May 24-30, 2008
The Gospel strengthens and enriches culture: “The Gospel [...] does not weaken what is authentic in different cultural traditions, but helps people of every age to recognize and realize the authentic good, enlightened by the splendor of truth. Thus the task of Christians is to maintain and strengthen the intrinsic link that exists between the Gospel, the mission of Christ’s disciples and their respective cultural identities. In this regard, the rediscovery of Christian roots is important to contributing to building a society in which the spiritual and cultural values that flow from the Gospel are present.” (Address to state and religious leaders from Bulgaria and Macedonia, Saturday, May 24)
The Eucharist invites us to work to end hunger: “The Creator and Lord of all things became ‘a grain of wheat’ to be sown in our earth, in the furrow of our history; he became bread to be broken, shared, eaten; he became our food to give us life, his own divine life. […] Those who eat the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent before those who, even in our days, lack daily bread. Many parents are barely able to provide for themselves and their children. It is a grave and growing problem that the international community finds hard to solve. The Church does not only pray ‘give us this day our daily bread,’ but, following the Lord’s example, works in every way ‘to multiply the five loaves and two fish’ with countless humanitarian efforts and sharing so that no one remains without the necessities of life.” (Address before praying the midday Angelus, St Peter’s Square, Sunday, May 25)
Pope Gregory was great because he was a man immersed in God: “Today I wish to present the figure of one of the greatest fathers in the history of the Church, one of the four doctors of the West, Pope Gregory, who was bishop of Rome between the years 590 and 604, and who merited on the part of tradition the title “magnus” – great. […] Despite the most difficult conditions in which he had to act, he succeeded in winning, thanks to the holiness of his life and his rich humanity, the trust of the faithful, obtaining for his time and for the future truly great results. He was a man immersed in God: the desire for God was always alive in the depth of his soul and precisely because of this he was always very close to his neighbor, to the needs of the people of his time. During a disastrous and desperate time, he was able to create peace and hope. This man of God shows us the true fonts of peace, from which true hope comes, and so becomes a guide also for us today.” (Catechesis during the general audience, Wednesday, May 28)
Media professionals must promote truthfulness and respect for the common good: “In a world where the ambiguity of progress is increasingly apparent, the contribution of those in the media to the promulgation of truth, goodness and beauty becomes an ever more urgent duty and task. I am confident that focused on Jesus Christ who is the truth which sets us free, the delegates will not only keep the ethical dimension at the forefront of their own ecclesial service but also resolve to seek ways to assist all who work in the media to recognize that the value of communication lies in its truthfulness and respect for the common good.” (Message to 2008 Catholic Media Convention in Toronto, Wednesday, May 28)
The Church is called to participate in public debates: “As heralds of the Gospel and guides of the Catholic community, you are also called to participate in the exchange of ideas in the public domain, to help mold adequate cultural attitudes. […] We must above all say and witness with frankness to our ecclesial communities and to all the Italian people that, although the problems that must be addressed are many, the fundamental problem for the man of today continues to be the problem of God. No other human or social problem will truly be resolved if God does not return to the center of our lives, since he is the source of hope that changes our interior and does not disappoint and therefore gives consistency and vigor to our plans for good. […] In the framework of a healthy and well-understood laicism, it is necessary to resist every tendency that regards religion, and Christianity in particular, as only a private affair. The prospects that stem from our faith can make a fundamental contribution to clarify and solve the major social and moral problems of Italy and of Europe today. Strong and constant likewise must be our efforts to defend the dignity and tutelage of human life in all moments and conditions – from conception and the embryonic phase, through situations of illness and suffering, until natural death.” (Message to Plenary Assembly of the Italian episcopal conference, Thursday, May 29)
Poor nations should be the primary beneficiaries of their natural resources: “The international community is also called to act – over and above simple justice – by showing its solidarity with the poorest and ensuring a better distribution of wealth, enabling especially those countries whose wealth resides in the soil or under the soil to be the primary beneficiaries thereof. Rich countries cannot appropriate what comes from other lands. Justice and solidarity must mean that the international community oversees the distribution of resources. It is also necessary to develop [...] fraternal relations in order to create well-balanced societies where harmony and peace can reign, and to regulate any problems that may arise through dialogue and negotiation, without using any form of violence, which always affects the weakest and poorest people. Solidarity and fraternity are a definitive expression of the fundamental love we must show our brothers and sisters, because all people with responsibility in public life are primarily called to make their mission one of service to their compatriots and, in a broader sense, to all the inhabitants of the planet. For their part, the local Churches will not fail to do everything possible to make their contribution to the wellbeing of their compatriots, sometimes in difficult situations. Their desire is tirelessly to continue serving human beings, all human beings, without discrimination of any kind.” (Message to new ambassadors to the Holy See, Thursday, May 29)
The Church depends on priests, religious and laity to fulfill her mission: “The Church's mission of charity shines forth in a particular way through the Religious life, by which men and women devote themselves with "undivided" heart to the service of God and neighbour (cf. 1 Cor 7:34; cf. Vita Consecrata, 3). I am pleased to note that an increasing number of women are responding to the call to consecrated life in your region. I pray that their free and radical acceptance of the evangelical counsels will inspire others to embrace the life of chastity, poverty and obedience for the sake of the Kingdom. […] Similar signs of hope are seen in the rising number of vocations to the priesthood. These men are both "called together" and "sent out to preach" (cf. Lk 9:1-2) to be examples of faithfulness and holiness for the People of God. Filled with the Holy Spirit and led by your fatherly care, may priests perform their sacred duties in humility, simplicity and obedience (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 15). […] My dear brothers, the Church's mission to spread the Good News depends on a generous and prompt response from the lay faithful to become labourers in the vineyard (cf. Mt 20:1-16; 9:37-38). They too are in need of a robust and dynamic Christian formation which will inspire them to carry the Gospel message to their workplaces, families, and to society at large (cf. Ecclesia in Asia, 22). Your reports allude to the enthusiasm with which the laity are organizing many new catechetical and spiritual initiatives, often involving great numbers of young people. As you foster and oversee these activities, I encourage you to remind those under your care to turn continually to the nourishment of the Eucharist through participation in the liturgy and silent contemplation (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 6).” (Message to bishops of Myanmar, Friday, May 30) 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.
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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