The Holy Father´s week: September 20, 2010

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

The whole Church is indebted to courageous women rich in faith like St. Clare of Assisi, the Holy Father affirmed at the general audience.

   "Born in 1193, Clare belonged to a wealthy aristocratic family. She gave up nobility and wealth to live poorly and humbly, adopting the way of life proposed by St. Francis of Assisi".

   "The friendship between these two saints is a very beautiful and important element."

   "Friendship is one of the noble and lofty human sentiments that divine grace purifies and transfigures."

   Clare's Rule, the first written by a woman. Her spirituality, nourished by the Eucharist, was based on the loving contemplation of Christ as the source and perfection of every virtue.

   "Clare was the first woman in the history of the Church who composed a written rule, subject to the Pope's approval, so that the charism of Francis of Assisi would be preserved in all the feminine communities that were being established already in great numbers in her time, and that wished to be inspired in Francis' and Clare's example".

   Even though she was the superior, she wished to serve the sick sisters herself, subjecting herself also to very humble tasks: Charity, in fact, overcomes all resistance and one who loves makes every sacrifice with joy.

   Her faith in the Real Presence in the Eucharist was so great that on two occasions, prodigious events were witnessed. With the exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament alone, she succeeded in repelling the Saracen mercenary soldiers who were about to attack the convent of San Damiano and devastate Assisi.

   It is the saints who change the world for the better, they transform it in a lasting way, injecting in it energies that only love inspired by the Gospel can arouse. The saints are the great benefactors of humanity! VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2010.

On the First day of U.K. trip the Pope, well-wishers lined the route as he was driven to Holyroodhouse Palace, where Queen Elizabeth II greeted him in the front courtyard.
The Queen and the Pope met privately, later both addressed the 400 political, civil, and church leaders of Scotland gathered there.In her address, Queen Elizabeth II said to the Holy Father, "Your presence here today reminds us of our common Christian heritage, and of the Christian contribution to the encouragement of world peace, and to the economic and social development of the less prosperous countries of the world."

   "In this country we deeply appreciate the involvement of the Holy See in the dramatic improvement in the situation in Northern Ireland." The Queen also acknowledged the Church's "special contribution," particularly "in its ministry to the poorest and most deprived members of society, its care for the homeless and for the education provided by its extensive network of schools."

   She underlined "the relationship between the different faiths" as "a fundamental factor in the necessary cooperation within and between nation states."  EDINBURGH, Scotland.


Cardinal Newman was an "eloquent witness" of Christianity. The Pope affirmed this at the open-air beatification Mass of Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), which took place in Birmingham's Cofton Park.

   "In Blessed John Henry, that tradition of gentle scholarship, deep human wisdom and profound love for the Lord has borne rich fruit, as a sign of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit deep within the heart of God's people, bringing forth abundant gifts of holiness," he added.

   The Pontiff reflected that the motto of Cardinal Newman -- "Cor ad Cor Loquitur" (heart speaks unto heart) -- "gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God."

   "He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness."

   Newman tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a "definite service", committed uniquely to every single person. Benedict XVI underlined that the "definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing 'subjects of the day," including the relationship between faith and reason, the place of religion in society, and "the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education."

His insights, the Pope added, "were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world." BIRMINGHAM, England, SEPT. 19, 2010

Other papal messages and activities.

Benedict XVI received the new German ambassador to the Holy See, the Pontiff lamented that "there is no strong attachment to religion" in society in general And warned that "If one abandons faith in a personal God, "man loses his moral and spiritual strength, necessary for the complete development of the person." CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 13, 2010

Benedict XVI urged respect for religious liberty as he called to mind conflicts in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

   "I pray for the victims," the Pope said, "and ask that respect of religious liberty and the logic of reconciliation and peace may prevail over hatred and violence." VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2010

On the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Holy Father encouraged the youth to follow Mary's example and not be afraid to stay next to the cross. "The Lord will instil in you the courage to overcome every obstacle in your daily life."

   Referring to the sick, he recommended that they find in Mary the "consolation and support to learn the salvific value of suffering from the crucified Christ."  VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2010

The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, has been given the title of bishop. Monsignor Enrico dal Covolo, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, was also elevated to the dignity of bishop. The Salesian prelate is 59.

   Bishop James Sartain of Joliet, Illinois, was named as head of the Seattle Archdiocese. And Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Dominique Kimpinde Amando of Kalemie-Kirungu, Congo. The bishop led that diocese for more than 30 years. He turned 77 on Aug. 14. VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2010

On board the plane that took him to the U.K. Benedict XVI answered questions from a group of journalists. To the first question which dealt with opposition to the trip from some quarters, he answered that he felt "great courage and joy," and was not worried about controversies talked up before the trip.

   The Church exists to make Christ's proclamation accessible, he said when asked if there was a way to make the Church more credible and attractive for all. "In this sense the Church does not seek her own attractiveness but must be transparent so that Jesus Christ shines through."

   Speaking of the sexual abuse scandal, he affirmed: "First of all I must say that these revelations were a shock to me, a great sadness; it is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible".

   "It is a great sadness, a great sadness also that the authority of the Church was not sufficiently vigilant and not sufficiently quick and resolute in taking the necessary measures."

   "What can we do to help these persons overcome this trauma, to rediscover life, to find again as well trust in the message of Christ? Concern for the victims is the first priority with material, psychological and spiritual help." VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 15, 2010

The Holy Father delivered an address to political, civil, and church leaders of Scotland, in which he underlined the "deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life." The Holy Father spoke movingly of Britain's contribution to the world, stressing that the good the nation has achieved owes itself to the country's "deep Christian roots."

   "Your forefathers' respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike," Benedict XVI said. "We find many examples of this force for good throughout Britain's long history."

   The Pontiff highlighted "John Henry Newman, whose beatification I will celebrate shortly," as "one of many British Christians of his age whose goodness, eloquence and action were a credit to their countrymen and women."

   He urged the authorities to "not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms."

   "May that patrimony," the Pope concluded, "which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your government and people set before the two billion members of the commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world." EDINBURGH, Scotland, SEPT. 16, 2010

The Pope warned against self-destructive jungle when he celebrated an open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park.

   In his homily the Holy Father touched on themes ranging from progress in ecumenism, to the evangelization of culture, to the need to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.

   "Society today," he affirmed, "needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility."

   The Pope pointed to a saint of Scotland, St. Ninian, whose feast was providentially celebrated that day. He "was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good news of Jesus Christ."

   Ninian was followed by a line of other saints, who have inspired centuries of faithful to hand down the faith, the Pontiff reflected. "¡Strive to be worthy of this great tradition!" He urged. GLASGOW, Scotland, SEPT. 16, 2010

Catholic education imparts wisdom, Benedict XVI said in the chapel of St. Mary's University College in Twickenham when he met with some 300 religious who work in education. 

   "You form new generations not only in knowledge of the faith," he told the educators, "but in every aspect of what it means to live as mature and responsible citizens in today's world." Benedict XVI acknowledged in a particular manner "the life and work of the Venerable Mary Ward, a native of this land whose pioneering vision of apostolic religious life for women has borne so much fruit." LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010

The Pope invited the students to be saints. "What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy," the Pope said on the second day of his visit to the United Kingdom, to the 4,000 students gathered at the Sports Arena of St Mary's University College in Twickenham.

   The gathering, billed as "The Big Assembly," was broadcast live via Internet to all the schools of England, Wales and Scotland, which gave the Pope a unique chance to address a large number of students of the region.

   "When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best," he continued, "I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy."

   "Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy."

   "Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places."

Benedict XVI said the key to happiness is actually very simple: "True happiness is to be found in God. [...] Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts." LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010

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In a meeting with representatives of various British religious communities, Benedict XVI affirmed that believers' presence in social and economic life points to the fact that man is a fundamentally spiritual being.

   Genuine religious belief, the Holy Father said, points to the duty to live peaceably with neighbour and the "importance of living a life of integrity. Properly understood, it brings enlightenment, it purifies our hearts and it inspires noble and generous action, to the benefit of the entire human family".  LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010

   The Pope met with Anglican leader, Archbishop R. Williams of Canterbury. Both of them gave speeches to the Anglican and Catholic bishops gathered for the event. Later they had a private meeting, "[W]e Christians must never hesitate to proclaim our faith in the uniqueness of the salvation won for us by Christ," the Pope said. "[...] In fidelity to the Lord's will, [...] we recognize that the Church is called to be inclusive, yet never at the expense of Christian truth."

   Benedict XVI referred to Cardinal John Henry Newman, whom he will beatify, as an example for ecumenical relations. Newman was raised an Anglican and spent half his life in that Communion before converting to the Catholic Church.

   Archbishop Williams also spoke of Cardinal John Henry Newman. "Perhaps we shall not quickly overcome the remaining obstacles to full, restored communion;" the Archbishop said, "but no obstacles stand in the way of our seeking [...] more ways in which to build up one another in holiness by prayer and public celebration together, by closer friendship, and by growing together both in the challenging work of service for all whom Christ loves, and mission to all God has made." LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010

Benedict XVI voiced concern over the marginalization of Christianity and urged civil leaders to see religion as a "vital contributor" on a national level.

   At Westminster Hall with representatives of civil society, the academic, cultural and entrepreneurial worlds, the diplomatic corps and religious leaders, the Holy Father said "There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere,"

   "These are worrying signs of a failure to appreciate not only the rights of believers to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but also the legitimate role of religion in the public square."

   "I would invite all of you, therefore, within your respective spheres of influence, to seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason at every level of national life." LONDON, SEPT. 17, 2010

The third day of the Pontiff's state visit to the U. K. began with a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron and other government leaders in the archbishop's palace. Then, the Holy Father celebrated the Mass in the cathedral, which was attended by the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

   In his homily, Benedict XVI said. "The Eucharistic sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ embraces (…) the mystery of our Lord's continuing passion in the members of his Mystical Body, the Church in every age."

   He spoke about the suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers. "Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes," he said, "along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives."

   "I also acknowledge, with you, the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins."

   Later this day Benedict XVI met with a group of people who suffered sexual abuse from members of the clergy, he assured them that the Church is implementing measures to protect young people from this crime and prayed with them.

   The Pope visited St. Peter's Residence for the elderly in the London borough of Lambeth, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, and reflected on the growing presence of elderly as a "blessing for society."

   The Pope concluded this evening with a prayer vigil in Hyde Park he spoke with the crowds about three lessons from Cardinal Newman's life, each based on the role of truth. "We were created to know the truth", he affirmed. He made an appeal to youth to "Be open to [Christ's] voice resounding in the depths of your heart." LONDON, SEPT. 18, 2010

"In the course of my visit it has become clear to me how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the Good News of Jesus Christ. You have been chosen by God to offer them the living water of the Gospel, encouraging them to place their hopes, not in the vain enticements of this world, but in the firm assurances of the next." The Pope said to the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales, gathered at St. Mary's Seminary.

   "I pray that among the graces of this visit will be a renewed dedication on the part of Christian leaders to the prophetic vocation they have received, and a new appreciation on the part of the people for the great gift of the ordained ministry."  BIRMINGHAM, England, SEPT 19, 2010

At the conclusion of the Pope's state visit to the U. K., Prime Minister David Cameron said: "You have offered a message not just to the Catholic Church but to each and every one of us of every faith and none".

   "A challenge to us all to follow our conscience to ask not what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities? To ask not what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for others?"

   "You have really challenged the whole country to sit up and think, and that can only be a good thing. Because I believe we can all share in your message of working for the common good and that we all have a social obligation each other, to our families and our communities. And, of course, our obligations to each other - and our care for each other - must extend beyond these shores too." BIRMINGHAM, England, SEPT. 19, 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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