Pope Benedict XVI: June 2011 Archives

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The Church celebrates today great solemn feast of Saints Peter and Paul, it is also the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict's priestly ordination as well as the day the See of Constantinople sends a delegation to Rome to pray at the tombs of the two great saints and to meet with the Pope. Plus, it is the day in which the metropolitan archbishops who have been appointed in the last calendar year come to Rome to receive the palium (see below). The USA has for archbishops receiving their pallium today: San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Seattle and Los Angelos. All four of these archbishops are under 60. Watch the video clip.

"Non iam dicam servos, sed amicos" - "I no longer call you servants, but friends" (cf. Jn 15:15).

Sixty years on from the day of my priestly ordination, I hear once again deep within me these words of Jesus that were addressed to us new priests at the end of the ordination ceremony by the Archbishop, Cardinal Faulhaber, in his slightly frail yet firm voice. According to the liturgical practice of that time, these words conferred on the newly-ordained priests the authority to forgive sins. "No longer servants, but friends": at that moment I knew deep down that these words were no mere formality, nor were they simply a quotation from Scripture. I knew that, at that moment, the Lord himself was speaking to me in a very personal way. In baptism and confirmation he had already drawn us close to him, he had already received us into God's family. But what was taking place now was something greater still. He calls me his friend. He welcomes me into the circle of those he had spoken to in the Upper Room, into the circle of those whom he knows in a very special way, and who thereby come to know him in a very special way. He grants me the almost frightening faculty to do what only he, the Son of God, can legitimately say and do: I forgive you your sins. He wants me - with his authority - to be able to speak, in his name ("I" forgive), words that are not merely words, but an action, changing something at the deepest level of being. I know that behind these words lies his suffering for us and on account of us. I know that forgiveness comes at a price: in his Passion he went deep down into the sordid darkness of our sins. He went down into the night of our guilt, for only thus can it be transformed. And by giving me authority to forgive sins, he lets me look down into the abyss of man, into the immensity of his suffering for us men, and this enables me to sense the immensity of his love. He confides in me: "No longer servants, but friends". He entrusts to me the words of consecration in the Eucharist. He trusts me to proclaim his word, to explain it aright and to bring it to the people of today. He entrusts himself to me. "You are no longer servants, but friends": these words bring great inner joy, but at the same time, they are so awe-inspiring that one can feel daunted as the decades go by amid so many experiences of one's own frailty and his inexhaustible goodness.

Benedict launches new news portal.jpgToday, Pope Benedict launched a new Vatican website with a new iPad. 

The Pope made tweet today --the first ever by a Supreme Pontiff-- when he launched the brand new news portal, News.va. This news portal collects all the communications into one place: the news will be updated in English at least 3 times a day.

And, what did the Pope say? His Holiness tweeted:

"Dear Friends, I just launched news.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI."

He tweeted in English.

Watch the Pope as he's presented with the iPad.
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Yesterday Pope Benedict visited San Marino. You remember, San Marino is the oldest republic founded by Saint Marin, a deacon, and Saint Leo who escaped the clutches of the Emperor Diocletian by coming from Dalmatia to Rimini. San Marino is in central Italy with about 24 square miles with a population of about 31K. San Marino was first founded as a monastic community in the early period of the 4th century and today it is governed by a constitution adopted in 1600 and is still in effect. Two interesting facts: Saint Agatha is the patron saint and Abraham Lincoln was an honorary citizen.

Follow the Pope in a historical way (even spiritually) who'll notice his insistence on Europeans --indeed all nations with Christian roots-- preserving and appreciating Christian tradition as the moral ground of society. There's a tendency today to push aside one's Christian patrimony in favor of a secularist mentality that rejects Christ and His Gospel. It seems that we are now embarrassed by our belief in Christ; we longer say with confidence that Christ died for me and that He's now risen from the dead and that the Holy Spirit lives in us; that we are scared by what others are going to say and I dare say we'd rather be superficial and believe in nothing than accept the offer of Love from God. Why is it that Christ, who is the source of our being and our destiny is easily dismissed?

In San Marino, Pope Benedict exhorts us all to hold fast to what has been given to us: freedom, love, and meaning.

My heartfelt gratitude for your hospitality, in particular I express my gratitude to the captains regent, also for the courteous words they addressed to me. I greet the members of the government and of the Congress, as well as the diplomatic corps and all the other authorities gathered here. In addressing you, I embrace ideally the whole people of San Marino. From its birth, this republic has had friendly relations with the Apostolic See, and in recent times they have been intensified and consolidated; my presence here, in the heart of this ancient republic, expresses and confirms this friendship

Together in Christ

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Pope Benedictus XVI

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The Pope's "Together in Christ" two day visit of Croatia was significant for several reasons. For him, and I think for all of us who were either physically in Zagreb or tuned via the media, time spent with the Croatians was monumental because it clearly exhibited the "dynamism of communion." (What visit of a pope is insignificant, the wag asks?) In his own words, the Benedict reviews the events he and the world lived with him in this way:

  • "the experience of finding ourselves together united in the name of Christ,
  • the experience of being Church, which is manifested ... around the Successor of Peter. 
  • 'Together in Christ' referred in a particular way to the family (... the occasion of my visit was the First National Day of Croatian Catholic Families...

It was very important for me to confirm in the faith especially these families that the Second Vatican Council called "domestic churches" (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11). 

In today's Europe [and one can extend this to the globe], nations with a strong Christian tradition have a special responsibility to defend and promote the value of the family founded on marriage, which remains decisive both within the field of education as well as in the social sphere."

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WOW! Imagine giving a prize in your own name! Well, if you are the Pope and an eminent theologian, you can (and will). This is cool, as "they" say. Vatican Radio announced today that the Pope has given the prize in theological studies in this thought. While 2 of the 3 are senior in age and wisdom, but don't be fooled: all of them are top scholars and widely known; the youngest recipient has a lot more juice in him. Abbot Maximillian is the author of a brilliant book on Ratzinger's theology, Joseph Ratzinger: Life in the Church and Living Theology (Ignatius Press 2007). 

The Rome Reports story is here. The Holy See's story follows:

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The first three winners of the Ratzinger Prize were announced on Tuesday in the Vatican Press Office. The prize was established last year to promote theological studies on the writings of the Pope, and to reward promising scholars. The prizes will be given out by Pope Benedict on June 30th.

The Ratzinger Prize is a project of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, which was funded by Pope Benedict with the royalties he has received from his books.

The prizes and the conferences the foundation sponsors focus on helping the truth, meaning and beauty of Christianity in relation to today's culture and society emerge.

On Tuesday, the first three winners of the Ratzinger Prize were announced.
The primacy of the human is based on our belief in the transcendent. All aspects of the human person --politics, philosophy, ethics, economics and medicine-- are rooted in the respect of and in engagement with the Divine. Catholics will further develop this idea of the transcendent by reflecting on the Trinity of the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. A personal God who lives and is active in history. The pope addressed the new ambassadors of Moldova, Equatorial Guinea, Belize, Syria, Ghana and New Zealand on 9 June when they presented their diplomatic credentials to the Holy See. Ordinarily, one doesn't pay lots of attention to papal discourses made to the diplomats but it seems that there is some serious thinking going on here with the Pope viz. this sector of his ministry.
Meeting with Europe's Gypsy community is not something hear about too often. Let alone with the Pope. His Holiness met with the Gypsies today. The Gypsies made a pilgrimage to Rome to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of their heavenly patron and martyr, Blessed Ceferino Giménez Malla (1861-1936); it is also the 75th anniversary of his martyrdom; John Paul II beatified Gimenez in 1997 (here's the beatification homily).

This is not the first time a pope has met with Europe's gypsy communities. Paul VI met twice with them, John Paul in 1997 and in 2000 and now Benedict. The Church has worked with Gypsies consistently over the years traveling with them as their chaplains.

Benedict said three things that stand out: 

"The conscience of Europe cannot forget so much pain! Never again must your people be the object of vexations, rejections and disdain!"

"On your part, always seek justice, a law-abiding life, reconciliation...avoid being a cause of another's suffering."

"The Church walks with you and She challenges you to live according to the high and demanding requirements of the gospel, confiding in Christ's strength, toward a better future."

Read the Q&A with Archbishop Antonio Maria Vegliò, the organizer of the meeting between the Holy Father and 2000 people from the various Gypsy communities.

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I am very glad that the first engagement of my visit should be with you, representing as you do key sectors of Croatian society and the Diplomatic Corps. My cordial greetings go to each of you personally and also to the important communities to which you belong: religious, political, academic and cultural, the world of the arts, finance and sport. I thank Archbishop Puljic and Professor Zurak for the kind words they have addressed to me, and I thank the musicians who have welcomed me in the universal language of music. This dimension of universality, characteristic of art and culture, is particularly appropriate for Christianity and the Catholic Church. Christ is fully human, and whatever is human finds in him and in his word the fullness of life and meaning.

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The general intention

That priests, united to the Heart of Christ, may always be true witnesses to the caring and merciful love of God.

The missionary intention

That the Holy Spirit may bring forth from our communities many missionaries who are ready to be fully consecrated to spreading the Kingdom of God.

When the bishop of a diocese celebrates the Chrism Mass during Holy Week each year he does two things: he blesses and consecrates the holy oils used for the sacraments and he leads the assembled priests in the "Renewal of Commitment to Priestly Service." The laity are asked by the bishop to pray for their priests asking "the Lord to bless them with the fullness of his love, to help them be faithful ministers of Christ the High Priest, so that they will be able to lead" the faithful to their eternal destiny: life with the Most Blessed Trinity.

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 June 2011.

Pope Benedict XVI: May 2011 is the previous archive.

Pope Benedict XVI: July 2011 is the next archive.

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