Pope Benedict XVI: March 2013 Archives

A papal brotherhood

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Only speculation exists at this point as to any of the details on the meeting of the Pope and the Pope emeritus, today at Castel Gandolfo (other than those revealed by the Press Officer for the Holy See, Father Lombardi, SJ, and those others allowed to witness an epic event): dress, the embrace, prayer together, a gift of an icon of Our Lady of Humility, a meal, and a 45 minute private meeting. There is a deep communion between the two of them. And there is no shortage of news making analysis, including Vatican Radio. The beautiful acknowledgement of Pope Francis was, and very emotionally charged, I believe, was his reference, "We are brothers."

Português: Cerimônia de canonização do frade b...
The answer to this question will not be in its final form for a long time. The papacy only ended a few weeks ago. Historians will have to look at several things before they will be able to reflect back with greater precision that a video or a blog commentary can provide in 2013. There are several things that Pope Benedict's 8 year reign that give good indicators as to what we engage with in the years ahead. Many more intelligent than I have thought this question through, but Father Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Chicago has made a good first attempt when he posits that Benedict will be remembered for:

1. being able to give a more authentic interpretative key to the Second Vatican Council; that is, naming the true mission of the Church;

2. being able to present the objective truth of the faith as taught by the Church these 2 thousand years with the clear awareness that the truth is about the Divine Love lived in joy; this is often called affirmative orthodoxy: the big 'yes' vs. the fat 'no';
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Pope Francis met with media

Pope Francis met with media

I don't think Pope Francis will be too different from the last several Roman Pontiffs. As bishop of Rome he will preach and teach, govern and sanctify.The Pope's un-programatic homily is in fact programatic if you can read the details. In some ways Francis's homily is an Aesopian creature.

First, style is substance. Second, the liturgical preaching thus far indicates a trajectory. Third, focus on the Pope's connection with people of belief and unbelief because this connection ought to be assessed for the facts and and not cliché. What the Pope said and what he's done matters. Who's present, and who's not. (And this data is not to be reduced to politics.) All this is to say that you can't miss "a trick" if you really want to know what and who Pope Francis is, and why he is doing what he's doing and with whom. 

We are living nothing different from what Blessed John Paul and Pope Benedict did in their pontificates. Three things to pray for daily: conversion, vocation and mission.

A "news" man and priest whom I respect very much is the editor-in-chief for AsiaNews.it, Bernardo Cervellera. Tonight, his article, "Like Benedict, mission is Pope Francis's focus," captures what I am indicating and what I am urging you to attend.

Want to be informed about Christianity, and the global Church of Christ, read AsiaNews.it.
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The Church needs reform, as always, a personal conversion. Turning to Jesus Christ is an act of freedom. What baggage do we have that would prevent change, or hinder me from confessing and living differently as a Christian? Reform starts not with institutional works, but with oneself. Governance is not the only issue that we have to be vigilant of with this new papacy; conversion of life starts locally and spreads. As Francis said yesterday in his first Mass as the Bishop of Rome, we need to walk, to build, to confess with, for and by each and every person so that we see the glory of God. We need to untie the knots that were spoken of by Saint Ireneaus. All this talk of reform includes the Curia, it is not business as usual. The Pope will remind us and lead us by his own life. He now holds office as the Vicar of Christ. He has suffered much close to  To that end, today Pope Francis spoke to the gathered cardinals in the Sala Clementina. His address follows.

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This period of the Conclave has been filled with meaning not just for the College of Cardinals but also for all the faithful. During these days we have felt almost palpably the affection and solidarity of the universal Church, as well as the attention of many people who, even if not sharing our faith, look upon the Church and the Holy See with respect and admiration.

From every corner of the earth a heart-felt chorus of prayer was raised by Christian peoples for the new Pope, and my first encounter with the crowds filling St. Peter's Square was an emotional one. With that eloquent image of a praying and joyful populace still fixed in my mind, I would like to manifest my sincere gratitude to the Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, young people, families, and to the aged for their spiritual closeness which is so touching and sincere.

John Allen quoted Pope Benedict about the role of the Holy Spirit's work in the conclave:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. ... I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit's role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.


There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

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If you want to read a beautiful letter from the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, Kyril I, to Pope Benedict XVI, read the following. 

On 1 March 2013, His Holiness, Patriarch Kyril I of Moscow sent a message to His Holiness, Benedict XVI, pope-emeritus.

Your Holiness!In these exceptional days for you, I would like to express the feelings of brotherly love in Christ and respect.

The decision to leave the position of Bishop of Rome, which you, with humility and simplicity, announced on February 11 this year, has found a ready response in the hearts of millions of Catholics.

We have always been close to your consistent ministry, marked by uncompromisingness in matters of faith and unswerving adherence to the living Tradition of the Church. At a time when the ideology of permissiveness and moral relativism tries to dislodge the moral values of life, you boldly raised your voice in defence of the ideals of the Gospel, the high dignity of man and his vocation to freedom from sin. 

Pope Benedictus XVI
On Monday, 18 March, Christopher Candela will be a speaker at Saint Thomas More Church (NYC) at 7pm on "Teaching Beauty: A Reflection on the Legacy of Benedict XVI's Pontificate." This lecture is part of the MORE Hot Topics series.

Pope Benedict XVI, who finished his pontificate yesterday (28 February 2013), is considered to be one of the most brilliant minds in a century.

From its humble beginning to its historic conclusion, Benedict's pontificate will be remembered for its prolific teaching. Benedict reminds us that logos precedes ethos, and that discerning beauty is essential in the pursuit of truth. Through the Holy Father's teachings, Mr. Candela will explore the practical reforms that gave voice to Catholic musicians and artists who in previous decades had been relegated to "the rearguard of culture."

Support my friend in this very worthy endeavor.

The flyer: Teaching Beauty.pdf

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vB Post Critical Bib Inter.pngI can't verify this information personally but Salt and Light TV heard the news bite, and it sounds right, that one of the books Benedict XVI will be reading in his retirement is W.T. Dickens' Hans Urs von Balthasar's Theological Aesthetics: A Model for Post-Critical Biblical Interpretation (UND Press, 2003).

Dr. Dickens also published a journal article in The Heythrop Journal, "The Liturgical Shaping of Biblical Interpretation" (March 2012; Vol. 53, Is 2;  pp. 191-203).

W.T. Dickens earned his doctorate at Yale, was a visiting professor at Cornell University and is now the Chair of Religious Studies at Siena College.

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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This page is a archive of entries in the Pope Benedict XVI category from March 2013.

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