The Holy Father´s Week: March 22, 2010

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

Theology according to St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure. At the General audience, the Holy Father continued his reflections on St. Bonaventure. This saint, he explained, was a contemporary of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
 The two great theologians reveal the rich diversity of the theology of the thirteenth century.They have many similarities: Both scrutinized the mysteries of revelation and both Bonaventure, a Franciscan, and Thomas, a Dominican, belonged to the Mendicant Orders.
Despite their similarities, however, the Pope noted how they define differently man's ultimate destiny, "his full happiness."
St.Thomas saw theology as primarily a theoretical science, concerned with knowing God.
St. Bonaventure saw it as practical, concerned with the "wisdom" which enables us to love God and conform our will to his.
Thomas's emphasis on truth complements Bonaventure's emphasis on love within the unity of a great common vision, the Pope affirmed.
For St. Bonaventure, the Holy Father affirmed, “all our life is a "journey," a pilgrimage -- an ascent to God. But with our own strength we cannot ascend to the loftiness of God. God himself must help us, must "pull" us on high. That is why prayer is necessary”
As a great master of prayer, Bonaventure invites us to let our minds and hearts rise from the contemplation of creation to rest in God's eternal love. VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2010

Jesus teaches to condemn sin but to save the sinner. At the Angelus with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, Benedict XVI read the Gospel episode of Jesus saving the adulterous woman condemned to death (John 8:1-11). The hypocritical accusers pretend to entrust him with the judgment, “But Jesus is "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14): He knows what is in every man's heart, he wants to condemn sin but save the sinner, and unmask hypocrisy” the Pope affirmed.
"Jesus, absolving the woman of her sin, introduces her into a new life, oriented toward the good: "Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on do not sin any more."
“God only wants goodness and life for us;” the Holy Father noted “he provides for the salvation of our soul through his ministers, freeing us from evil by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that no one is lost but all have a way to be converted.”
Addressing the faithful, Benedict XVI urged them to “Learn from the Lord Jesus not to judge and not to condemn our neighbor.”
“Let us learn to be intransigent with sin -- beginning with our own! --and indulgent with people.”
“May we be helped in this by the Holy Mother of God, who, free of every fault, is the mediatrix of grace for every contrite sinner” the Holy Father concluded. VATICAN CITY, MARCH 21, 2010
Full text:

Benedict XVI's sent a letter to Catholics of Ireland. Considering the gravity of the offences, “and the often inadequate response to them on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities in your country, I have decided to write this Pastoral Letter to express my closeness to you and to propose a path of healing, renewal and reparation.” The Holy Father wrote.
“It is out of deep concern for all of you at this painful time in which the fragility of the human condition has been so starkly revealed that I have wished to offer these words of encouragement and support. I hope that you will receive them as a sign of my spiritual closeness and my confidence in your ability to respond to the challenges of the present hour by drawing renewed inspiration and strength from Ireland's noble traditions of fidelity to the Gospel, perseverance in the faith and steadfastness in the pursuit of holiness.”
“In solidarity with all of you, I am praying earnestly that, by God's grace, the wounds afflicting so many individuals and families may be healed and that the Church in Ireland may experience a season of rebirth and spiritual renewal” . VATICAN CITY, MARCH 20, 2010

Other papal messages and activities.

The Pope reflected on the first quarter-century of World Youth Days and hailed its abundant fruits. He offered a meditation on Mark's account of Christ's meeting with a young man. VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2010.  Full text:

The Holy Father thanked Sudan´s bishops for peace efforts. He received them in Rome for their five-yearly "ad limina" visit and expressed his appreciation for the Church's efforts for reconciliation in the country and expressed his gratitude for the efforts carried out by the Sudanese bishops "to maintain good relations with the followers of Islam," He also thanked them for "all the Church in your country is doing to help the poor live in dignity and self-esteem, to help them find long-term work, to enable them to make their own contribution to society." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2010

Benedict XVI met with Croatian Prime minister. The meetings concluded with a consideration of "certain themes concerning Croatia's path towards full integration into the European Union." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2010

Benedict XVI was conferred honorary citizenship of the Italian city of Romano Canavese. He encouraged its citizens to continue in their long history of faith, never losing trust in God.  VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2010 

Pastoral letter to the Church in Ireland. At the conclusion of the English-language summary of the general audience the Pope said "As you know, in recent months the Church in Ireland has been severely shaken as a result of the child abuse crisis. As a sign of my deep concern I have written a pastoral letter dealing with this painful situation. I will sign it on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Guardian of the Holy Family and Patron of the Universal Church, and send it soon after." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2010

Work is a good for man, for the family and for society, and it is source of liberty and responsibility. The Pope said as he met with a group of Italian business leaders at the Vatican. He recommended confidence in the midst of the global recession, since "it can be considered as an opportunity from the point of view of the revision of models of development and of a new organization of the world of finance, a 'new time' -- as has been said -- of profound revision." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 18, 2010

It is possible to unite art and faith. On the feast day of Benedict XVI's namesake, St. Joseph, a celebratory concert was organized featuring the music of Joseph Haydn. At the end of the concert, the Holy Father, who was accompanied by his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, commented in German, Italian and English, that the work of Haydn is a "sublime" example of "how it is possible to unite art and faith." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 19, 2009

Benedict XVI expressed his hopes for a new "missionary spirit" in Burkina Faso and Niger in his audience this Saturday with the bishops of these two African nations, who were in Rome for their five-yearly "ad limina" visit and spoke of his gratitude for the bishops' efforts in view of "a healthy inculturation of the faith." VATICAN CITY, MARCH 21, 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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