Unity is a gift of God, the Holy Father said during the general audience, in the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. "Hence", he affirmed, “what is necessary, beyond our effort to carry out fraternal relations and to promote dialogue to clarify and resolve the differences that separate the Churches and ecclesial communities, is confident and concordant invocation of the Lord.”
“To the disciples who are "gathered" together and who have been witnesses of his mission, the Risen Lord promises the gift of the Holy Spirit so that together they will give witness of him to all peoples.”
The Pope explained that “We can be witnesses only if we know Christ first hand, and not only through others -- from our own life, from our personal encounter with Christ. Finding him really in our life of faith, we become witnesses and can contribute to the novelty of the world, to eternal life.”
He noted that Christians need to be united to proclaim this message of God-made-close.
However, he said, the path of ecumenism -- though under way for more than a century -- is not linear.
"Only God can give unity to the Church," he said. "A 'self-made' unity would be human, but we want the Church of God, made by God, who -- when he wishes and when we are prepared -- will create unity."
The Holy Father urged prayers: "so that Christians of our time can give a new common witness of fidelity to Christ before this world of ours."
With his customary greeting for young people, the ill and newlyweds, he exhorted them to make this week's prayer for Christian unity turn into an attitude for life. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2010
"The Church is understood as a body which forms with Christ, who is the head, one single whole." Benedict XVI said before praying the midday Angelus. He referred to the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians where he writes about the Body of Christ. The Apostle "wishes to communicate" the "unity in the multiplicity of charisms, which are the gifts of the Holy Spirit," the Holy Father noted.
"Thanks to these gifts the Church presents itself as a rich -- and not a uniform -- living organism, the fruit of the one Spirit who leads all into a profound unity, assuming the differences without abolishing them and realizing a harmonious ensemble."
Benedict XVI pointed out that "it is precisely in Christ and in the Spirit that the Church is one and holy, that is, an intimate communion that transcends and sustains human capacities."
He mentioned that the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity," concludes this Monday on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. The Holy Father will celebrate vespers in the afternoon in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, with the participation of representatives from the other Churches and ecclesial communities present in Rome. “We will ask God for the gift of the complete unity of all the disciples of Christ” he affirmed.
Finally, the Pope recalled the figure of St. Frances de Sales, whose feast day is celebrated January 24. “He dedicated himself to preaching and the spiritual formation of the faithful with great fruit, teaching that the call to holiness is for all and that everyone -- as St. Paul says with the example of the body -- has his place in the Church.”
St. Francis de Sales is the patron of journalists and the Catholic press. He noted. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 24, 2010
Full text: http://zenit.org/article-28140?l=english
Use media technologies to reach new audiences with the message of God's love, Benedict XVI encouraged Catholics, especially priests, in a message for the 44th World Communications Day, which will be celebrated May 16.
The Holy Father underlined the mission of priests, who "have as their primary duty the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, and the communication of his saving grace in the sacraments." and affirmed that in digital communications, "priests can discover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and for the Word of God." VATICAN CITY, JAN. 24, 2010
Message for World Communications Day: http://zenit.org/article-28139?l=english
Other papal messages and activities
The Church will not abandon the Haitian people and will do everything possible to contribute to the country's reconstruction after the Jan. 12 earthquake, the Holy Father affirmed.
He sent messages to the Haitian president, René Préval, and the president of the country's bishops' conference, Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haitien, where he expressed his sorrow for the quake victims and his nearness to the survivors.
He affirmed his appreciation for "everyone's dedication, Haitians and foreigners, who on occasion are putting their own lives at risk," to do "everything possible to find and tend to the survivors."
"In this moment of darkness," Benedict XVI stated, "I invoke Our Lady of Perpetual Help, that she would be a mother of tenderness and guide hearts so that solidarity will prevail over isolation and [the attitude of] 'every man for himself.'" VATICAN CITY, JAN. 24, 2010
Benedict XVI received a Catholic-Lutheran delegation from Finland. The visit marks the 25th anniversary of these annual trips to Rome for the feast day of their country's patron.
The path of ecumenism has been embraced "wholeheartedly" by the Catholic Church, the Holy Father said and he noted how these meetings have contributed significantly to strengthening the relations among the Christians in that country. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2010
New bishops. Benedict XVI named Monsignor William Michael Mulvey, as the bishop of the Corpus Christi Diocese. He will succeed Bishop Edmond Carmody, 76, who retired due to reasons of age.
He also appointed Bishop André-Mutien Léonard, 69, of Namur, Belgium, as archbishop of the Mechelen-Brussel Archdiocese. He will replace Cardinal Godfried Danneels, 76, who is retiring for reasons of age.
The Syro-Malabar Church also made various appointments, with the prior assent of Benedict XVI.
Monsignor Pauly Kannookadan, 48, was appointed as bishop of the Diocese of Irinjalakuda, India.
Monsignor Remigiose Inchananiyil, 48, was named bishop of the Thamarasserry Diocese.
Monsignor Raphel Thattil, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Trichur, India, was appointed auxiliary bishop of that same city.
The synod named Monsignor Bosco Puthur, rector of the seminary of Mangalapuzha, India, as bishop of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia.
The Catholic Church of India includes the Latin, Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankar rites. The Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankar Churches date back to the Apostle Thomas.
The Holy See gave the Synod of Syro-Malabar Bishops the capacity to select bishops and establish and suppress eparchies, or dioceses, in its territory.. JAN. 18, 2010
Benedict XVI blessed a statue of St. Rafaela María Porras y Ayllón (1850-1925), a Spanish saint and founder,canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1977. She founded the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart, an institute dedicated to education and the Eucharist. The statue was unveiled at the Vatican outside of St. Peter's Basilica. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2010
The Holy Father recalled his seminary days in Freising, as he was made an honorary citizen of this south German town.
The Pope explained how he felt free and happy when he was able to return to the seminary after the war, able to follow God's call and now a witness that Christ was stronger than Nazi ideology.
He mentioned the bond that unites him to this city that forms part of the archdiocese he headed from 1977 to 1982. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2010
The Pope and the author of “A Rabbi talks with Jesus” met. Their latest books were the topic of conversation for Benedict XVI and Rabbi Jacob Neusner. At the Vatican, the rabbi was accompanied by his wife, Suzanne. The conversation between the Bishop of Rome and Neusner, one of the major living experts on Judaism, lasted some 20 minutes.
The rabbi gave the Holy Father two gifts: a copy of the German edition of his 1993 book, which Ratzinger read in the English original, together with a recently published essay in Italy on the Talmud. ROME, JAN. 21, 2010
Benedict XVI blessed two lambs on the feast of St. Agnes. Their wool will be used to weave palliums which will be bestowed on new metropolitan archbishops on June 29, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2010
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone will continue to serve as Benedict XVI´s secretary of state, despite the fact that the Salesian turned 75 last month, thus making him eligible for retirement. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2010
Benedict XVI sent his best wishes and assured his prayers to the new leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Irinej, 79, was elected as the 45th head of the Serbian Orthodox Church. VATICAN CITY, JAN. 24, 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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