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Category Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

 

My Venerable Predecessor
Reflection for 4/16/13

www.apostleshipofprayer.org

POPE FRANCIS WISHES BENEDICT XVI HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Vatican City, 16 April 2013 (VIS) – This morning, on the occasion of the birthday of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, the Holy Father Francis began the celebration of Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, inviting all those present to pray with these words: “Today is Benedict XVI’s birthday. We offer the Mass for him, so that the Lord be with him, comfort him, and give him much consolation.”

During the morning, Pope Francis then made friendly a phone call to Benedict XVI to wish him a happy birthday as well as to extend his greetings and best wishes to his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who has been at Castel Gandolfo for several days, staying precisely to celebrate in a familial and fraternal way, today’s occasion and who will in turn celebrate his saint’s day, St. George, this coming 23 April, just as Pope Francis will.
Photos by MATTEUS_27:24&25, Jacob Maurer, Jess Pac, Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk, Christus Vincit,

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March 23, 2013, Saturday — “We are brothers”… in humility


“We are brothers.”–Pope Francis to Emeritus Pope Benedict today at Castel Gandolfo

 

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The Icon of Mary that Pope Francis Gave as a Gift to Emeritus Pope Benedict Today Was… a Russian Icon 

The present and former Pope met today, in a moment without precedent. And the words which remain are the ones spoken by Pope Francis to Benedict: “We are brothers.”

 

As Nicole Winfield put it in her comprehensive Associated Press dispatch today: “The two men in white embraced and showed one another the deference owed a Pope in ways that surely turned Vatican protocol upside down: A reigning Pope telling a retired one, ‘We are brothers,’ and insisting that they pray side-by-side during a date to discuss the future of the Catholic Church.”

 

In the same report, she noted: “Francis also brought a gift for Benedict, an icon of the Madonna. ‘They told me it’s the Madonna of Humility,’ Francis told Benedict. ‘Let me say one thing: When they told me that, I immediately thought of you, at the many marvelous examples of humility and gentleness that you gave us during your pontificate.’ Benedict replied: ‘Grazie, grazie.'”

But who were the “they” who told Francis that the icon was the Madonna of Humility?

 

“They” were… the people who gave the icon to him. But who were those people?

 

Well… they were representatives of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who sent the icon to Pope Francis as a gift, and who handed it to Francis three days ago, on March 20.

How do I know this?

 

Because a few minutes ago I received an unexpected email from Metropolitan Hilarion, 46, an old friend who is also the “Foreign Minister” (the term isn’t quite accurate, but it suggests the importance of his work and position) of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Moscow Patriarchate, so, the right-hand of Patriarch Kirill. He wrote:


“Pope Francis presented to Pope emeritus Benedict the icon which had been presented to Pope Francis by Metropolitan Hilarion on behalf of Patriarch Kirill [the head of the Russian Orthodox Church] after the private audience [with the new Pope] on 20 March. Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aylAmChAaY Отправлено с iPhone [Sent  from iPhone]”

 

(Here below is a photo of the icon of the Madonna of Humility which Pope Francis gave today as a gift to Emeritus Pope Benedict)

 


So the icon was the Russian icon Hilarion gave to Francis three days ago!

 

I wrote back: “Amazing. Are you pleased, or upset?”

 

I added: “It is reported here: ‘They spent 45 minutes talking alone. Pope Francis gave Pope Benedict an icon of Our Lady of Humility, saying that when he received it, he immediately thought of giving it to Pope Benedict.'”

Hilarion wrote back: “Very pleased and touched.”

 

Now, what does all this mean?

 

Well, it means that at the moment Pope Francis and Pope Benedict first met, at the first meeting ever of the “two Popes” of the Roman Catholic Church, there was a “Russian connection” and an “Orthodox connection” which was present, which was between them, joining them: an image of the Virgin Mary, the Madonna of Humility, brought from Russia and given to Pope Francis in Rome on March 20, an image which immediately struck Pope Francis when he received it as reminding him of Benedict, an image which he decided to bring with him today, to give to Emeritus Pope Benedict, on the occasion of the unprecedented, historic occasion, of their first meeting.

 

Others may find further elements in this bit of news to reflect upon. To me, it suggests that Mary, Mother of the Church, is watching over the Church, in these difficult and dangerous times, and acting as a mother even to these two men, Benedict and Francis, bringing them together.

 

I sense in this a mysterious design, yes, a mystical design, something transcending our ordinary understanding of cause and effect, a design, as I see it, for Christians, for the Christian Church, to return to greater communion, greater unity, East and West, Greek and Latin, Orthodox and Catholic — with one of the great “hinge points” being… Russia.


The Madonna of Humility… it is precisely humility that brings these two Popes together. One very simple and humble, the other very simple and humble. One dedicated to a life of thought, to theology, the other dedicated to a life of action, to pastoral care of the poor.

 

And the way to proceed forward toward greater Christian unity is this same way, the way of Mary, the way of humility.

 

In the homily at the Mass on March 19 for his installation, Pope Francis concluded with these words, asking specifically for Mary’s intercession:

 

To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

“I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen.”

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Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw love out.” –St. John of the Cross

 

 

 

Francis’s schedule for the next few days

 

Pope Francis will celebrate Mass tomorrow in St. Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday.

 

He will then enter into Holy Week, with a full schedule of liturgical celebrations.

 

 


 

 


 

March 23, 2013, Saturday — Two Popes — First Photos


“Very beautiful” embrace between Pope Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo in the Vatican Gardens upon Pope Francis’ arrival.–Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., today. Lombardi took the helicopter with Pope Francis from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo

 

 

(The first embrace of Pope Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict, shortly after noon today in the Vatican Gardens at Castel Gandolfo, about 20 miles outside of Rome. Pope Francis had just arrived by helicopter from the Vatican. Emeritus Pope Benedict, wearing a light jacket against the cold, came out of the Palace to greet him upon his arrival)

 

 

(The two men, before their private conversation, pray side by side in the chapel inside the Palace at Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of the Popes, and, since February 28, the date he stepped down from the papacy, the residence of Emeritus Pope Benedict)

 

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(Correction: In the previous email, the dateline was given as yesterday, March 22. That was a mistake; it should have read, as this email does, March 23, 2013.)

 

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Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw love out.” –St. John of the Cross

 

 

 

Francis’s schedule for the next few days

 

Pope Francis will celebrate Mass tomorrow in St. Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday.

 

He will then enter into Holy Week, with a full schedule of liturgical celebrations.

 

 

 


 

 


 

March 22, 2013, Friday — Francis Meets Benedict


“Very beautiful” embrace between Pope Francis and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo in the Vatican Gardens upon Pope Francis’ arrival.–Father Federico Lombardi, S.J.

 

 

 

Padre Lombardi: “An historic meeting”


Lombardi: Castel Gandolfo meeting a moment of profound communion

The following is a Vatican Radio report on the meeting still taking place between the new Pope, Francis, and the former Pope, Benedict XVI.

 

One note: it had been expected that Pope Francis would meet Emeritus Pope Benedict in the Palace itself, but instead Benedict came out of the palace to the Gardens, to the helicopter landing pad about a mile from the Palace, to meet Francis there.

 

Also note: the two men met alone for 45 minutes, before having lunch. During that meeting, they were completely alone. They are now with their secretaries at lunch, so no longer in complete privacy. Their time of complete privacy was the 45-minute meeting alone, from 12:30 pm to 1:15 pm.

 

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(Vatican Radio) Speaking exclusively to Vatican Radio, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., reveals the details of this morning’s historic encounter between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, an encounter he has described as a moment of profound and elevated communion:

“The helicopter landed in Castel Gandolfo heliport, at about 12:15 and the car with the retired Pope approached the helicopter landing site.

 

“The Holy Father alighted: he was accompanied by the Substitute [Secretary of State] Msgr. Becciu, by Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza and Msgr. Alfred Xuereb.

 

“As the Pope alighted, the Pope Emeritus approached him and there was a moving embrace between the two.

“Then, there followed brief greetings with those other present — the bishop of Albano and the Director of the Pontifical Villas, Mr. Petrillo – they all got in the car: Pope Francis on the right, then place reserved to the Pope, and the Pope emeritus on the left. Msgr. Georg Gänswein, who is Prefect of the Papal Household, travelled in the same car. And so, the car brought the two protagonists of this historic meeting to the elevators and they went up to the apartments and immediately went to the chapel for a moment of prayer.

“In the chapel, the Pope emeritus offered the place of honor to Pope Francis, but he said: “We are brothers,” and wanted them to kneel together in the same pew.

 

“After a short moment of prayer, they then went to the private library where, at about 12:30, the private meeting began. This is the Library where the Pope normally receives important guests in Castel Gandolfo.

 

“Pope Francis brought a beautiful icon as a gift for the Pope emeritus. It was an icon of Our Lady of Humility, as a gift for Benedict XVI’s great humility. Their discussions ended at 13.15, lasting about 45 minutes.

 

“It should be noted, with regard to the clothing, which actually — as we mentioned earlier — the Pope emeritus wears a simple cassock white, without a sash and without a mantella: these are the two details which distinguish his clothing from that of Pope Francis who wears a mantella and sash.

“The two Secretaries, and Msgr. Georg and Msgr. Xuereb, are expected to eat lunch with them. Thus the totally private and confidential meeting ended with the discussions in the Library.

 

“The Pope Emeritus will also accompany Pope Francis to the heliport, when the time comes for his return.

 

“Let us remember that this is not their first meeting: it is their first face-to-face meeting, but Pope Francis had many times already addressed his thoughts to the Pope emeritus, during his first appearance on the central Loggia, and then two personal calls: the night of his election and St. Joseph’s Day.

“Thus, the dialogue had already started, even though the the personal, physical meeting had not yet taken place.

 

“Let us also remember that the retired Pope had already expressed his unconditional reverence and obedience to his successor at his farewell meeting with the Cardinals, February 28, and certainly in this [today’s] meeting — which was a moment of profound and elevated communion — will have had the opportunity to renew this act of reverence and obedience to his successor, and certainly Pope Francis renewed his gratitude and that of the whole Church for Pope Benedict’s ministry during his pontificate.”

Fr. Lombardi excluded the possibility of Pope Francis and Benedict XVI appearing at the balconey together to greet the public.

Link: http://it.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/03/23/abbraccio_bellissimo_tra_papa_francesco_e_benedetto_xvi._padr/it1-676191

 

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Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw love out.” –St. John of the Cross

 

 

 

Francis’s schedule for the next few days

 

Pope Francis will celebrate Mass tomorrow in St. Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday.

 

He will then enter into Holy Week, with a full schedule of liturgical celebrations.

 

 


Pope Francis speaking today, March 22, 2013 to the Vatican diplomatic corps, representing 160 nations with whom the Holy See has diplomatic relations, in the Sala Regia in the Vatican

March 22, 2013 By

Holding to Benedict “But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, the dear and venerated Benedict XVI, called the ‘tyranny of relativism’…”

Read more here: http://themoynihanletters.com/from-the-desk-of/1902


 

March 21, 2013, Thursday — To Prison

 

Pope Francis has done it again.

 

Breaking once again with papal protocol, he has decided not to celebrate the Mass of the Supper of the Lord in the Basilica of St. John Lateran on Holy Thursday, which falls this year on March 28 — a week from today.

 

Instead, Pope Francis will to go to a prison chapel and there wash feet of 12 young prisoners on the afternoon of Holy Thursday.
In a decision evidently taken just a few hours ago — this afternoon the Vatican web site still contained a notice that the Mass would be held in St. Peter’s Basilica (because Pope Francis has not yet officially taken possession of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, where the Holy Thursday Mass is usually celebrated, with the washing of the feet of 12 priests by the Pope, since the Mass commemorates the Last Supper and the institution of the priesthood) — Pope Francis will go to the Casal del Marmo penal institute for afternoon Mass on the day before Good Friday.

 

Here is a link to the Vatican website which now shows the Mass occurring in the prison (see under March 28):
http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/calendar/ns_liturgy_calendar_it.html

Read more here: http://themoynihanletters.com/from-the-desk-of/letter-55-to-prison

 

The Yellow Bracelet for Lent

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier  gives the gift to the Pope), .

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, the Archbishop of Durban in South Africa, gives the gift of a yellow bracelet to the Pope Francis


 

 

March 20, 2013, Wednesday — “My Brother Andrew”

 

The key thing that Pope Francis did today was to greet Patriarch Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, based in Constantinople, as “my brother Andrew.”

 

Now, Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, the first Bishop of Rome. They were fishermen together on the Sea of Galilee, 2,000 years ago.

 

So Pope Francis, the successor of Peter, in 2013, is expressing the sense of friendship he feels toward the Orthodox, a friendship which reaches the level of fraternal feelings: the two men, Francis and Bartholomew, are as the brothers Peter and Andrew.

 

The patriarchs of Constantinople are considered the successors of the Apostle Andrew, and the Popes of Rome are considered the successors of the Apostle Peter

Bartholomew’s’ decision to travel to Rome for Pope Francis’ installation “is an extraordinary event in the history of Christianity, and it is significant for reasons far beyond its novelty,” writes George E. Demacopoulos, PhD, of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University, on website of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle.

 

“The occasion is being presented in the media as something that has not happened since the ecclesiastical schism that separated Christian East and Christian West in the eleventh century,” Demacopoulos wrote. “But that characterization is almost certainly wrong — this is quite likely the first time in history that a Bishop of Constantinople will attend the installation of a Bishop of Rome. And this is a profoundly bold step in ecumenical relations between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics, one that could have lasting significance.

 

“First and foremost it is a powerful symbolic gesture for the cause of Christian unity,” he continued. “It demonstrates in unprecedented fashion the extent to which the Ecumenical Patriarch considers the relationship with the Roman Catholic Church to be a priority. For their part, members of the Vatican staff have responded to this grand gesture and have arranged for the reading of the Gospel at the installation to be sung in Greek (rather than Latin) in recognition of the fact that the Ecumenical Patriarch has taken this unprecedented step.

“The Christian world has been divided for so long that the establishment of an authentic reunion will require courage, leadership, and humility,” he concluded. “It will also require a foundation in common faith and concerns. Given Pope Francis’ well-documented work for social justice and his insistence that globalization is detrimental to the poor, it would appear as though the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic traditions have a renewed opportunity to work collectively on issues of mutual concern. With our Lord’s assistance, that common cause can be transformed into more substantive theological work. But such work requires a first step and it would appear as though Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is willing to take such a step.”

 

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Note on the Urbi et Orbi Foundation at the Service of Pope Francis

 

I note in passing that, together with about 30 other Catholics, along with a number of Protestants and Orthodox, we recently launched the “Urbi et Orbi Foundation,” based in the United States, to work for greater unity between Catholics and Orthodox. We have been seeking 100 “Founding Members,” each of whom donates $2,500, to launch our Foundation. Some of you reading this have already become members. We will be working closely with the new Pope, Francis, through the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to support Francis’s efforts to build bridges of trust between the East and the West. We will support a number of initiatives, from direct charity (improved medical care for abandoned children) to theological and cultural initiatives (lectures and concerts). If you wish further information about this Foundation, simply reply to this email and I will email back with full details. I encourage you to consider joining with us in this work. —Robert Moynihan)

 

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So Pope Francis met today, the second day of his pontificate, with “fraternal delegates” who ranged from representatives of other Christian Churches and denominations, to representatives of Jewish, Muslim, and other non-Christian communities.

 

Once again, as he has so often in these days, he asked for those present to pray for him.

 

One might almost say that today was the day of “Brother Francis” (“Fra Francesco“) as much as it was of “Pope Francis.”

 

The Encyclical on Faith

 

Pope Francis also made reference in his remarks to these “fraternal delegates” to “The Year of Faith” which was called by Pope Benedict XVI last fall, and which will finish in November, on the Feast of Christ the King.

 

One of the great questions of the new papacy right now is what Pope Francis will decide to do about the encyclical on “faith” which Pope Benedict had been preparing for this “Year of Faith,” and had evidently nearly finished. The text is said to contain many very beautiful passages. Will Pope Francis make this encyclical his own? Could he even consider publishing it under both his name and the name of his predecessor? Or will he not publish it at all? We do not know.

 

Phone Call to Benedict

 

Also, yesterday afternoon, the Vatican confirmed, Pope Francis made a phone call to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to express his good wishes on the Pope Emeritus’ saint’s day — the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19). Francis conveyed to Emeritus Pope Benedict his, and the Church’s, gratitude for the Pope emeritus’ service. It was a long and cordial phone call.

 

Benedict has attentively followed the events of recent days, including watching the events on television, in particular the Mass of inauguration of the new pontiff’s Petrine ministry yesterday, and Benedict assured his successor of his continued closeness in prayer.

 

The two will meet in Castel Gandolfo on Saturday, March 23.

 

A Second Dossier for Francis to Read?

 

Interestingly, it was reported today in Avvenire, the daily paper of the Italian bishops’ conference, that, in addition to the 300-page secret dossier on the “Vatileaks” affair that Emeritus Pope Benedict has left to Pope Francis, there is also another text by Benedict himself which Benedict has “left on his desk” for the new Pope to read.

 

The news comes from a normally reliable source — Archbishop Loris Capovilla, who was the personal secretary of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963). However, Capovilla is now 98 years old, so it is possible that he may have confused the Vatileaks dossier with this other text, although Capovilla says quite directly that “it is not the Vatileaks dossier.”

 

Here is the text from this morning’s Avvenire in a interview of Capovilla by Marco Roncalli. Capovilla says: “In ogni caso – e non stiamo parlando dei dossier Vatileaks – Benedetto XVI ha lasciato sulla scrivania del suo successore qualcosa come trecento pagine scritte personalmente da lui, così mi è stato detto da Roma.” (“In any case — and I am not talking about the Vatileaks dossier — Benedict XVI has left on the desk of his successor something like 300 pages written personally by him, so I have been told by Rome.”)

 

Roncalli ends his interview by wondering whether Pope Francis is already reading this long text left, it appears, by Pope Benedict.

 

Private Audiences

 

Also today, just prior to the larger meeting, Pope Francis received in separate, smaller audiences:

— Her Excellency Dilma Vana Rousseff, president of Brazil, with an entourage,

— His Holiness Bartholomew I, Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople,

— Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, and

Claudio Epelman, executive director of the Latin American Jewish Congress.

 

In Argentina, Pope Francis Hosted Russian Orthodox Icons
Regarding the meeting with Metropolitan Hilarion: On March 18, Monday, a delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate headed by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), arrived in Rome to attend the enthronement of Pope Francis. Hilarion and Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Administrative Secretariat, were met at the airport by the Rev. Milan Žust, S.J., of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and hieromonk Antoniy (Sevryuk), rector of the Church of St. Catherine in Rome and secretary of the administration of the Moscow Patriarchate’s parishes in Italy.
Members of the delegation were accommodated at the Domus Santa Marta, where the new Pope is residing. A short meeting with Pope Francis took place at the refectory. The Pope warmly greeted Metropolitan Hilarion who introduced members of the delegation and conveyed cordial best wishes to Pope Francis from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

 

The Pope said that he had offered special prayers for Patriarch Kirill at the divine service as it is a commemoration day of St. Cyril of Jerusalem according to the Julian calendar.

 

Pope Francis also thanked Metropolitan Hilarion for the exhibition of Russian icons held in Buenos Aires last autumn with the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity Foundation’s assistance. The future Pope visited the exhibition and has warm recollections of it.

 

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Francis: “I also ask of you the kindness of a special prayer for myself, so that I might be a Pastor in harmony with Christ’s heart.”

 

 

Here is a more detailed report on the noon meeting with the “fraternal delegates” from the Vatican Information Service (VIS):
POPE FRANCIS: “YOUR PRESENCE IS A TANGIBLE SIGN OF COOPERATION FOR COMMON GOOD OF HUMANITY”
Vatican City, 20 March 2013 (VIS) – Early this afternoon in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received fraternal delegates, that is, representative envoys of Churches, Ecclesial Communities, and international ecumenical organizations, as well as representatives of non-Christian Religions, who have come to Rome for the inauguration of his ministry as Bishop of Rome and successor of the Apostle Peter.

On behalf of those present, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, greeted the Pope, recalling the “elevated, serious, and difficult task” that his ministry bears with it. He also reiterated the need for the Churches to shun worldly distractions and to work on the unity between Christians.

Francis, who listened to the words of the Patriarch seated on an armchair rather than the throne that is customarily used in the Clementine Hall, thanked Bartholomew I, calling him “my brother Andrew,” since the patriarchs of Constantinople are considered the successors of the Apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter.

 

He then said that, thanks to the presence at yesterday’s Mass of representatives of the various communities, he felt “in an even stronger way, the prayer for unity among the believers in Christ and [glimpsed] prefigured in some way, its full realization, which depends on God’s plan and our sincere cooperation.”

“I begin my apostolic ministry,” he continued, “in this year that my venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, with a truly inspired intuition, proclaimed the Year of Faith for the Catholic Church. With this initiative, which I wish to continue and which I hope serves as a stimulus for each of us in our journey of faith, he wanted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, proposing a type of pilgrimage to what is essential for every Christian: a personal and transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died and rose again for our salvation. The heart of the Council’s message lies precisely in the desire to proclaim this ever-valid treasure of the faith to the persons of our time.”

Francis then recalled the image and words of Pope John XXIII at the opening of the Council: “The Catholic Church considers it her duty to actively work so as to bring about the great mystery of that unity for which Jesus Christ prayed so ardently to His Father in heaven on the eve of his sacrifice.”

 

He continued saying: “Yes, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we all feel intimately joined in our Saviour’s prayer at the Last Supper, to his call: ‘ut unum sint‘. Let us call on our merciful Father that we may fully live that faith that we received as a gift on the day of our Baptism and to be able to witness to it freely, joyfully, and courageously. This will be the best way we can serve the cause of unity among Christians, a service of hope for a world that is still marked by divisions, differences, and rivalries.”

“For my part, I wish to assure you, following in the path of my predecessors, of my firm will to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue … I ask you to take my cordial greetings and assurance of my remembrance in the Lord Jesus to the Churches and Christian Communities that you represent here. I also ask of you the kindness of a special prayer for myself, so that I might be a Pastor in harmony with Christ’s heart.”

Then, addressing the representatives of the Jewish communities, he emphasized “the very special spiritual bond” that they have with Christians.

 

Quoting the Vatican II declaration Nostra Aetate (1965), he said: “’The Church of Christ acknowledges that … the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets.’ … I am confident that, with the help of the Almighty, we can profitably continue that fraternal dialogue that the Council hoped for and that has been carried out, bearing not few fruits, especially over the last few decades.”

The Pope then greeted those belonging to other religious traditions, first of all the Muslims who “adore the one, living, and merciful God and who call upon Him in prayer.”

 

Then, addressing all those gathered, he said: “I really appreciate your presence. In it I see a tangible sign of the desire to grow in mutual respect and cooperation for the common good of humanity.”

“The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions. I want to repeat this: the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions.”…

 

The Church “is also aware of the responsibility that we all bear to this our world, to all of creation, which we should love and protect. And we can do much for the good of the poorest, of the weak and suffering, to promote justice and reconciliation, to build peace. But, above all, we must keep alive the thirst for the Absolute in the world, not allowing a one-dimensional vision of the human person, in which humanity is reduced to that which it produces and consumes, to prevail. This is one of the most dangerous pitfalls of our times.”

“We know how, in recent times, violence has produced an attempt to eliminate God and the divine from the horizon of humanity, and we feel the value of witnessing in our societies to the original openness to the transcendent that is inscribed in the human heart. In this, we also feel close to all men and women who, although not claiming to belong to any religious tradition, still feel themselves to be in search of truth, goodness, and beauty, God’s Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, and who are our precious allies in the effort to defend human dignity, in building a peaceful coexistence between peoples, and in carefully protecting creation.”

 

(end VIS report)

 

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Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw love out.” –St. John of the Cross

 

 

 

Francis’s schedule for the next few days

 

On Saturday, 23 March, he will go to Castel Gandolfo to meet with Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and have lunch with him.