The Holy Father´s Week: December 14, 2009

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

Mary helps us win over spirit pollution, the Holy Father said on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  “There is a toxicity just as dangerous as air pollution, he said, and it is the pollution of the spirit, which leads to gloominess and the tendency to see persons as mere bodies”.
He noted that through the mass media, evil is recounted, repeated and amplified, accustoming us to the most horrible things, making us become insensitive and, in some way, intoxicating us. “The heart hardens and thoughts become dark,” he said.
Mary teaches us not only to open ourselves to God's action, but also to look at others as he does -- from the heart. "To look at them with mercy, with love, with infinite tenderness, especially those who are most alone, most looked down upon, most exploited.'"
With her presence, Mary “speaks to us of God, reminds us of the victory of grace over sin”
"She is the Immaculate Mother who repeats also to the men of our time: Do not be afraid, Jesus has conquered evil; he has conquered it at the root, freeing us from its dominion," VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2009

It is an "immense joy" to have Mary Immaculate as Mother,the Pope said when he prayed the midday Angelus on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. "Every time we experience our frailty and the suggestion of evil, we can turn to her, and our heart receives light and comfort," he assured.
“The Church herself, even if exposed to the negative influences of the world, always finds in her the star to direct and follow the route indicated by Christ."
"As opposed to Adam and Eve, Mary remains obedient to the Lord's will, with her whole self she pronounces her 'yes' and places herself fully at the disposition of the divine plan. She is the new Eve, true 'mother of all the living' -- that is, of all those who by faith in Christ receive eternal life." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2009
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Following the See of Peter is the way to find sound doctrine, as well as serenity when there is conflict in the Church, Benedict XVI affirmed. He noted how this truth is taught by the example of Rupert of Deutz, a 12th-century Benedictine monk. The Holy Father considered the life and teaching of Rupert during today's general audience.
He recounted how the monk had firsthand experience of the conflict between the empire and the Church, as the two entities clashed over the right to appoint bishops. Rupert's abbot was exiled in the midst of the turmoil, and the young monk followed him, refusing to be ordained at the hands of a bishop who was opposed to the Pope.
 “Rupert teaches us that when controversies arise in the Church, reference to the Petrine ministry guarantees fidelity to sound doctrine and gives interior serenity and liberty.” The Pope said. 
Rupert was also embroiled in theological debates of the day, the Pope observed, he "forcefully defended the reality of Christ's real presence in the Eucharist," the Holy Father noted, offering in this regard another lesson appropriate for today.
The Pope said that also in our times, there is the danger of considering the Eucharist "almost as just a rite of communion, of socialization, forgetting too easily that the risen Christ is really present -- with his risen body -- which is placed in our hands to draw us out of ourselves, to be incorporated in his immortal body and thus lead us to new life”.
“This great mystery that the Lord is present in all his reality in the Eucharistic species is a mystery to be adored and loved always anew."
In other debates of his day, Rupert "insisted that the origin of evil is to be found in man's mistaken use of freedom, not in the positive will of God," the Pope continued.Finally, his teaching "on the dignity and privileges of the Virgin Mary, presented with a broad ecclesiological context, would prove influential for later theology and find an echo in the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council."
The Bishop of Rome noted the monk's "ability to harmonize the rational study of the mysteries of faith with prayer and contemplation,"
“His example," the Holy Father added, "inspires us to draw near to Christ, present among us in his Word and in the Eucharist, and to rejoice in the knowledge that he remains with us at every moment of our lives and throughout history." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2009

"The Crèche is a school of life" The Holy Father said before praying the Angelus in St. Peter’s square.  The secret of true joy does not consist in having a lot of things, “but in feeling loved by the Lord, in making oneself a gift for others, in loving.
The crèche teaches us that “To be joyful we do not just have need of things, but love and truth: We need a God who is near, who warms our heart, and responds to our profound desires. This God is manifested in Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary.”
“Let us pray that every person, like the Virgin Mary, may welcome into the center of their lives the God who became a Child, font of true joy”. The Holy Father asked.
Children brought little statues of Baby Jesus which he blessed as is the tradition on this Sunday. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2009

Other papal messages and activities

Help heal the wounds left by Marxist liberation theology, the Pope encouraged Brazilian bishops when he spoke with them on their five-yearly visit. As the Pope explained to the Brazilian bishops, "its more or less visible consequences, made up of rebellion, division, disagreement, offence and anarchy can still be felt, creating great suffering in your diocesan communities and a serious loss of living energies."  VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2009 

Benedict XVI recommends reading "A Civilization of Love," a book by the leader of the Knights of Columbus. A telegram sent in the Pontiff's name expressed the Holy Father's hope that Carl Anderson's book "will awaken renewed fidelity to Christ and a generous evangelical witness." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2009

New bishop for Brownsville,Texas. Benedict XVI named Auxiliary Bishop Ernest Flores of the Archdiocese of Detroit as the bishop of Brownsville. BROWNSVILLE, Texas, DEC. 9, 2009

The Pope received the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba.. The west central African country has a population of more than 1.5 million, of those 55%-75% are Christian.  VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2009

The Pope received the letters of credence of Cuba´s new ambassador to the Holy See, Eduardo Delgado Bermudez. Stressing the separation of Church and State, the Pontiff let it be understood that greater liberty in Christians' activity would redound to the benefit of the country. The Pope repeated the appeal that Pope John Paul II, launched in his historic trip to the Island: that Cuba open itself with all its magnificent possibilities to the world, and that the world open to Cuba. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2009

Benedict XVI awarded  the John Paul II Prize of the Auschwitz Institute for Human Rights to the French philosopher and author André Glucksmann. The award is given to those who have distinguished themselves in the promotion and defense of human rights in line with the teachings and witness of John Paul II. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 10, 2009

The Holy Father shares the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by many of the faithful in Ireland over the scandal of abuse by clergy. The Holy Father called the president of the Irish episcopal conference, and the Archbishop of Dublin to the Vatican to discuss the Murphy Commission Report, which details abuse cases in the Dublin Archdiocese from 1975 to 2004. A communiqué from the Vatican affirmed that "the Holy Father was deeply disturbed and distressed by its contents." And wishes once more “to express his profound regret at the actions of some members of the clergy who have betrayed their solemn promises to God, as well as the trust placed in them by the victims and their families, and by society at large,"
He "asks Catholics in Ireland and throughout the world to join him in praying for the victims, their families and all those affected by these heinous crimes." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 11, 2009

The Pope received Vietnam’s President, Nguyen Minh Triet, He became the first Pope to receive the leader of Communist Vietnam in an audience at the Vatican. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 11, 2009

When God disappears from man's horizon, humanity loses its direction and runs the risk of taking steps to its own destruction.” Benedict XVI affirmed on the occasion of the Congress "God Today: With or Without Him Everything Changes," which is taking place in Rome from December 10-12, the Pope expressed "profound appreciation for this important initiative, which addresses one of the great topics that has always fascinated and questioned the human spirit." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 11, 2009
"In the light of faith we can read in sickness and suffering a special experience of Advent," the Pope said, "a visit from God, who, in a mysterious way comes to bring liberation from solitude and meaninglessness and transform suffering in time into a meeting with him, into hope and salvation."
The Holy Father visited the Hospice Foundation of Rome, which provides free aid to people with terminal cancer, Alzheimer's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. “Your illness is a very painful and unique trial,” he said to the sick, “Christ is associating you with his cross because through you he wants to speak a word of love to those who have strayed from the road of life and, closed within their empty egoism, live in sin and separation from God” "In fact, your health conditions testify that the true life is not here, but with God, where every one of us will find joy if we humbly walk in the footsteps of the true man: Jesus of Nazareth, Master and Lord."ROME, DEC. 13, 2009

Benedict XVI met with the prime minister of Albania, Sali Berisha. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2009

Four missionaries were murdered in different cities in Africa this week. The priests were Father Daniel Cizimya, Father Louis Blondel and Father Jerry Roche, and Sister Denise Kahambu. In the public address given by the Pope today before he prayed the midday Angelus, he expresed his sorrow over their deaths and invited all "to join in my prayer that the Lord welcome them into his house, console those who weep for them and bring them reconciliation and peace with his coming." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2009

Benedict XVI greeted the 59 Legionaries of Christ who were ordained to the priesthood Saturday. The new Legionary priests originate from 11 countries: 29 from Mexico, 9 from the United States, 7 from Spain, 3 from Canada, 2 from Brazil, 2 from Germany, 2 from France, 2 from Italy, 1 from Venezuela, 1 from Vietnam and 1 from the Czech Republic.  VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 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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