Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of natural law and the responsibilities it implies as he continued his catechesis on the Christian culture of the Middle Ages and reflected on the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas. According to St. Thomas, he affirmed, all men, believers and non-believers, are called to recognize the exigencies of human nature expressed in natural law and to be inspired in it in the formulation of positive laws, that is, those issuing from the civil and political authorities to regulate human coexistence.
"When the natural law and the responsibility it implies are denied, the way is opened dramatically to ethical relativism on the individual plane and to the totalitarianism of the state on the political plane."
He noted how reason, with its power, has the important potential of "discerning the natural moral law."
"Reason can recognize [this law] considering what is good to do and what is good to avoid to obtain that happiness which is in each one's heart, and which also imposes a responsibility toward others and, hence, the search for the common good," he said.
Faith consolidates, integrates and
enlightens the patrimony of truth that human reason acquires.
"The trust that St. Thomas accords to these two instruments of knowledge -- faith and reason -- can lead back to the conviction that both proceed from the one source of all truth, the divine Logos."
The Holy Father explained how Thomas managed to show the "independence of philosophy and theology and, at the same time, their reciprocal rationality." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2010
On ZENIT's Web page: Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29626?l=english
The Cross is the crown of our hope and the highest of our goods, Benedict XVI affirmed before praying the midday Angelus with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Jesus "reminds us that to be his disciples it is necessary to appropriate the power of the cross."
"Taking up the cross means committing oneself to defeating sin, which blocks the way to God, accepting the Lord's will every day, making faith grow above all in the face of problems, difficulties, suffering." He continued.
"Even today," Benedict XVI noted, "there are many Christians in the world who, animated by God, assume the cross every day, whether it be daily trials, whether it be that procured by human barbarity, which sometimes requires the courage of the supreme sacrifice."
Lord grant everyone of us always to place our firm hope in him, certain that, following him carrying
our cross, we will reach the light of the Resurrection with him." He prayed.VATICAN CITY, JUNE
On ZENIT's Web page:Full text: http://zenit.org/article-29651?l=english
Other papal messages and activities.
The Pope addressed members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which is responsible for training candidates for the Holy See diplomatic service. Being a spokesman for the Vicar of Christ might be an exacting task, but it is also an original way to fulfill the priestly vocation, the Pope reflected and he suggested that certain elements of priestly life must get special attention when one is a Holy See diplomat: First, a full interior adherence to the person of the Pope, that is, of the one who has received the task to confirm brothers in the faith, secondly, a true 'passion' -- for ecclesial communion." The papal representative becomes a "sign of the presence and of the charity of the Pope," he said. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 14, 2010
"Christianity has enabled Europe to understand what liberty, responsibility and ethics are, which permeate its laws and social structures," the Pontiff said when he addressed the 45th ordinary session of the Council of Europe Development Bank.
He cautioned that the spiritual riches that have "molded European identity" have been ignored. "To marginalize Christianity, also through the exclusion of the symbols that manifest it, would contribute to amputate our continent of its essential origin that nourishes it tirelessly and that contributes to its true identity."
"There is a rich past in
Europe which witnessed the development of economic experiences based on fraternity," he
The Holy Father lamented that liberation from totalitarian regimes has led to "mere economic progress in detriment of a more human development respecting the dignity and nobility of man"
Benedict XVI called for a "novelty" that would "introduce a logic that would make of the human person, and in particular of families and really needy persons, the centre and end of the economy. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 14, 2010
Benedict XVI will visit the Abruzzi region of Italy next month. He will visit the city of Sulmona, located about an hour southwest of the epicenter of the April 2009 quake that left more than 300 dead and more than 65,000 homeless in and around the city of L'Aquila.
He will venerate the relics of St. Celestine V, the 13th-century Pope who abdicated the papacy after only five months. He was a monk and hermit who founded the Celestines. He was elected Pontiff in 1294, at the age of 80 and after a two-year deliberation by the College of Cardinals.
He resigned after five months in order to return to the life of a hermit, naming as his motivations: "the desire for humility, for a purer life, for a stainless conscience, the deficiencies of his own physical strength, his ignorance, the perverseness of the people, his longing for the tranquility of his former life."
Celestine V was imprisoned by his successor,
Pope Boniface VIII, and he died 10 months later. VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2010
The Eucharist - and its relevance for believers - is not sufficiently understood and must be a catechetical priority, said Benedict XVI when he went to the Basilica of St. John Lateran to address participants at the convention for the Diocese of Rome. The Pontiff went on to give a reflection on the Eucharistic mystery, considering Christ's sacrifice on Calvary and how it is memorialized. He acknowledged that "sacrifice" is no longer a popular word.
"However, properly understood," he said, "[sacrifice] is and remains fundamental, because it reveals to us with what love God loves us in Christ."
The Pope recalled the grandeur of the Eucharist: "We go to meet the reality of God present in the body and blood of the Risen One among us."
The best catechesis on the Eucharist is the Eucharist itself, well celebrated. He affirmed.
"When we receive Christ," the Pope added, "the love of God expands in our innermost self, modifies our heart radically and makes us capable of gestures that, by the expansive force of good, can transform the life of those that are next to us."
"To be faithful to the mystery that is celebrated on the altars we must, as the Apostle Paul exhorts us, offer our bodies, ourselves, in spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God in those circumstances that require dying to our 'I' and constitute our daily 'altar.'" ROME, JUNE 17, 2010
On ZENIT's Web page: Full text: www.zenit.org/article-29633?l=english
Benedict XVI received in audience the director-general of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Álvaro Corcuera. The meeting comes after the conclusion of an apostolic visitation to the order.
A statement from the Legionaries of Christ noted that Father
Corcuera "wished to personally thank the Holy Father for his fatherly care and to confirm the
unconditional loyalty of the members of the congregation and of the movement to the Pope."
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2010
Benedict XVI invited priests to deepen in their prayer at a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the priestly ordination of 14 deacons of the Diocese of Rome.
He pointed to the example of the Apostles, who were "permitted to see
what others do not see," by being with Jesus, by "staying with him in prayer."
"Only he who has an intimate relationship with the Lord is drawn by him, can bring him to
others, can be sent." He affirmed. He reminded them that they are called to abide in God
"also and above all in difficult moments when it seems that 'having things to do' must take
priority." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2010
On ZENIT's Web page:Full text: http://zenit.org/article-29658?l=english
The Holy Father marks World Refugee Day. After praying the midday Angelus with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, he affirmed that "Refugees desire to find welcome and to be recognized in their dignity and their fundamental rights."
"At the same time," he continued, "they intend to offer their contribution to the society that welcomes them."
Benedict XVI concluded: "Let us pray that, in a just reciprocity, there be a response adequate to such expectations and they show the respect that they have for the identity of the community that receives them." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2010
The Pope appealed for the restoration of peace in Kyrgyzstan. "I would like to make an urgent appeal that peace and security soon be re-established in southern Kyrgyzstan after the grave clashes that have taken place in recent days," the Pontiff said.
Violent clashes between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek ethnic groups this past week left 189 dead.
Those remaining in the cities have no access to electricity and gas, and the food and water supplies
are running low. "To the families of the victims and those who suffer because of this tragedy I
express my heartfelt nearness and assurance of my prayers.
"I invite, furthermore, all the ethnic groups of the country to renounce all violence or provocation and I ask the international community to see that humanitarian aid may quickly reach the stricken populations." VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2010
A prayer for the Holy
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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