Friday, April 18, 2008

Quotes from Pope Benedict in the US

15 April 2008

It is more important to have good priests than many priests.

En route on Volo Papale ("Shepherd One")

16 April 2008

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility....The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good (cf. Spe Salvi, 24).

...The Church, for her part, wishes to contribute to building a world ever more worthy of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26-27). She is convinced that faith sheds new light on all things, and that the Gospel reveals the noble vocation and sublime destiny of every man and woman (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). Faith also gives us the strength to respond to our high calling, and the hope that inspires us to work for an ever more just and fraternal society. Democracy can only flourish, as your founding fathers realized, when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.

Address, Welcome Ceremony, The White House, South Lawn, Washington, DC

16 April 2008

What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today? We need to reassess urgently the values underpinning society, so that a sound moral formation can be offered to young people and adults alike.

Time spent in prayer is never wasted, however urgent the duties that press upon us from every side. Adoration of Christ our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament prolongs and intensifies the union with him that is established through the Eucharistic celebration (cf. Sacramentum Caritatis, 66). Contemplation of the mysteries of the Rosary releases all their saving power and it conforms, unites and consecrates us to Jesus Christ (cf. Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 11, 15). Fidelity to the Liturgy of the Hours ensures that the whole of our day is sanctified and it continually reminds us of the need to remain focused on doing God's work, however many pressures and distractions may arise from the task at hand.

To Bishops, Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC

17 April 2008

Who can deny that the present moment is a crossroads, not only for the Church in America but also for society as a whole? It is a time of great promise, as we see the human family in many ways drawing closer together and becoming ever more interdependent. Yet at the same time we see clear signs of a disturbing breakdown in the very foundations of society: signs of alienation, anger and polarization on the part of many of our contemporaries; increased violence; a weakening of the moral sense; a coarsening of social relations; and a growing forgetfulness of Christ and God.

The fidelity and courage with which the Church in this country will respond to the challenges raised by an increasingly secular and materialistic culture will depend in large part upon your own fidelity in handing on the treasure of our Catholic faith. Young people need to be helped to discern the path that leads to true freedom: the path of a sincere and generous imitation of Christ, the path of commitment to justice and peace.

The challenges confronting us require a comprehensive and sound instruction in the truths of the faith. But they also call for cultivating a mindset, an intellectual "culture", which is genuinely Catholic, confident in the profound harmony of faith and reason, and prepared to bring the richness of faith's vision to bear on the urgent issues which affect the future of American society.

Let us trust in the Spirit's power to inspire conversion, to heal every wound, to overcome every division, and to inspire new life and freedom. How much we need these gifts! And how close at hand they are, particularly in the sacrament of Penance! The liberating power of this sacrament, in which our honest confession of sin is met by God's merciful word of pardon and peace, needs to be rediscovered and reappropriated by every Catholic. To a great extent, the renewal of the Church in America depends on the renewal of the practice of Penance and the growth in holiness which that sacrament both inspires and accomplishes.

Homily, Nationals Park, Washington, DC

A university or school's Catholic identity is not simply a question of the number of Catholic students. It is a question of conviction - do we really believe that only in the mystery of the Word made flesh does the mystery of man truly become clear (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22)?

Freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in - a participation in Being itself. Hence authentic freedom can never be attained by turning away from God. Such a choice would ultimately disregard the very truth we need in order to understand ourselves.

When nothing beyond the individual is recognized as definitive, the ultimate criterion of judgment becomes the self and the satisfaction of the individual's immediate wishes. The objectivity and perspective, which can only come through a recognition of the essential transcendent dimension of the human person, can be lost. Within such a relativistic horizon the goals of education are inevitably curtailed. Slowly, a lowering of standards occurs. We observe today a timidity in the face of the category of the good and an aimless pursuit of novelty parading as the realization of freedom. We witness an assumption that every experience is of equal worth and a reluctance to admit imperfection and mistakes. And particularly disturbing, is the reduction of the precious and delicate area of education in sexuality to management of 'risk', bereft of any reference to the beauty of conjugal love.

To Educators, Catholic University, Washington, DC

By bearing witness to those moral truths which they hold in common with all men and women of goodwill, religious groups will exert a positive influence on the wider culture, and inspire neighbors, co-workers and fellow citizens to join in the task of strengthening the ties of solidarity.

While always uniting our hearts and minds in the call for peace, we must also listen attentively to the voice of truth. In this way, our dialogue will not stop at identifying a common set of values, but go on to probe their ultimate foundation. We have no reason to fear, for the truth unveils for us the essential relationship between the world and God.

To Interfaith Communities, John Paul II Cultural Center, Washington, DC

2 comments:

Josephus Flavius said...

A comment I have also heard of the Latin Catholic Church in India. TONS of priests and TONS of congregations and groups, but they have submerged themselves in the convoluted mass they created.

Before reading that this week I had never thought about how growth could be so inward looking that even if you have tons of priests it fails to aid church growth.


Good luck in the Eastern Christian Blog Awards!

The Byzantine Rambler said...

It is so. The Priest is to be the father of the congregation and to pastor them as beloved children of God. This requires knowledge and erudition, yes; but more significantly, it requires faith and prayer. In too many priestly circles, a man (or woman) with degrees in theology is said to be a "theologian". As we know in the East, one cannot be a theologian without a sincere, humble and intimate prayerlife. Priests who abuse cannot be truly men of prayer - it is an impossibility. For how can they be men of prayer while manifestly living unchaste lives?

A well-thumbed breviary may not guarantee that the priest will not abuse, but it will significantly decrease the chances that he will. Of course, this requires that the priest be trained in right belief, and appreciate the gift of salvation. And it requires the strength of the intercessory prayer of the laity. (This Sunday, I begged our people to pray for me; not because of fear of abuse, but because I am just a weak sinner, perhaps more sinful than my flock. I need those prayers.)

May our Lord guide the hands of the Holy Father and all the Bishops to take more care in ordaining holy men. May our Lord guide us who are ordained into ever deeper love for prayer.

Sorry, you know how I do ramble!

PS Thanks for encouragement about the blog awards. I doubt this humble blog will even be considered. There are too many very good ones out there.

 
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