The Holy Father´s Week: November 9, 2009

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

The communion of saints is beautiful and consoling. The Pope said before praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square. “It is a reality that infuses a different dimension to our whole life.”
“We are never alone! We form part of a spiritual "company" in which profound solidarity reigns: the good of each one is for the benefit of all and, vice versa, the common happiness is radiated in each one.”
“This Sunday coincides with the solemnity of All Saints, which invites the pilgrim Church on earth to anticipate the endless celebration of the heavenly community, and to revive the hope in eternal life.” He said.
Recalling that the Church is observing the Year for Priests, the Holy Father praised "all holy priests, both those whom the Church has canonized, proposing them as examples of spiritual and pastoral virtues, as well as those -- much more numerous -- whom the Lord knows."
The Holy Father noted that “tomorrow we will observe the annual commemoration of all the deceased faithful.” And he said that the best way to honor and feel truly connected with the faithful departed is to pray for them, offering acts of faith, hope and charity. 
 “In union with the Eucharistic sacrifice, we can intercede for their eternal salvation, and experience the most profound communion while waiting to be reunited again, to enjoy forever the love that created us and redeemed us” VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2009

Continuing his catechesis on 12th century monastic and scholastic theology, or "theology of the heart" and "theology of reason" during the general audience held in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI affirmed that
 “A wide debate, at times fiery, took place between the representatives of each current, represented symbolically by the controversy between St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Abelard.”
“Theology is the search for a rational understanding, insofar as possible, of the mystery of Christian revelation, believed by faith: fides quaerens intellectum -- faith seeking understanding.”
“The respective approaches of Bernard and Abelard -- one a "theology of the heart" and the other a "theology of reason" -- were not without tension.” But, the Pontiff affirmed, there is a lesson in their experience that should be learned today.
"Above all," he said, "I believe [the confrontation] shows the usefulness of and the need for a healthy discussion in the Church, especially when the questions debated have not been defined by the magisterium."
The Magisterium is an "essential point of reference," Benedict XVI clarified, as both Bernard and Abelard showed. Though the latter received ecclesiastical condemnation, he "always recognized, without doubting," its authority.  “Everyone, and in a particular way the Magisterium, has a responsibility to safeguard the integrity of the faith.”
The Holy Father recalled that the theological confrontation between Bernard and Abelard ended with full reconciliation between them, thanks to the mediation of a common friend, Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny.  “There prevailed in both what should truly be in the heart when a theological controversy is born, that is, to safeguard the faith of the Church and to make truth triumph in charity.”   VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2009
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The evangelical figure of the widow recalls the Church “poor and free”. The Holy Father explained when he celebrated Mass in the Piazza Paul VI, in his one-day trip to Paul VI's birthplace.
 “The widow of the Gospel, like the widow in the Old Testament [cf. 1 Kings 17:10-17], gives everything, she gives herself, and she puts herself in the hands of God for others”
 Benedict XVI used this "evangelical icon" to meditate on the “mystery of the Church, the Temple of the living God, and in this way pay homage to the memory of the great Pope Paul VI, who dedicated his whole life to the Church.” The Pontiff cited some thoughts from his predecessor's "A Thought About Death" where he speaks with loving words of the Church: ‘And to the Church, to whom I owe everything and who was mine, what will I say? May God’s blessings be upon you; be conscious of your nature and your mission; have a sense of the true and deep needs of humanity; and journey in poverty, that is free, strong and loving toward Christ poor.’”
Benedict XVI also recalled Pope Paul VI´s first  encyclical, "Ecclesiam Suam." Where he proposed to explain the importance of the Church for the salvation of humanity.  BRESCIA, Italy, NOV. 8, 2009

Other papal messages and activities.

On the 10 th anniversary of Justification Document, Benedict XVI said he hopes the event will aid progress on the path toward full and visible Christian unity. The agreement was signed Oct. 31, 1999, by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation. Methodists joined the agreement in 2006.
The joint declaration, while it does not clarify every point of discord between Catholic and Protestant understandings, expresses a joint confession: "By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works." VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2009

Christian culture is  “the guarantee of a truly promising future in as much as it protects man from the temptations that always threaten to make him forget his own grandeur, as well as the unity of the human race and the demands of the solidarity that it implies."
 The Pope said upon receiving in audience the new ambassador of Bulgaria to the Holy See, Nikola Ivanov Kaludov. The Holy Father recommended taking into account the spiritual dimension of man and of ethics: "If the development of man and of society is to be authentic”. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2009

The Holy Father prayed for past popes and all the deceased on the celebration of All Soul’s day, as he made a visit to the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2009

A Nigerian woman recently freed from the slavery of prostitution was greeted by the Pope at today's general audience in St. Peter's Square. She was freed thanks to the endeavors of the Community of Pope John XXIII and was at the Vatican with some 3,000 members of the community, commemorating the second anniversary of the death of its founder, Italian Father Oreste Benzi. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2009
On the Net: Community of Pope John XXIII:

The Pope made reference to the saint celebrated by the Church today, St. Charles Borromeo, and encouraged young people to follow his example and allow Christ to influence the decisions they make on a daily basis.  VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2009

The Pope celebrated Mass for the prelates who have died over the past year. He remembered in particular Cardinals Avery Dulles, Pio Laghi, Stéphanos II Ghattas, Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, Paul Pham Dinh Tung, Umberto Betti and Jean Margéot. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 5, 2009

Kazakhstan Leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, visited Benedict XVI. A communiqué from the Vatican press office reported that "attention turned to questions concerning the economic crisis in the light of the encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate,' to interreligious dialogue and to the promotion of peace, on the eve of Kazakhstan's presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe”.
The leaders also expressed their mutual satisfaction at good relations between the Central Asian nation and the Holy See. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 6, 2009

The Holy Father will bless the Headquarters for “Catholic Nobel”. He will be in Brescia where late Pope Paul Vi was born. While there, Benedict will inaugurate the headquarters for the Paul VI Institute. Among the institute´s objectives is the establishment of a documentary archive, the publication of a newsletter and of a series of books, the organization of colloquiums and the awarding of an international prize.
John Paul II called this award -- the Paul VI Prize -- the Catholic Nobel. It is given every five years to personalities and institutions active in the field of religiously inspired culture. During Benedict XVI's visit, he will give this year's award. BRESCIA, Italy, NOV. 6, 2009

Benedict XVI will meet with some 170 artists -- from the realms of literature, music, architecture and visual arts -- in the Sistine Chapel on Nov. 21. Among the artists who will attend the meeting are Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt, Mexican painter Gustavo Aceves and the master of Russian figurative art Aleksandr Zvyagin. Also attending will be British architect David Chipperfield, and Swiss architect Mario Botta. Representatives of literature include novelist Susana Tamaro and Italian literary critic and journalist Lorenzo Mondo. VATICAN CITY, NOV. 6, 2009

The Holy Father named auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Father Vincent Nguyen and Father William McGrattan were appointed.TORONTO, Ontario, NOV. 6, 2009

Benedict XVI spoke about Paul VI´s Marian devotion. The Pontiff made a one-day trip to Paul VI's birthplace today. He celebrated Mass and afterwards prayed the midday Angelus. With a brief discourse, the Pope highlighted a particular contribution Paul VI made to marian devotion.
Giovanni Montini placed his priesthood under the protection of the Mother of Jesus, and this connection accompanied him his whole life, Benedict XVI affirmed.
At the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council in 1964, the Constitution on the Church, 'Lumen Gentium,' was promulgated. The document had, as Paul VI noted, 'an entire chapter dedicated to the Madonna as its apex and crown.'
It was in this context that Paul VI proclaimed Mary Most Holy Mother of the Church, Benedict XVI recalled, "underscoring with lively ecumenical sensitivity that 'devotion to Mary … is a means essentially ordained to orient souls to Christ and thus join them to the Father, in the love of the Holy Spirit.'" BRESCIA, Italy, NOV. 8, 2009

A complete harmony between the cultural and religious dimensions of education is needed so that young people are truly prepared to meet modernity, Benedict XVI affirmed.
“We live in times in which a real ‘educational crisis’ is evident,” he said, observing that "it is necessary to transmit to future generations something valid, solid rules for comportment, to indicate lofty objectives toward which one should decisively order one’s life."
When he inaugurated the new premises of the Paul VI Institute, Benedict XVI noted how Paul VI understood the importance of witness in education. He particularly highlighted his predecessor´s emphasis on an education that unites culture and faith: "for Montini what was essential was the complete harmony and integration between the cultural and religious dimension in formation, with a particular emphasis on knowledge of Christian doctrine and the practical implications for life.” BRESCIA, Italy, NOV. 8, 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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