Pope Benedict XVI: January 2011 Archives

The Pope's homily for Vespers at the Basilica of Saint Paul's Outside the Walls for the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul and the closing of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. A video clip of the event.

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Following the example of Jesus, who on the eve of his Passion prayed to the Father for his disciples "that they may all be one" (John 17:21), Christians continue to invoke incessantly from God the gift of this unity. This request is made more intense during the Week of Prayer, which ends today, when the Churches and ecclesial Communities meditate and pray together for the unity of all Christians.

This year the theme offered for our meditation was proposed by the Christian communities of Jerusalem, to which I would like to express by heartfelt gratitude, accompanied by the assurance of affection and prayer either on my part or on that of the whole of the Church. The Christians of the Holy City invite us to renew and 

Here's Pope Benedict's letter for the World Day of Social Communications. There many great things in the document to ponder for our own personal development in the face of Truth, gospel and our brothers and sisters.

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On the occasion of the 45th World Day of Social Communications, I would like to share some reflections that are motivated by a phenomenon characteristic of our age: the emergence of the internet as a network for communication. It is an ever more commonly held opinion that, just as the Industrial Revolution in its day brought about a profound transformation in society by the modifications it introduced into the cycles of production and the lives of workers, so today the radical changes taking place in communications are guiding significant cultural and social developments. The new technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. This means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship.

The Pope always seems to get criticized at every twist-and-turn. He announced a gathering in Assisi to have a World Day of Prayer in part to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first Day of Prayer hosted by John Paul II and to build bridges -he is the Pontiff, the "bridge builder"--after all. Benedict's noble and good motive is this: "I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of different confessions, leaders of the world's religious traditions and, in their hearts, all men and women of good will, to join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor, and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace."

We have the state of the school address, the state of the state address, the state of the nation address, and even have the state of the world. Today, Pope Benedict XVI delivered his 'state of the world' speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Depending on how you count, there are between 178 to 181 diplomats at the Holy See. Please note the Pontiff's concentration on religious freedom; he is, head and shoulders above all world leaders, the voice for religious freedom as the path to true, lasting peace. The Pope's address, the original was delivered in French:

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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I am pleased to welcome you, the distinguished representatives of so many countries, to this meeting which each year assembles you around the Successor of Peter. It is a deeply significant meeting, since it is a sign and illustration of the place of the Church and of the Holy See in the international community. I offer my greetings and cordial good wishes to each of you, and particularly to those who have come for the first time. I am grateful to you for the commitment and interest with which, in the exercise of your demanding responsibilities, you follow my activities, those of the Roman Curia and thus, in some sense, the life of the Catholic Church throughout the world. Your Dean, Ambassador Alejandro Valladares Lanza, has interpreted your sentiments and I thank him for the good wishes which he has expressed to me in the name of all. Knowing how close-knit your community is, I am certain that today you are also thinking of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Baroness van Lynden-Leijten, who several weeks ago returned to the house of the Father. I prayerfully share your sentiments.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, responded to what I believe is unfair, even bigoted criticism of Pope Benedict by Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of Egypt following the January 1st bombing of a Coptic Orthodox church. 21 dead and nearly a 100 wounded. Clear it is to me, the Muslim world rarely pays close attention to what the Catholic Church believes and what the Pope says.

Ahmed al-Tayeb, current current Imam of al-Azhar Mosque, condemned the bombing. The imam paid a visit to the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III to offer condolences. But his good will toward the Christians however, also include a strident criticism Pope Benedict who asked civil authorities to protect Christians. In Al-Tayeb's mind the Pope's request was an "unacceptable interference in Egypt's affairs." Further, said al-Tayeb, "I disagree with the Pope's view, and I ask why did the Pope not call for the protection of Muslims when they were subjected to killings in Iraq?"

Apostolic Letter in the Form of Motu Proprio

Ubicumque et Semper

of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI
the Pontifical Council For Promoting the New Evangelization

It is the duty of the Church to proclaim always and everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He, the first and supreme evangelizer, commanded the Apostles on the day of his Ascension to the Father: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28:19-20). Faithful to this mandate, the Church--a people chosen by God to declare his wonderful deeds (cf. 1 Peter 2:9)--ever since she received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:14), has never tired of making known to the whole world the beauty of the Gospel as she preaches Jesus Christ, true God and true man, the same "yesterday and today and for ever" (Heb 13:8), who, by his death and Resurrection, brought us salvation and fulfilled the promise made of old. Hence the mission of evangelization, a continuation of the work desired by the Lord Jesus, is necessary for the Church: it cannot be overlooked; it is an expression of her very nature.

"An offense against God and all humanity," Pope Benedict XVI told those gathered in St Peter's Square for the praying of the Angelus and an address in which he described the New Year's eve bombing of a Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria, Egypt. There's been a consistent campaign to terrorize and kill Christians in Arab nations. This was the latest round of Muslim attacks.

The Pope said "Yesterday morning we learned with sorrow the news of the serious attack against the Coptic Christian community in Alexandria, Egypt. This vile act of death, such as planting bombs close to the homes of Christians in Iraq to force them to leave, offends God and all humanity, who only yesterday prayed for peace and began the New Year with hope".

The Holy Father appealed for Christians to recall the Gospel teachings of non-violence: "Before this strategy of violence that has targeted Christians, and has consequences for the whole population, I pray for the victims and family members, and encourage church communities to persevere in faith and witness to non-violence that comes from the Gospel". 

"Today we continue to contemplate the divine mystery of Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary. He is the Word of God made flesh for our salvation, the Wisdom of God who has come to enlighten us. Let us always cherish this presence of Jesus who brings us grace and truth! I wish you all a pleasant Sunday and renew my good wishes for a Happy New Year!"

... as Christians "we remain united in Christ, our hope and our peace!"

JP II Day of Prayer, Assisi 1986.jpg"The year 2011 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Peace convened in Assisi in 1986 by Pope John Paul II. On that occasion the leaders of the great world religions testified to the fact that religion is a factor of union and peace, and not of division and conflict. The memory of that experience gives reason to hope for a future in which all believers will see themselves, and will actually be, agents of justice and peace."

Pope Benedict XVI
2011 World Day of Peace message

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A key theme in Pope Benedict's thinking and pastoral program is the place of religious freedom in our thinking and our actions. He devoted this year's message for the XLIV World Day of Peace. He's also set a similar theme for 2011's World Youth Day in Madrid. Several other events through the next year, like the gathering of religions in Assisi in October, aim in the Pope's mind to help the human family grow in authentic and lasting peace. 

The whole text of Pope Benedict XVI's 2011 message for the World Day of Peace

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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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Pope Benedict XVI category from January 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI: December 2010 is the previous archive.

Pope Benedict XVI: February 2011 is the next archive.

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