The Holy Father´s Week: May 31, 2010

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

"Authority, in the Christian understanding, is a service to the true, ultimate good of the person, which is our salvation in Christ" Benedict XVI said as he spoke at the General audience about one of the essential tasks of the priest: to govern and to guide. This authority exercised in the Lord's name, he explained, "is an expression of the constant presence and care of the Good Shepherd".

   The Church exercises authority, not in her own name but in the name of Jesus Christ, who received from the Father all power in heaven and on earth, the Pontiff said, and this authority is service.

   "Christ feeds his flock through the pastors of the Church: It is he who guides it, protects it, corrects it, because he loves it profoundly."

   But, the Pope explained "Jesus' way of governing is not that of domination, but it is the humble and loving service of the washing of the feet, and Christ's kingship over the universe is not an earthly triumph, but finds its culmination on the wood of the cross, which becomes judgment for the world and point of reference for the exercise of authority that is the true expression of pastoral charity."

   "The saints, and among them St. John Mary Vianney," the Holy Father continued "exercised with love and dedication the task of caring for the portion of the People of God entrusted to them."

   Dear priests, "do not be afraid to lead to Christ each of the brothers that he has entrusted to you, certain that every word and every attitude, if stemming from obedience to the will of God, will bear fruit; know how to live appreciating the merits and acknowledging the limits of the culture in which we find ourselves, with the firm certainty that the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest service that can be done to man."

   "In fact," Benedict XVI affirmed "there is no greater good in this earthly life, than to lead men to God, reawaken faith, raise man from inertia and despair, to give the hope that God is near and guides personal history and that of the world."

   The Bishop of Rome concluded the audience by asking for prayer "I would like to invite you to pray for me, the Successor of Peter who has a specific task in governing the Church of Christ, as well as for all your bishops and priests," he said. "Pray that we will be able to take care of all the sheep of the flock entrusted to us, also those who are lost." VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2010

"We are called daily to be open to the action of grace, to progress in the love of God and our neighbour." Benedict XVI said at the Angelus in St. Peter's Square. He spoke about the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity which is celebrated today.

   "The divine Trinity" he said, "comes to dwell in us on the day of baptism: "I baptize you," the minister says, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." "We recall the name of God in which we were baptized every time that we make the sign of the cross".

   In the sign of the cross and in the name of the living God the proclamation that generates faith and inspires prayer is contained, he explained.

   In his Year for Priests, the Pope spoke about their importance: In the Gospel Jesus promises the apostles that "the Spirit of truth, when he comes, will guide you in all truth" (John 16:13), "the same happens in the Sunday liturgy, when the priests dispense, week after week, the bread of the Word and the Eucharist." He explained.

   "Who welcomed your soul," he said, "at the beginning of your life? the priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? the priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? the priest, always the priest" ("Letter Proclaiming a Year for Priests").

   "Invoking the Blessed Virgin Mary, the first creature in whom the Most Holy Trinity dwelled fully, let us ask her protection to journey well on our earthly pilgrimage." VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2010

Other papal messages and activities.

"The common good is the end that gives meaning to progress and to development, which otherwise would be limited to the sole production of material goods"

   "Progress and development are necessary," the Holy Father affirmed, "but if they are not oriented to the common good, they lead to the negative consequences of the prevalence of consumerism, waste, poverty and excess." He explained that progress would be "limited to the sole production of material goods" if it were not oriented toward the common good.

   The Pope affirmed this when he received members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, which promotes the social doctrine of the Church. VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2010

Leaders from Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were received in separate audiences together with their delegations by the Holy Father. The Bulgarian delegation was led by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, and the Macedonian delegation by the president of the Parliament, Trjako Veljanoski. The delegations' visit to the Pontiff has become a tradition to celebrate the co-patrons of Europe, the brothers Sts. Cyril and Methodius, celebrated May 11 in the East and Feb. 14 in the West. VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2010

Benedict XVI received in audience the president of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, during which the two reaffirmed today their "common will to reinforce the good relations between the Holy and See and the Republic of Congo." VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2010

The acting president of Moldova visited Benedict XVI, discussing with him mutual hopes that the country's difficulties can be smoothed over. Mihai Ghimpu is the speaker of Parliament and the acting president of the tiny nation, nestled between Romania and Ukraine. Moldova has been without a president since September 2009, despite two general elections last year and four presidential ballots in Parliament. It is also one of the poorest countries in Europe. VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2010

New appointments: Benedict XVI appointed auxiliary bishop for the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services. Bishop-elect, Father F. Richard Spencer of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, is currently serving as a deputy command chaplain for the U.S. Forces in Europe; he will serve as auxiliary under Archbishop Timothy Broglio.

   Also on Saturday, the Vatican publicized the news that Benedict XVI appointed several relators of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

   The Pontiff gave his consent to the election by the Synod of Bishops of the Chaldean Church of Redemptorist Father Bashar Warda as archbishop of Arbil of the Chaldeans.

   The Vatican communiqué reported that on Saturday Benedict XVI elevated the Diocese of Tunis, Tunisia, to the rank of archdiocese, making the current head, Bishop Maroun Lahham, 61, the first archbishop of that new archdiocese.

   As well, the Pontiff erected a new diocese of Kalay, Myanmar, from territory that used to be part of the Hakha Diocese. He appointed Bishop Felix Lian Khen Thang, 50, auxiliary of Hakha, to head the new diocese.  MAY 24, 2010

On ZENIT's Web page: Full text:

Benedict XVI points to example of St. Phillip of Neri. After the general audience the Pope spoke about this saint who's liturgical feast is celebrated today, and offered him  as an example for youth, the sick and newlyweds. St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, is known as a saint of humor and simplicity of life. "Dear young people," he recommended, "look at this saint to learn to live with evangelical simplicity. Dear sick, may St. Philip Neri help you to make of your suffering an offering to the heavenly Father, in union with Jesus crucified." Finally, the Pontiff suggested that newlyweds supported by St. Philip's intercession could be "inspired always in the Gospel to build a truly Christian family." VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2010

Papal gift to aid Polish flood victims. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum reported that, "in the wake of the floods provoked by torrential rains in Poland, a disaster on an unprecedented scale that has led to many victims and massive evacuations, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum has sent Archbishop Jozef Michalik, president of the Polish Episcopal Conference, a papal gift to assist the flood victims and evacuees in the worst hit ecclesiastical areas. VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2010

Salesians affirm their support for Benedict XVI. The Salesian rector major, Father Pascual Chávez, gave the Pope's secretary of state a letter for the Pontiff from the congregation members gathered in Valdocco, near Turin, on the occasion of 150th anniversary of their congregation, the centenary of the death of the first successor of Don Bosco, Blessed M. Rua, and the 125th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of the first Salesian bishop, Bishop J. Cagliero.

   "Most Holy Father, please feel us close to you in this difficult hour for the Church," it affirmed.

   "We share the concerns of the present moment, asking the Lord to purify our lives and to purify the Church so as to be able worthily to proclaim the Gospel, especially to the young, to the poor, to the least, to those who still do not know the Good News." TURIN, Italy, MAY 26, 2010

A false concept of man's autonomy, skepticism and relativism, are the roots the Holy Father thinks have given rise to an "educational emergency". The Italian bishops have made education their priority of the decade, and Benedict XVI suggested going to the roots so as to find "adequate responses" to the educational challenge.

   Explaining the false concept of man's autonomy,which calls for man to develop himself by and for himself, "without impositions from others, who can assist in his self-development, but who cannot enter into the process." he explained that man's self is defined in relation to others. "It is created for dialogue and for communion."

   In regard to skepticism and relativism, he observed that "Nature is considered today as a purely mechanical thing, and because of this, no type of orientation comes from it." While revelation, is seen "either as a moment of historical development, and therefore relative, just as any historical and cultural development -- or, it is said, perhaps there was revelation, but it doesn't offer content, only motivation."

   The Pontiff warned, "if these two sources are blocked, nature and revelation, then the third source as well, history, ceases to offer guidance because it becomes nothing more than a conglomeration of arbitrary, momentary cultural decisions that serve for nothing for the present and the future."

   He urged that a true concept of revelation and of nature as God's creation that speaks to us must be recovered.

   And youth have a thirst for meaning and for authentic human relationships, which help one not to feel alone when faced with the challenges of life, the Pontiff affirmed, "To educate has never been easy, but we cannot give in. [...] To educate is to form the new generations, so they know how to enter into relationships with the world."

   "Our answer," he proposed, "is the proclamation of God who is a friend of man, who in Jesus made himself close to everyone." VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2010

Benedict XVI will visit Cyprus in June. This visit is anticipated by Catholics as a "huge event," said a priest of that country. The Pontiff will celebrate a Mass at Holy Cross Church on June 5, with the participation of priests, religious, deacons, catechists and ecclesial movement directors from Cyprus. NICOSIA, Cyprus, MAY 27, 2010

"The acquisition of rights goes hand in hand with the acceptance of duties", the Pope stated in an address to participants in the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers. "All, in fact, enjoy rights and duties that are not arbitrary, because they stem from human nature itself." He recalled Pope John XXIII's encyclical "Pacem in Terris" which affirms: "Every human being is a person, that is a nature gifted with intelligence and free will; and hence subject of rights and duties which are, because of this, universal, inviolable, inalienable"

   The Pontiff pointed out that "The future of our societies rests on the meeting between peoples, on dialogue between cultures with respect to their identities and legitimate differences." VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2010

On ZENIT's Web page: Full text:

Fraternity, justice and labor are key elements to building a peaceful society, Benedict XVI affirmed upon receiving the letter of credence from Comlanvi Theodore Loko, the new ambassador from Benin to the Holy See. Benedict XVI noted that fraternity "is a primordial condition for social peace and a factor of integral human promotion."

   He encouraged Benin's Catholics "to be ever more genuine witnesses of the faith and of the fraternal love that Christ shows us," and recognized the efforts of the government "to consolidate the relations of mutual respect and esteem between the religious confessions of your country." "Religious liberty," the Pope added, "cannot but contribute to enrich democracy and foster development."

   The West African country of Benin has a population of 9 million, of which 27% are Catholic, 24% are Muslim, and 15% are non-Catholic Christian.VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2010

The beatification of Maria Pierina De Micheli was celebrated this morning in Rome in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Holy Father noted. "Giuseppina -- this was he baptismal name -- was born in Milan in 1890, in a deeply religious family, where different vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life blossomed. At 23 she also set out on this road, dedicating herself with passion to service in education in Argentina and in Italy. The Lord granted her an extraordinary devotion to his Holy Face, which always sustained her in trials and sickness. She died in 1945 and her remains are at the Institute of the Holy Spirit in Rome." VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 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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