help us," he said. "It may be comfortable but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves."
The impression left to the listener was that the new Pope was trying to preach without finger-wagging.
"Freedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather living by the measure of truth and goodness, so that we ourselves can become true and good," he said.
Asked what he felt about the Pope's words warning against pick-and-choose Catholicism, Malte Schubert, a 19-year-old German, said: "That means no sex, basically, doesn't it? He has to say that. He is the Pope, but I think people should make their own choices."
There were also many in the crowd who agreed with the Pope.
"I am part of a movement for devotion to the Virgin Mary. We strictly follow the teachings of the Church. The Pope is right to warn against do-it-yourself religion, it should be all or nothing," said Nuno Gonzago, 20, from Portugal.
The Pope urged his listeners not to see Sunday Mass as an inconvenience and to build their dream for a better world by helping those less fortunate, particularly the sick and elderly.
The Pope, whose reserved style could have dampened the boisterous atmosphere of the festival that his charismatic predecessor dominated, has played his new public role without a slip and seemed to enjoy it at times.
The visit has allowed the Pope to show the softer side that his supporters say he has. Before his election in April, Joseph Ratzinger headed the Church department that oversees doctrine and was often depicted by the media as being cold and harsh.
The trip also gave the Pope an opportunity to push ahead on his efforts to continue dialogue with other religions.
On Friday he made an historic visit to Cologne's synagogue, which had been destroyed by the Nazis in 1938, and warned of the threat of new anti-Semitism.
He told Muslim leaders on Saturday they had a duty to help defeat terrorism and turn back the "wave of cruel fanaticism" that falsely uses religion to instigate hate. .
The Pope returns to Rome later on Sunday after meeting German bishops.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
The city itself is a unmistakable reminder of Europe's indelible Christian roots. The city emblem contains three crowns representative of the Three Kings or Three Wise Men who at the time of Christ's birth journeyed to Bethlehem to adore the newborn King. The relics of the Wise Men are kept in Cologne's Cathedral.
Addressing those gathered at the airport to greet him, Pope Benedict said, "During this World Youth Day we will reflect together on the theme: 'We Have Come To Worship Him' (Mt 2:2). This is a precious opportunity for thinking more deeply about the meaning of life as a 'pilgrimage,' guided by a 'star,' in search of the Lord. Together we shall consider the Magi, who, coming from various distant lands, were among the first to recognize the promised Messiah in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Virgin Mary, and to bow down in worship before Him (cf. Mt 2:1-12).... Like the Magi, all believers — and young people in particular — have been called to set out on the journey of life in search of truth, justice and love. The ultimate goal of the journey can only be found through an encounter with Christ, an encounter which cannot take place without faith." (See the full address here.)
The pope proceeded to the Rhine River where he was greeted by thousands of pilgrims lining the banks as he addressed them. He spoke of his "delight" and "great joy" in meeting the youth there and also of the "great" Pope John Paul II who called them all to be there.
"That great pope understood the challenges faced by young people today and, as a sign of his trust in them, he did not hesitate to spur them on to be courageous heralds of the Gospel and intrepid builders of the civilization of truth, love and peace," said Pope Benedict. "Today it is my turn to take up this extraordinary spiritual legacy bequeathed to us by Pope John Paul II. He loved you — you realized that and you returned his love with all your youthful enthusiasm. Now all of us together have to put his teaching into practice. It is this commitment which has brought us here to Cologne, as pilgrims in the footsteps of the Magi." (See the full address here.)
After visiting the Cathedral of Cologne, the pope once again addressed the youth, telling them to be like the Three Kings of old, a beacon directing all to Christ. "Let yourselves be inflamed by the fire of the Spirit, so that a new Pentecost will renew your hearts," he said. "Through you, may other young people everywhere come to recognize in Christ the true answer to their deepest aspirations, and may they open their hearts to receive the Word of God Incarnate, Who died and rose from the dead for the salvation of the world." (See the full address here.)
All were looking up expectantly, watching for the appearance of the native son of Germany, returning to his native homeland as the new Pope Benedict XVI. A sign of just how important this event is to the world is the enormous presence of the world press — TV, radio and newspapers. The Press Center is large enough to accommodate 7500 journalists and huge amounts of equipment. Having the pope chosen from any country is a great honor, but how much more to have your pope return to visit his and your homeland.
Of the hundreds of journalists typing in the Press Centre one soft-spoken young man in his early thirties took time to explain why having this happen in Germany is far more important than having this happen in any other country. He explained "During the last half-century the young people of Germany have borne a terrible burden. We have been stigmatized as having caused the world's worst tragedy and it has weighed heavily upon us. But now Germany has raised itself. It has raised a pope! We can once again hold our heads high. Now The Holy Father is returning to the Fatherland and Germany rejoices. I am a Protestant, but like all Germans I am happy and jubilant."
Back in 1945 the world would have thought this phenomenon to be impossible, just as today the election of a Muslim pope in the year 2070 would seem impossible. But with God, all things are possible.
(This update courtesy of LifeSiteNews.com.)
With great joy I welcome you, dear young people.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Brendan Hodge is part owner of PapalImages.com, a website providing high quality photographs of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.