The Holy Father´s Week: December 21, 2009

A report on Benedict XVI´s messages and activities.
by Maribel de Torres | Source: Zenit.org
There is an urgent need to communicate messages gifted with "wisdom," Benedict XVI said at the general audience as he spoke about an outstanding philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages, John of Salisbury. He was born in England and was a close associate of Saint Thomas Becket who died as a martyr during the crisis between the Church and the Crown under King Henry II.. Later, John was elected bishop of Chartres, and stayed there until his death.

John affirmed that eloquence that is not enlightened by faith is not only rash but also blind. And wisdom without words not only is weak, but in a certain way, is truncated.
“This is a very relevant teaching”, the Pope said “Today, what John defines as "eloquence," that is, the possibility of communicating with instruments ever more elaborate and widespread, has enormously increased. For all that, there is an even more urgent need to communicate messages gifted with "wisdom," that is, messages inspired in truth, goodness and beauty.”

John of Salisbury also reflected on the conditions that enable a political leader to act in a just and authorized manner. In his treatise “Policraticus" he says there exists an objective and immutable truth, whose origin is God, accessible to human reason. This truth regards practical and social actions. The Pope explained.

This is a natural law, from which human laws and political and religious authority should take inspiration, so that they can promote the common good. This natural law is characterized by a property that John calls "equity," that is, the attribution to each person of his rights. From here descend precepts that are legitimate for all peoples and which in no case can be abrogated.
John’s insights are most timely today, Benedict XVI noted, “in light of the threats to human life and dignity posed by legislation inspired more by the "dictatorship of relativism" than by the sober use of right reason and concern for the principles of truth and justice inscribed in the natural law.” VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2009

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-27863?l=english

Christmas is God´s answer to the drama of humanity in search of peace. The Holy Father said as he reflected on Christmas and the town of Bethlehem before praying the Angelus.
Today, as in the time of Jesus, Christmas is not a fairytale for children, but rather God´s answer to the drama of humanity in search of peace. He affirmed,  “Bethlehem does not represent an achieved and stable peace, but rather a peace that is laboriously sought and awaited.”
“He himself will be the peace!” the Prophet says, referring to the Messiah, we are expected to throw open the doors to welcome him”
“ Let us learn from Mary and Joseph” the Holy Father continued, “ Let us put ourselves at the service of God's plan with faith. Even if we do not fully understand it, let us entrust ourselves to his wisdom and goodness. Let us first seek the Kingdom of God and Providence will help us. Merry Christmas, everyone!” VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2009

Other papal messages and activities.

Benedict XVI received in audience the prime minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanoviæ. Peace and interreligious dialogue were two of the topics addressed by them. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 14, 2009

Benedict XVI will share a meal with the poor on Dec. 27, the feast of the Holy Family. He will dine at a soup kitchen run by the Community of Sant'Egidio. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 14, 2009

"If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation." says the Holy Father in his message for the Jan. 1 World Day of Peace. He affirmed that the threats arising from the neglect -- if not downright misuse -- of the earth and the natural goods that God has given us, impact human rights, "such as the right to life, food, health and development”. The Holy Father asserted that the protection and care of the environment is everyone's responsibility -- and one that "knows no boundaries."
However, he raised a word of caution about "absolutizing nature." by considering it more important than the human person, which leads to a "new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism," the Pope cautioned, "which would see the source of man's salvation in nature alone, understood in purely naturalistic terms." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2009

Benedict XVI made two changes in canon law. One clarifies the ministry of deacons, the other suppresses a subordinate clause concerning marriage for those who have formally renounced the Church, which experience has shown to be inappropriate. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2009

“Learn from St. John Maria Vianney love for Christ and generous service to the Church” Benedict XVI said as he greeted 59 newly ordained priests of the Legionaries of Christ “May the gift of yourselves always be complete, full and joyful, never forgetting the Lord's predilection for your lives.". VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2009

Benedict XVI cautioned about the deterioration of the environment. He said it "is a direct threat for the survival of man and for his proper development; and it can even directly threaten peace between people and populations." The Pope made this exhortation in an address to eight new ambassadors to the Holy See, from Denmark, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Finland and Latvia. The Pope recalled that "the good of man is not found in ever more reckless consumption nor in the limitless accumulation of things -- consumption and accumulation that are reserved to a small number and proposed as models for the masses."
Instead, Benedict XVI proposed, religions are a source of peace and he told the ambassadors that nations should encourage the person in his spiritual quest.
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2009

The Pope received an honorary citizenship of Introd -- a municipality nestled within the Alps where he vacationed this year and in 2006. He praised the Church of the region, saying it "doesn't tire of proclaiming the ever new 'news' of Jesus, the Word of God, who became man to offer people the joy of living, already here on earth, the exciting experience of being the beloved children of God." And he said that this task "seems especially urgent in a society that nourishes -- especially among new generations -- illusions and false hopes”. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2009

Benedict XVI lauds the contribution made by Cardinal Tomas Spidlik to theological dialogue between the East and West. The Pope celebrated a Mass for him today on the cardinal's 90th birthday.
The Czech cardinal, a Jesuit, is the founder of the Aletti Center. Benedict XVI stated that it seems to him "particularly beautiful to emphasize the link between theology and art that flows from [the cardinal's] thought." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2009 

The Pontiff accepts the resignation of Bishop D. Murray of Limerick, Ireland. An official report on clergy sex abuse accused him of failing to adequately deal with allegations brought to his attention as prelate. Both the bishop and the report itself have pointed to failures in the system of internal communication within the archdiocese. “I know full well that my resignation cannot undo the pain that survivors of abuse have suffered in the past and continue to suffer each day." Bishop Murray said as he reiterated his apologies. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2009

The Pope called for justice in Sudan and Uganda when he gave individual messages in writing to new ambassadors to the Holy See from those two nations and six others. He remarked that a mere absence of conflict does not constitute true peace. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2009
Full text of address to Ugandan ambassador: http://www.zenit.org/article-27884?l=english
Full text of address to Sudanese ambassador: http://www.zenit.org/article-27883?l=english
Full text of address to Kenyan ambassador: http://www.zenit.org/article-27882?l=english 

The Holy Father reflected on the symbolic significance of the Christmas tree when he addressed a delegation from Belgium, which provided the tree for St. Peter´s Saquare this year. 
"The Christmas tree-with its journey from a dark forest to the brilliance of decorative lights-represent every Christian, called to share the message that the light of the world has become man".  VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2009

Approach Christ without fear, Benedict XVI encouraged the youth of Italian Catholic Action. in a traditional Christmas meeting with a delegation of the youth organization. He urged them to imitate the biblical figure of Zacchaeus, "the man who meets the Lord and welcomes him with joy." "Jesus sees you and hears you even though you are little, even if the grown-ups do not take account of you as you would like." VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2009

John Paul II closer to canonization. Benedict XVI authorized the decrees that recognize the heroic virtue of Popes John Paul II and Pius XII, which pushes them both one step closer to canonization. He approved a total of 21 decrees Saturday, five of which are for miracles attributed to those who are beatified, and are now qualified for canonization.
Benedict XVI also approved decrees attesting to miracles attributed to Blessed Mary MacKillop, who will become Australia's first saint and Blessed André Bessette, the Holy Cross brother who founded St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, Canada. VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 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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