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The Holy Father´s Week: June 7, 2010

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

There is a natural harmony between Christian faith and reason, as Thomas of Aquinas showed.  At the general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope  reflected on the figure of St. Thomas Aquinas.

   In his encyclical "Fides et Ratio," Pope John Paul II affirmed that "the Church has been justified in consistently proposing St. Thomas a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology"

   "Thomas Aquinas, in the school of Albert the Great, carried out an operation of fundamental importance for the history of philosophy and theology," Benedict XVI explained. As a young student at the University of Naples, Thomas was introduced to the recently rediscovered works of Aristotle. Much of his scholarly life would be devoted to studying the Philosopher's authentic teaching, discerning its valid elements, and demonstrating its value for Christian thought.

   "In short, Thomas Aquinas showed there is a natural harmony between Christian faith and reason." And this, the Pope affirmed,  was the great work of Thomas, who in that moment of encounter between two cultures -- that moment in which it seemed that faith should surrender before reason -- showed that they go together.

   Thomas entered the Order of Preachers, and taught theology in Cologne, Paris, Rome and Naples.  The great Summa Theologiae reveals his critical gifts and his conviction of the natural harmony between faith and reason. He also composed the liturgical texts for the new feast of Corpus Domini, whose hymns reflect his deep Eucharistic faith and theological wisdom.

   Thomas was also dedicated to preaching to the people. And the people willingly went to hear him. "I would say" the Pope noted, "that it is truly a great grace when theologians are able to speak with simplicity and fervor to the faithful. The ministry of preaching, moreover, helps the scholars of theology themselves to a healthy pastoral realism, and enriches their research by lively stimulation."

   At the end of his life, St. Thomas stopped writing, after a mystical experience which convinced him that all he had written "was as straw," in comparison with the infinite grandeur and beauty of God's truth.

   "It is a mysterious episode",the pope explained, "which helps us to understand that all that we succeed in thinking and saying about the faith, no matter how lofty and pure, is infinitely exceeded by the grandeur and beauty of God, which will be revealed to us fully in Paradise" VATICAN CITY, JUNE 2, 2011

On ZENIT's Web page:Full text:

Benedict XVI arrived in Cyprus for a three day visit. "I have come among you as a pilgrim and the servant of the servants of God." He said at the welcoming ceremony at the International Paphos Airport. The Holy Father greeted "as a brother in that faith His Beatitude Chrysostomos the Second, Archbishop of Nea Justiniana and All Cyprus".

   To the Catholics in Cyprus, he said: "As the Successor of Peter, I come in a special way to greet the Catholics of Cyprus, to confirm them in the faith (cf. Lk 22:32) and to encourage them to be both exemplary Christians and exemplary citizens, and to play a full role in society, to the benefit of both Church and state."

   The Pope recalled that during his trip he will present the instrumentum laboris (working document) for the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, to be held in Rome in October.

   "That assembly will examine many aspects of the Church’s presence in the region and the challenges that Catholics face, sometimes in trying circumstances, in living out their communion within the Catholic Church and offering their witness in the service of society and the world," he said.

   "Cyprus is thus an appropriate place," he concluded, "in which to launch our Church's reflection on the place of the centuries-old Catholic community in the Middle East, our solidarity with all the Christians of the region and our conviction that they have an irreplaceable role to play in peace and reconciliation among its peoples." PAPHOS, Cyprus, JUNE 4, 2010

"We are called to overcome our differences, to bring peace and reconciliation where there is conflict, to offer the world a message of hope." the Pope said at a Mass at the Eleftheria Sports Centre in Nicosia, "We are called to reach out to those in need, generously sharing our earthly goods with those less fortunate than ourselves."

   "Breaking down the barriers between us and our neighbors is the first prerequisite for entering the divine life to which we are called."

  The Holy Father explained that we need to be liberated from all that imprisons us and isolates us: “fear and mistrust towards others, greed and selfishness, unwillingness to run the risk of vulnerability to which we expose ourselves when we are open to love."

   "Christ is alive in us, his body, the Church, his priestly people," the Pontiff acknowledged. "By feeding on him in the Eucharist and receiving the Holy Spirit in our hearts we truly become the Body of Christ that we receive, we are truly in communion with him and with each other, and we truly become instruments, in witness to him before the world." NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 6, 2010

The Blessed Mother shows by her example how we can hope in confidence that Christ never abandons us, even in the darkest times, Benedict XVI stated before praying the midday Angelus with the faithful gathered at the Eleftheria Sports Centre in Nicosia. "Even amid the desolation of Holy Saturday the certitude of hope carried her forward into the joy of Easter morning," Benedict XVI stated. "And so we, her children, live in the same confident hope that the Word made flesh in Mary's womb will never abandon us."

   The Holy Father implored "Mary our Mother to intercede for all of us, for the people of Cyprus, and for the Church throughout the Middle East with Christ, her Son, the Prince of Peace." NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 6, 2010

   Papal prayer intentions for June: His general prayer intention is: "That every national and trans-national institution may strive to guarantee respect for human life from conception to natural death."

   His apostolic intention is: "That the Churches in Asia, which constitute a 'little flock' among non-Christian populations, may know how to communicate the Gospel and give joyful witness to their adherence to Christ." VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2010

Other papal messages and activities.

"Mary's is an authentic missionary journey," the Holy Father affirmed as he reflected on the mystery of the Visitation. "It is a journey that takes her far from home, drives her to the world, to places that are foreign to her daily customs, makes her reach, in a certain sense, the limits of what she could reach."

   "Herein lies, also for us, the secret of our lives as individuals and as Christians. [...] We are asked to come out of ourselves, of the places of our security, to go to others, to different places and realms. It is the Lord who asks this of us."

   And it is the Lord, Benedict XVI said, who gives us "Mary as a travelling companion and solicitous mother. She gives us security, because she reminds us that her Son Jesus is always with us."

   Elizabeth attests the joy Jesus communicates and donates: "For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:44).

   The Holy Father explained that "Jesus is the true and only treasure that we have to give to humanity. It is of him that the men and women of our time have profound nostalgia, even when they seem to ignore or reject him."

   He concluded: "Let us live this responsibility by being assiduous in listening to the Word of God, in fraternal union, in the breaking of bread and in prayers" (cf. Acts 2:42). VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2010

Violence does not resolve controversies, but increases the tragic consequences and generates more violence. At the general audience in St. Peter's Square, days after Israeli soldiers and pro-Palestinian activists clashed aboard a Turkish ship, the Pope expressed his profound grief for the victims of the most painful events. "Once again, I repeat with a heartbroken spirit that violence does not resolve controversies, but increases the tragic consequences and generates more violence." He said  VATICAN CITY, JUNE 2, 2010  

New media have the "extraordinary potential" to bring the message of Christ to more and more people, Benedict XVI said at the general audience in which he sent greetings to the delegates gathered in New Orleans for this year's Catholic Media Convention. 

   The Pontiff also sent greetings to those gathered in Scotland for the centennial of the first Edinburgh Missionary Conference, which is now acknowledged to have given birth to the modern ecumenical movement. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 2, 2010

Benedict XVI expressed his sympathy for the victims and damage caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala, and appealed to Christians for "sentiments of ardent charity" toward those affected. Agatha hit the Central American country Tuesday, where the government reports that 152 are dead and some 100 are missing. Since last Thursday, Guatemala has also been affected by the eruption of the Volcano Pacaya. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 3, 2010

Aboard the plane that was taking him to Cyprus. In a press conference with journalists Benedict XVI expresed his grief over the death of Bishop Luigi Padovese, who was stabbed to death Thursday, and said it was not motivated by politics or religious. Authorities charged the bishop's driver, who is said to be mentally unstable, with the murder.

   The Pope noted that Bishop Padovese had "contributed greatly" to the preparation of the synod for the Middle East, and also cautioned against confusing the incident with religion or politics.

   Responding to a question on the division that still wounds Cyprus, Benedict XVI said: "I do not come with a political message, but with a religious message, which should prepare souls to be more open to peace."

   When asked about Monday's deadly clash between Israeli soldiers and pro-Palestinian activists, Benedict XVI encouraged all parties to "not lose patience, courage, the forbearance to begin again."

   Looking forward to the Mideast synod, the Holy Father said the event will foster unity among Christians in the Middle East and dialogue with Muslims, "who are brothers despite the differences." ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, JUNE 4, 2010

The unity of all Christ's disciples is a gift to be implored from the Father in the hope that it will strengthen the witness to the Gospel in today's world. The Lord prayed for the holiness and unity of his disciples precisely so that the world might believe; Benedict XVI said during an ecumenical celebration at the archeological area of the Church of Agia Kiriaki Chrysopolitiss.

   After the welcome ceremony at the International Airport of Paphos, the Pontiff traveled directly to the Church to participate in an ecumenical celebration with Cypriot Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II and other leaders of Christian faiths, such as Armenians, Lutherans and Anglicans.

   During the open air event, which took place beside the Orthodox Church, also known as the Church of the Pillar of St. Paul, the Holy Father noted the progress of ecumenism in recent years. "Today we can be grateful to the Lord, who through his Spirit has led us, especially in these last decades, to rediscover the rich apostolic heritage shared by East and West, and in patient and sincere dialogue to find ways of drawing closer to one another, overcoming past controversies, and looking to a better future." he affirmed. PAPHOS, Cyprus, JUNE 4, 2010

On ZENIT's Web site:Benedict XVI's address:
Archbishop Archbishop Chrysostomos II's address:

Benedict XVI visits Paphos, where St. Paul had his first mayor success. This successful mission of St. Paul marks the beginning of the worldwide spreading of Christianity.

   The focus of the Pontiff's first major activity will be the St. Paul pillar outside the church of Agia Kyriaki. According to tradition, tied to this pillar which is not even one meter high, the Apostle of the Nations suffered about 39 lashes in A.D. 47 because he was accused of rioting. PAPHOS, Cyprus, JUNE 4, 2010 

President Demetris Christofias of Cyprus welcomed Benedict XVI to the presidential palace, noting the country's desire to become a model for the "civilization of co-existence." In his address to Benedict XVI, Christofias lamented the nation's ongoing struggle with Turkey over the occupation of the northern section of the island.

   "It is particularly disturbing that for 36 years our cultural and religious heritage in the occupied areas is being destroyed and this constitutes a loss for mankind in general," he affirmed. "Nicosia remains the last divided European capital. I recall that departing from the Holy Land a year ago, You said that the wall there was one of the most distressing images that You had ever seen in Your life. I also recall that You prayed for peace. May this prayer for peace soon be fulfilled in the case of Cyprus as well!" NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 5, 2010

On ZENIT's Web page:Address of Christofias:

The Pope reflected on the role of politicians in society and their role in promoting moral truth in society, when he addressed government officials and the diplomatic corps of Cyprus at the presidential gardens in Nicosia. Benedict XVI noted the importance of "moral rectitude and impartial respect for others and their well-being" in building a society as they are key elements to establishing "a climate of trust in which all human interactions, whether religious, or economic, social and cultural, or civil and political, acquire strength and substance." NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 5, 2010
On ZENIT's Web page:Full text:

"I come to confirm you in your faith in Jesus Christ and to encourage you to remain of one heart and one soul in fidelity to the apostolic tradition, as the Successor of Peter, I stand among you today to offer you the assurance of my support, my affectionate prayers and my encouragement." The Pope said at an encounter with leaders of the Catholic community at the Maronite school St. Maron in Nicosia. Catholics account for only 3.15% of the entire population (800,000) of Cyprus.

   The Pontiff then pointed to an "essential part of our Church's life and mission, namely the search for greater unity in charity with other Christians and dialogue with those who are not Christians." NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 5, 2010
On ZENIT's Web page:Full text:

At the Orthodox archbishopric of Nicosia and Cathedral of St. John, the Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II of New Justiniana and All Cyprus greeted the Pope.

   "… as we enter the 21st century, which is the century of dialogue, approach and mutual understanding, we are determined to continue this course, in the belief that this is the will of the All-Merciful Lord." He said.

   Benedict XVI expressed his gratitude to the Cypriot Orthodox Church. Since Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II was elected in 2006, the Cypriot Orthodox Church has become a leader in ecumenical efforts, as well as a promoter of interreligious dialogue with Islam. NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 5, 2010

Benedict, XVI met with an important figure among Cypriot Muslims, spiritual leader of a Sufi movement, and participant in interreligious dialogue, Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi al-Haqqani.

   The two religious leaders met along the "Green Line," the U.N. buffer zone, which, since the Turkish invasion of 1974, divides the Turkish Cypriot community and the Greek Cypriot community. Nazim presented Benedict XVI with an ornate cane, a plaque inscribed with the Arabic word for peace and a Muslim rosary. The Pontiff, for his part, offered Nazim a medallion. They then embraced in a gesture of fraternal affection.

   At the end of the meeting Nazim asked Benedict XVI to pray for him. "I will certainly do so," the Pope answered. "Let's pray for each other."NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 5, 2010

The Cross also represents the triumph of God's love over evil, Benedict XVI said during a homily at the Latin parish Church of the Holy Cross, attended by priests, religious, deacons, catechists and representatives of Cyprian ecclesial movements, in which he addressed the question of "why we Christians celebrate an instrument of torture, a sign of suffering, defeat and failure."

   The Cross ".. speaks to all who suffer -- the oppressed, the sick, the poor, the outcast, the victims of violence -- and it offers them hope that God can transform their suffering into joy, their isolation into communion, their death into life.” 

   "It offers unlimited hope to our fallen world." NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 5, 2010

The Pope presented the "instrumentum laboris" for the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place in Rome in October. The Pontiff reiterated, his personal appeal "for an urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land, before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed."

   He recalled the late Bishop Luigi Padovese who, as president of the Turkish Catholic Bishops, contributed to the preparation of the Instrumentum Laboris. He was the apostolic vicar in Anatolia and president of the Turkish bishops' conference and was murdered hours before he was to travel to Cyprus for the apostolic trip of Benedict XVI.
 "I entrust his soul to the mercy of Almighty God, mindful of how committed he was, especially as a bishop, to interreligious and cultural understanding, and to dialogue between the Churches." the Pontiff said. NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 6, 2010

Benedict XVI expressed his joy over today's beatification of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a martyr and national Polish hero. “His zealous service and his martyrdom are a special sign of the victory of good over evil. May his example and his intercession nourish the zeal of priests and enkindle the faithful with love”. NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 6, 2010

"Together with Christians throughout the world, we are part of that great temple which is the Mystical Body of Christ." the Pope said when he made a visit to the cathedral of Our Lady of Graces. "This Cathedral church in some way represents the very long and rich -- and sometimes turbulent -- history of the Maronite community in Cyprus" he affirmed. "As I visit this building, in my heart I make a spiritual pilgrimage to every Maronite church of the island. Be assured that, moved by a father's care, I am close to all the faithful of those ancient communities." NICOSIA, Cyprus, JUNE 6, 2010

"Let us all redouble our efforts to build a real and lasting peace for all the peoples of the region". Benedict XVI said. He expressed a "sincere hope and prayer that, together, Christians and Muslims will become a leaven for peace and reconciliation among Cypriots and serve as an example to other countries." He bid farewell to Cyprus at the Larnaca International Airport, emphasizing truth and reconciliation as two keys to promoting unity in that country. LARNACA, Cyprus, JUNE 6, 2010

Benedict XVI appoints new bishops. He appointed Auxiliary Bishop Rémy Victor Vancottem of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels as bishop of Namur..

   He also appointed Auxiliary Bishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast, Ghana, as archbishop of that city. He succeeds Cardinal Peter Turkson, who was named president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace last October.

   Benedict XVI also accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Heinrich Janssen, 77, of the Diocese of Munster, Germany, and appointed three more auxiliary bishops from the priests of that diocese: Father Dieter Geerlings; Father Christoph Hegge; and Father Wilfried Theising.

   Father Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria of the Archdiocese of Khartoum, Sudan, was appointed as coadjutor of the Diocese of El-Obeid, Sudan.

   Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, Canada, was named as the Pope´s special envoy to celebrations marking the 4th centenary of the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou of the Mi'kmaq nation.

   Vincentian Father David O'Connell, president of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. was appointed as coadjutor for the Diocese of Trenton. JUNE , 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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