The Holy Father's Week: February 09, 2009

A report on Benedict XVI's messages and activities
by Maribel de Torres | Source: Zenit.org

Paul's Letters to Early Bishops. In his general audience, reflecting on the Pauline letters to Timothy and to Titus, the Pope affirmed that “Scripture is sometimes read as an object of historical curiosity and not as the Word of the Holy Spirit, in which we can hear the very voice of the Lord and recognize his presence in history”
In this regard the Pontiff explained that "Scripture is read correctly by putting oneself in dialogue with the Holy Spirit, to take from it light 'for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness.'" He also explained that "The apostolic proclamation, that is, Tradition, is necessary to introduce oneself in the understanding of Scripture and capture in it the voice of Christ."
Another typical component of these letters, he explained, is a reflection on the ministerial structure of the Church. It is these [letters] that present for the first time the triple subdivision of bishops, presbyters and deacons (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 4:13; 2 Timothy 1:6; Titus 1:5-9). . They present the Church in very human terms as God’s household, a family in which the Bishop acts with the authority of a father.
The Pontiff invited to pray to God and to ask Saint Paul to help all Christians to live as members of God’s family, and their Pastors to be strong and loving fathers, committed to building up their flocks in faith and unity. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2009
The “call to unity” is an “explicit” duty of the pastor affirmed the Holy Father. Precisely in fulfilling this service to unity he decided to concede the remission of the excommunication incurred by four bishops ordained without pontifical mandate in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre.
He called this an act of paternal mercy “because repeatedly these prelates have manifested their sharp suffering in the situation in which they found themselves." The Pope added. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2009

Benedict XVI acknowledged the horror of the Holocaust, and especially the death camps such as Auschwitz, which he said "carried out the brutal massacre of millions of Jews, innocent victims of a blind racial and religious hate." The Holy Father expressed solidarity with Jews in his response to the uproar caused by lifting the excommunication of a holocaust-denying bishop. The Pope expressed his "hope that the memory of the Shoah moves humanity to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the human heart," and that the Holocaust "be for everyone a warning against forgetting, against negating or reductionism, because violence committed against even one human being is violence against all."VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2009


Suffering Was Key to Christ's Mission. Reflecting on today's Gospel (Mark 1:21-28) before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI reflected on the "so-called 'Messianic secret.'"
 “Not only does Jesus chase demons out of people, freeing them from the worst slavery, but he prohibits the demons themselves from revealing his identity. And he insists on this “secret” because the fulfillment of his mission is at stake, on which our salvation depends.”
The Pope explained. “He knows in fact that to liberate humanity from the dominion of sin he must be sacrificed on the cross as the true paschal lamb. The devil, for his part, tries to divert his attention and direct it instead toward a human logic of a powerful and successful messiah.” 
“Jesus suffers and dies on the cross for love.” The Holy Father affirmed,” When we consider this, we see that it is in this way that he gave meaning to our suffering, a meaning that many men and women of every age understood and made their own, experiencing profound serenity even in the bitterness of difficult physical and moral trials." VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2009

Religion, and particularly Catholicism, can have a positive role in French society, Benedict XVI affirmed to the nation's new ambassador before the Holy See. The Holy Father noted that the Catholic presence in France is one of the living strengths of that country.
  Regarding the actual relationship between French authorities and the Church, the Holy Father highlighted that "the desire of the Church is to give testimony of Christ, placing itself at the service of all men," and he expressed his satisfaction for a recent agreement that will recognize degrees from pontifical universities and Catholic institutions. . VATICAN CITY, JAN. 26, 2009 

Benedict XVI praised the initiative of a Polish association to build an altar in the Holy Land that will be dedicated specifically to praying for peace. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2009
 
Congratulations to new Russian Patriarch. Benedict XVI publicly affirmed his joy at the news of the election of Kirill as patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia. "I invoke upon him the light of the Holy Spirit for a generous service to the Russian Orthodox Church, entrusting him to the special protection of the Mother of God." The Pope sent a telegram to the new patriarch to congratulate him. The message expressed the Pontiff's prayer that God will bless the new patriarch's efforts to "maintain communion among the Orthodox Churches" and "seek that fullness of communion which is the goal of Catholic-Orthodox collaboration and dialogue." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 28, 2009

“The world needs a visible sign of the mystery of unity that binds the three divine Persons and, that two thousand years ago, with the Incarnation of the Son of God, was revealed to us” Said Benedict XVI to members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.  He reminded them that “we all have a duty to work for the manifestation of that essential dimension of the Church to the world.” VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2009

Pope to Pray for Africa in February. General intention chosen by the Pope in February: "That the pastors of the Church may always be docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in their teaching and in their service to God's people."
The apostolic intention In February is "That the Church in Africa may find adequate ways and means to promote reconciliation, justice and peace efficaciously, according to the indications of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2009

Euthanasia is not a Solution. Ending a person's life is a "false" solution to the problem of suffering, and one unworthy of man, said Benedict XVI. The answer isn't putting a person out of their misery, however "kindly" they do it, "but to bear witness to the love that helps us to face pain and agony in a human way." “No tear, whether it be of those who suffer or those who stand by them, goes unnoticed before God.” VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2009

Benedict XVI prayed for many new vocations. He reminded that Monday is Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and the Day of Consecrated Life. He asked the faithful to pray for many new vocations to the consecrated life, which he said are "precious" gifts to the Church. VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2009

A prayer for the Holy Father
 
 
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.
 



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