Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI forgives former butler Paolo Gabriele


B16 Paolo Gabrele.JPGForgiveness is only possible with God’s grace. Pope John Paul II taught us this fact several times with the events of his own life and in Church life. Pope Benedict’s papacy has notable grievances that require pardon. Today is a good example with the Pope forgiving the actions of his former butler Paolo Gabriele who leaked to the world the Pope’s private letters and arrested on 23 May 2012.

Paolo Gabriele, appealing to a high moral standard, said that he wanted the good of the Church by exposing evil and corruption that he loved the pope and the Church. No doubt Gabriele’s actions personally grieved Benedict in a very personal way, by the breaking of trust, it also opened the governance of the Church to harm. A Vatican Tribunal found Gabriele guilty and sentenced him to jail on 6 October 2012.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, is married with three children.

Vatican Radio’s Emer McCarthy posted this report. The Holy See’s Press Office released the following today:

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In a fractured world is Pope Benedict calling for political engagement?

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Pope Benedict
gave his annual address, a “State of the Church,” if you will, to the curial officials
of the Holy See today. 

You might say the content talk is crucially relevant for the
work of the Church and the proclamation of the Gospel as he reviews key events
and focuses on some themes.  Among many things which need our attention and reflection,
the Pope spoke about nature of man, family life, and inter-religious dialogue.
Regarding man in which he gave insight into, he speaks of how evil and destructive vague and
ideological the “gender conscious crowd” is to the nature of the person and removes God from conversation. Read the full text here.

The Pope notes the crisis of the family and its effect on society, caused by the
unwillingness to make a commitment and by unwillingness to suffer.  But he
goes beyond the symptoms to diagnose the cause of the crisis. This talk is not an attack, it is an appeal to truth.

Each of Pope
Benedict’s addresses to the Roman Curia are important, certainly the 2005
address stands out, but today’s will be memorable. 

Here’s a section:

First of
all there is the question of the human capacity to make a commitment or to
avoid commitment. Can one bind oneself for a lifetime? Does this correspond to
man’s nature? Does it not contradict his freedom and the scope of his
self-realization? Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only
entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any
time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to freedom? Is commitment also worth
suffering for? Man’s refusal to make any commitment – which is becoming
increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and
self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering – means that man
remains closed in on himself and keeps his ‘I’ ultimately for himself, without
really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only
by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by
letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of
his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human
existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the
experience of being human are lost”.

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Pope Benedict speaks to Roman Curia, reviews 2012, gives Christmas greetings

B16 blesses Curia 21 Dec 2012.jpgIt’s custom for the Holy Father to speak to the members of his Curia in way that reviews the past year, assessing the “situation” faced in the Apostolic ministry, and to give some idea of what will be worked on in the coming year. The address is ALWAYS worth the time to read, to study, and to reflect on in a serious manner. The Pope is a masterful thinker and writer; he really sets the bar pretty high but with clarity. One is clear to me is that the Pope is calling the laity to a new engagement in faith formation, worship of God, and cultural and political activities (not activism, there’s a difference). You might say that the goal of the Pope in his address is to help us to rediscover the gift and beauty of Catholic faith. As he notes, God comes to us in the circumstances of life. Some people will latch on the sensational parts of the talk, especially with some of the more heated topics discussed in society today but the raising of issues and talking about them intelligently isn’t a sign of trouble or weakness in the communion of the Church, but a way to seriously look at what is before us and to rely on God for help. We do, as you will agree, have a nostalgia for the Infinite which shows that we are limited human beings in need for a deeper conversion to the Good News. What the Pope reminds us here is that our Salvation doesn’t come from within us but is given by Someone outside, that is, by the Most Holy Trinity.
The foci:


A. pastoral visits: Mexcico, Cuba, Milan, Lebanon 

B. post-synodal exhortation to Eastern Churches
C. synod of bishops: on the New Evangelization
D. matters of concern: the family, marriage, justice, peace, interreligious dialogue, sexuality, evangelization, the person, community life, self-giving, conversion

The papal address

It is with great joy that I meet you today, dear Members of the College of Cardinals, Representatives of the Roman Curia and the Governorate, for this traditional event in the days leading up to the feast of Christmas. I greet each one of you cordially, beginning with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whom I thank for his kind words and for the warm good wishes that he extended to me on behalf of all present. The Dean of the College of Cardinals reminded us of an expression that appears frequently during these days in the Latin liturgy: Prope est iam Dominus, venite, adoremus! The Lord is already near, come, let us adore him! We too, as one family, prepare ourselves to adore the Child in the stable at Bethlehem who is God himself and has come so close as to become a man like us. I willingly reciprocate your good wishes and I thank all of you from my heart, including the Papal Representatives all over the world, for the generous and competent assistance that each of you offers me in my ministry.

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Papal twittering has a history

The real history of papal tweeting.
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Millions tweet, even the Pope

Habemus Twitter.jpgWe now have a Pope that tweets. It’s big news. Now there seems to be close to a million people following Pope Benedict’s Twitter account @pontifex in a variety of languages.

Below the fold in today’s USA Today Cathy Lynn Grossman wrote a story, “Papal faithful a-Twitter” looks at the phenomenon of papal twittering. Now we have papal cars, papal vestments, papal candidates, papal infallibility and now papal tweets. Among some incident things Ms. Grossman profiles Rachel Amiri who asked the Pope a really great question: 
“Holy Father, what is the best way to show others that God is Love in a world that thinks Christians only hate?”
Ms. Amiri hit the nail on the head. I hope her question gets chosen to be answered but if it doesn’t we now have the benefit of asking ourselves how we would answer Amiri?
Following the Pope’s lead I reactivated my Twitter account @paulzalonski because I thought he’s right to engage in social media because it is consistent with the missionary impulse of Jesus and it’s plain good sense to respond to those who are genuinely seeking God (cf. Saint Benedict & Saint John Bosco). We need to have their questions responded to. Want to effect change, want to inspire faith, want to show the beauty of the faith of the Church –you and me– need to be present in the lives of people. 
The personal is the only way to evangelize but it’s a little difficult with 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. To close the gap Twitter is one among many ways to attempt to be personal. Nothing replaces the personal presence of another; nothing is better that hearing another’s voice and feeling their hand extended in friendship. That’s the Divine lead we follow in the Incarnation: God so loved us that He sent His only Son. Let’s face it, we all want to know that those who lead us are actually listening to and caring for us. Sadly, many of the bishops and priests aren’t listening to faithful. Perhaps tweeting will yet again make the personal nature of the Incarnation known and love and followed. Perhaps the papal tweeting will help all of us see the face of Christ.
Will you follow the Pope, me?

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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