The novelty of God always gives new strength to go forward, the Pope affirmed at the general audience when he reflected on the mendicant orders founded in the Middle Ages by Sts. Francis and Dominic.
It is the saints, he affirmed, guided by the light of God, who are the genuine reformers of the life of the Church and of society. Teachers by their word and witnesses with their example, they know how to promote a stable and profound ecclesial renewal, because they themselves are profoundly renewed, they are in contact with the true novelty: the presence of God in the world.
"Such a consoling reality -- that in every generation saints are born and bear the creativity of renewal -- constantly accompanies the history of the Church in the midst of the sorrows and the negative aspects of her journey. We also see come forth, century by century, the forces of reform and of renewal, because the novelty of God is inexorable and always gives new strength to go forward."
In the thirteenth century Saints Francis and Dominic inspired a vast evangelical renewal. The Franciscans and the Dominicans adopted a lifestyle of evangelical poverty which was grounded in communion with the visible Church and a sound Christian understanding of the goodness of creation.
As zealous preachers, especially in urban environments, the Friars provided religious instruction and spiritual guidance to the lay faithful, many of whom became members of their "Third Orders."
Traveling freely from place to place, they also contributed to the overall renewal of Church life and the spiritual transformation of society. By their presence in the universities, the Friars worked for the evangelization of culture, affirming the harmony of faith and reason, and creating the great synthesis of scholastic theology.
The Pontiff concluded, "let us indeed invoke at the beginning of this year the Holy Spirit, eternal youth of the Church: May he make each one of us feel the urgency of giving a consistent and courageous witness of the Gospel, so that saints will never be lacking, who make the Church shine as a Bride always pure and beautiful, without stain and without wrinkle, able to attract the world irresistibly to Christ, to his salvation."
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 13, 2010
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-28044?l=english
The Pope spoke up on behalf of people living away from their homelands before praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square. Today marks the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. His message focused on young people who migrate or are displaced.
"Jesus Christ, who as a newborn lived through the dramatic experience of being a refugee because of Herod’s threats, taught his disciples to welcome children with great respect and love," he reflected.
"In particular, it is necessary to take every care that minors who live in a foreign country are protected by legislation and above all watched over in the countless problems that they must face.” VATICAN CITY, JAN. 17, 2010
Benedict XVI was warmly welcomed as he visited the Synagogue of Rome, the third synagogue he has visited as Pontiff. Before entering the synagogue, the Holy Father placed flowers before memorial tablets that record two of the darkest moments in the history of the Jewish Community of Rome: one commemorating the round-up and deportation of 1,022 Jews on Oct. 16, 1943; the other marking the Oct. 9, 1982, terrorist attack on the Tempio Maggiore, in which a two-year-old child was killed, and more than 40 others were injured.
There were more than 1.000 people in the synagogue, among whom were Jews, Christians and Muslims.
In his speech, the Holy Father recalled the horror of the Shoah and proposed a greater cooperation between Jews and Christians, united by the Ten Commandments and committed to witness to the one God and to reawaken the desire for transcendence in society.
The president of the Jewish Community of Rome recalled that his father, Emanuele Pacifici, escaped the Holocaust because he was hidden in the convent of the Sisters of St. Marta in Florence, and noted that thousands of Catholics helped Jews, emphasizing that they did so “without asking for anything in return.”
Pacifici concluded his speech stressing that dialogue between Jews and Christians “can and must continue.”
ROME, JAN. 17, 2010
The Pope will also visit the Jewish Museum of the Eternal City.
The Jewish Museum of Rome: http://www.ascer.net/public/Host/MuseoEbraicoRomaV2/?LevelID=2&Lang=EN
Other papal messages and activities
“The denial of God distorts the freedom of the human person, yet it also devastates creation.” Benedict XVI affirmed.
As he delivered his traditional New Year address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, he explained that efforts to protect the environment cannot be opposed to human life and safeguarding the dignity of the person.
"It is in man’s respect for himself that his sense of responsibility for creation is shown."
The Holy Father remarked that "man represents all that is most noble in the universe."
He repeated what he said during the FAO World Summit on Food Security, 'the world has enough food for all its inhabitants' provided that selfishness does not lead some to hoard the goods which are intended for all."
“I forcefully repeat that to cultivate peace, one must protect creation!” he exclaimed.
The Pope urged “the international community not to become resigned to the drug trade and the grave moral and social problems which it creates.” He also spoke about enormous resources which are being consumed in increased military spending and the cost of maintaining and developing nuclear arsenals, and expressed his hope that, during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to be held in New York, concrete decisions will be made with a view to freeing our planet from nuclear arms.
“There is so much suffering in our world, and human selfishness continues in many ways to harm creation.” He said.
“I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul, for whom "all creation groans and is in agony" and "we ourselves groan inwardly" (Rom 8:20-23).”
“May the light and strength of Jesus help us to respect human ecology, in the knowledge that natural ecology will likewise benefit, since the book of nature is one and indivisible. In this way we will be able to build peace, today and for the sake of generations to come. . VATICAN CITY, JAN. 11, 2010
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-28011?l=english
Benedict XVI expressed his condolences at the death of Cardinal Razafindratandra, who served as the archbishop of Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, from 1994 until his retirement in 2005. He was 84 years old. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 12, 2010
Benedict XVI met briefly today with the young woman who jumped a security barrier and made him fall to the floor. Susanna Maiolo, of Italian-Swiss citizenship and with a history of psychological disturbance was accompanied by two relatives at the general audience and, expressed her regret for what happened. "The Pope wished to express his forgiveness, as well as his cordial interest and good wishes for her health," a Vatican spokesman informed. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 13, 2010
Benedict XVI made an appeal for aid for victims of the earthquake that devastated Haiti. "I appeal to the generosity of all people so that these our brothers and sisters who are experiencing a moment of need and suffering may not lack our concrete solidarity and the effective support of the international community."
The Holy Father affirmed that the "Catholic Church will not fail to move immediately, through her charitable institutions, to meet the most immediate needs of the population." He invited "everyone to join my prayers to the Lord for the victims of this catastrophe and for those who mourn their loss."
This quake was the strongest in that region since 1770. Among those killed is the archbishop of the Port-au-Prince Archdiocese. PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, JAN. 13, 2010
The Pope spoke about bioethics when he addressed the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is under way in Rome. The Church is not opposed to medical research, but seeks to offer a moral framework that is understandable for anyone who exercises right reason, Benedict XVI reminded the Vatican congregation he formerly led. The Church's teaching on bioethical issues, he stressed, derives from the natural moral law, which is accessible to human reason, whether or not one is a believer. This law is "founded on human nature itself and accessible to every rational creature," and "it constitutes the basis to enter into dialogue with all men who seek the truth and, more generally, with civil and secular society." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 15, 2010
Benedict XVI received the civil authorities of Rome in audience to express his best wishes for the New Year. The Holy Father focused his address on the family and the education of young people. He also spoke about the need for urban planning that is "thought out for the person."
He praised the initiative of some parishes in new neighbourhoods that are helping young families who often have difficulties in combining work with family life.
These communities, "conscious that openness to life is at the center of true human development," have established "oratories of little ones," Benedict XVI noted, where children can spend the day while their parents are working.
In regard to sexual education, he stressed the need to teach a correct view of sexuality and invited his listeners "to understand that, in saying 'no,' the Church in fact says 'yes' to life, to love lived in the truth of the gift of self to the other, to love that is open to life and not closed in a narcissistic view of the couple." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 15, 2010
The Pope’s agenda for these next three months was published.
The fifth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death this year falls on Good Friday.
April 17-18, Benedict XVI will make an apostolic visit to Malta. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 15, 2010
After last Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti, the Holy Father affirmed that he is "following and encourage the numerous charitable organizations, who are taking charge of the immense necessities of the country. I pray for the injured, the homeless, and for those who tragically lost their lives."
Though rescue efforts continue and an accurate number of victims will be days in coming, it is estimated that between 50-000 and 100,000 people died. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 17, 2010
The Catholic Relief Centre has opened a special Web site for the relief effort and donations can be made by mobile phone. On the Net:
Catholic Relief Services: http://crs.org/
It is time to "revive the ecumenical spirit." The Pope urged. Pray unceasingly for the complete unity of Christians.The week of prayer for Christian Unity begins Monday Jan.18, he noted, and invited parishes, religious communities, ecclesial movements and associations to pray in a special way during Eucharistic Celebrations.
"Our proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus will be much more credible and effective the more that we are united in his love, as true brothers," the Pontiff affirmed. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 17, 2010
Jews and Christians can and should unite in defending God, life and the family, drawing from their common recognition of the Ten Commandments; Benedict XVI proposed today as he visited the Synagogue of Rome. "The 'Ten Commandments' require that we recognize the one Lord, against the temptation to construct other idols, to make golden calves," he said. And since "in our world there are many who do not know God or who consider him superfluous" and "other new gods have been fabricated to whom man bows down," Jews and Christians share a common mission, the Pope suggested.
Secondly, the Ten Commandments "call us to respect life and to protect it against every injustice and abuse, recognizing the worth of each human person," Benedict XVI noted. "[...] Bearing witness together to the supreme value of life against all selfishness, is an important contribution to a new world where justice and peace reign."
Finally, the Holy Father affirmed that the Decalogue calls to "preserve and to promote the sanctity of the family, in which the personal and reciprocal, faithful and definitive 'Yes' of man and woman makes room for the future, for the authentic humanity of each, and makes them open, at the same time, to the gift of new life."
He exhorted Jews and Christians to "witness that the family continues to be the essential cell of society and the basic environment in which human virtues are learned and practiced," saying this "is a precious service offered in the construction of a world with a more human face." ROME, JAN. 17, 2010
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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