Pope Benedict XVI: October 2012 Archives

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The Pope's homily at the close of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.

The miracle of the healing of blind Bartimaeus comes at a significant point in the structure of Saint Mark's Gospel. It is situated at the end of the section on the "journey to Jerusalem", that is, Jesus' last pilgrimage to the Holy City, for the Passover, in which he knows that his passion, death and resurrection await him. In order to ascend to Jerusalem from the Jordan valley, Jesus passes through Jericho, and the meeting with Bartimaeus occurs as he leaves the city - in the evangelist's words, "as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude" (10:46). This is the multitude that soon afterwards would acclaim Jesus as Messiah on his entry into Jerusalem. Sitting and begging by the side of the road was Bartimaeus, whose name means "son of Timaeus", as the evangelist tells us. The whole of Mark's Gospel is a journey of faith, which develops gradually under Jesus' tutelage. The disciples are the first actors on this journey of discovery, but there are also other characters who play an important role, and Bartimaeus is one of them. His is the last miraculous healing that Jesus performs before his passion, and it is no accident that it should be that of a blind person, someone whose eyes have lost the light. We know from other texts too that the state of blindness has great significance in the Gospels. It represents man who needs God's light, the light of faith, if he is to know reality truly and to walk the path of life. It is essential to acknowledge one's blindness, one's need for this light, otherwise one could remain blind for ever (cf. Jn 9:39-41).

Brian Daley Ratzinger Award Alan Holdren CNA.jpgThe Ratzinger Prize is getting a whole currency these days: it is the second year that's been bestowed on worthy scholars. What's novel of me is that it's not everyday that you get a prize for serious work from the man the prize is named after, and that he's the Supreme Pontiff! The 2012 Ratzinger Prize was given to a French philosopher and American theologian on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Pope Benedict said that "Father Daley and Professor Brague are exemplary for the transmission of knowledge that unites science and wisdom, scientific rigor and passion for man, so that man might discover the [true] 'art of living.'" Chris Altieri has the Vatican Radio report here.

In the presence of  hundreds of bishops, the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, ecumenical partners and laity, Pope Benedict prayed the Mass and preached on the meaning of both the Second Vatican Council and the Year of Faith through the lens of conversion. Benedict is clear: the Year of Faith is not celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The Church needs not a special forum for this anniversary; it is all an invitation to conversion and to deepen one's faith in the Christ. The homily Pope Benedict delivered today follows.

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Today, fifty years from the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, we begin with great joy the Year of Faith. I am delighted to greet all of you, particularly His Holiness Bartholomaois I, Patriarch of Constantinople, and His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. A special greeting goes to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and to the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences. In order to evoke the Council, which some present had the grace to experience for themselves - and I greet them with particular affection - this celebration has been enriched by several special signs: the opening procession, intended to recall the memorable one of the Council Fathers when they entered this Basilica; the enthronement of a copy of the Book of the Gospels used at the Council; the consignment of the seven final Messages of the Council, and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I will do before the final blessing. These signs help us not only to remember, they also offer us the possibility of going beyond commemorating. They invite us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement which characterized Vatican II, to make it ours and to develop it according to its true meaning. And its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people, in the Church's pilgrimage along the pathways of history.

This morning in Rome, Pope Benedict opened the 13th Ordinary Synod of Bishops whose it will be to guide him and the entire Church, in the work of Evangelization. At Holy Mass, His Holiness bestowed the honor of being Doctors of the Church on Saint John of Avila and Saint Hildegard of Bingen. The Pope's homily follows.

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With this solemn concelebration we open the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. This theme reflects a programmatic direction for the life of the Church, its members, families, its communities and institutions. And this outline is reinforced by the fact that it coincides with the beginning of the Year of Faith, starting on 11 October, on the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. I give a cordial and grateful welcome to you who have come to be part of the Synodal Assembly, in particular to the Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, and to his colleagues. I salute the fraternal delegates of the other churches and ecclesial communities as well as all present, inviting them to accompany in daily prayer the deliberations which will take place over the next three weeks.

The readings for this Sunday's Liturgy of the Word propose to us two principal points of reflection: the first on matrimony, which I will touch shortly; and the second on Jesus Christ, which I will discuss now. We do not have time to comment upon the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews but, at the beginning of this Synodal Assembly, we ought to welcome the invitation to fix our gaze upon the Lord Jesus, "crowned with glory and honour, because of the suffering of death (2:9). The word of God places us before the glorious One who was crucified, so that our whole lives, and in particular the commitment of this Synodal session, will take place in the sight of him and in the light of his mystery. In every time and place, evangelization always has as its starting and finishing points Jesus Christ, the Son of God (cf. Mk 1:1); and the Crucifix is the supremely distinctive sign of him who announces the Gospel: a sign of love and peace, a call to conversion and reconciliation. My dear Brother Bishops, starting with ourselves, let us fix our gaze upon him and let us be purified by his grace.

Pope Benedict went to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, his 30th trip in Italy, to commemorate the visit Blessed John XXIII made when he called the Second Vatican Council entrusting her with the needs the Church and the Council. The Pope's homily follows.

On 4 October 1962, Blessed John XXIII came as a pilgrim to this Shrine to entrust to the Virgin Mary the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, due to begin a week later. On that occasion, with deep filial devotion to the Mother of God, he addressed her in these words: "Again today, and in the name of the entire episcopate, I ask you, sweetest Mother, as Help of Bishops
, to intercede for me as Bishop of Rome and for all the bishops of the world, to obtain for us the grace to enter the Council Hall of Saint Peter's Basilica, as the Apostles and the first disciples of Jesus entered the Upper Room: with one heart, one heartbeat of love for Christ and for souls, with one purpose only, to live and to sacrifice ourselves for the salvation of individuals and peoples. Thus, by your maternal intercession, in the years and the centuries to come, may it be said that the grace of God prepared, accompanied and crowned the twenty-first Ecumenical Council, filling all the children of the holy Church with a new fervour, a new impulse to generosity, and a renewed firmness of purpose" (AAS 54 [1962], 727).

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At the foot of the Cross, and with the help of Saint Thérèse, we ask for the following with Pope Benedict:

The general intention 

That the New Evangelization may progress in the oldest Christian countries. 

The mission intention 

That the celebration of World Mission Day may result in a renewed commitment to evangelization.

Also, may I recommend to our daily prayers the work the Church is about to embark on, that is the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization and those who are dealing with addiction (I have a family member who is trying to kick her addictions to the curb, but is facing her own opposition.)

Saints Joseph and Thérèse, pray for us.

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 October 2012.

Pope Benedict XVI: September 2012 is the previous archive.

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