Information on Bendict XVI: February 23-29, 2008

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Information on Bendict XVI

The Marian Library
Torch: February 23-29, 2008
by Brother John Mullan, LC - Translator

A weekly report on the Holy Father’s messages and activities


Educating youth is difficult, not impossible: “Education has never been easy, and today it seems to be becoming more difficult than ever. […] Nonetheless, we feel supported by a great hope, a deep trust, […] that even in our times it is possible to educate in goodness.” (Ceremony in St. Peter's Square to present letter on education, Saturday, Feb 23)

Like a good father, God desires the best for mankind, which is God himself: “The thirst of Christ is an entranceway into the mystery of God, who made himself thirsty to refresh us, as he made himself poor to enrich us. Yes, God thirsts for our faith and our love. Like a good and merciful father he desires for us all possible good and this good is God himself.” (Message before reciting the midday Angelus, Sunday, Feb 24)

The only water that can quench man’s thirst is the Holy Spirit’s: “If there is a physical thirst for water that is indispensable for living on the earth, there is also in man a spiritual thirst that only God can quench, [...] a thirst for the infinite that can only be satisfied by the water that Jesus offers, the living water of the Spirit.” (Homily given at the Parish of Santa Maria Liberatrice in Rome, Sunday, Feb 24)

No one should die alone: “No believer should die alone and abandoned. […] Though aware of the fact that 'it is not science that redeems man,' all of society, and in particular the sectors associated with medical science, are duty bound to express the solidarity of love, and to safeguard and respect human life in every moment of its earthly development, especially when it is ill or in its terminal stages.” (Audience with participants in an international congress of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Monday, Feb 25)

Augustine, a model of humility. Conversion ends the day we die: “Only Christ himself realizes truly and completely the Sermon on the Mount. We always need to be cleansed by Christ, who washes our feet, and be renewed by him. We need a permanent conversion. Up to the end we need to demonstrate a humility that acknowledges that we are sinners on a journey, until the Lord gives us his hand and leads us to eternal life. It is with this attitude of humility that Augustine lived out his final days until his death.” (Catechesis delivered at the general audience in Paul VI Hall, Wednesday, Feb 27)

Overcome violence with a strong family: “The truth is that the family is a vital asset for the Church and for society, as well as being a basic factor in constructing peace. Hence, you feel the need to revitalize and reinforce adequate and effective pastoral care among families in all your dioceses, offering young people a solid spiritual and emotional formation that may help them discover the beauty of God's plan for human love, and enable them coherently to experience the authentic values of marriage and the family such as tenderness, mutual respect, self-control, total dedication and constant fidelity.” (Audience with the prelates from the episcopal conference of El Salvador, Thursday, Feb 28)

Any international decision must take everyone’s rights into account: “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose sixtieth anniversary we celebrate this year, was the product of a world-wide recognition that a just global order can only be based on the acknowledgment and defense of the inviolable dignity and rights of every man and woman. This recognition, in turn, must motivate every decision affecting the future of the human family and all its members.” (Audience with the ambassador of the United States to the Holy See, Friday, Feb 29)

Catholic charity is gospel love, not philanthropy: “We must not forget that works of charity are an important area in which to meet people who do not yet know Christ, or who know him only partially. [...] Those who work in the many forms of charitable activity of the Church cannot, then, content themselves just with offering technical services or resolving practical problems and difficulties. The assistance they provide must never be reduced to mere philanthropy but must be a tangible expression of evangelical love.” (Audience with participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor, Friday, Feb 29)

Principal activities of the Holy Father

Saturday, Feb 23: The Pope held a ceremony in St. Peter's Square to present families, teachers and young people with the letter he wrote January 21 to the Diocese of Rome concerning education’s vital importance.

Sunday, Feb 24: The Holy Father recited the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square, after which he expressed his closeness to those in Ecuador affected by recent flooding caused by heavy rains since mid-January. He also visited the Parish of Santa Maria Liberatrice in Rome's Testaccio district.

Monday, Feb 25: The Pope received in audience participants in the international congress of the Pontifical Academy for Life titled "Close by the Incurable Sick Person and the Dying: Scientific and Ethical Aspects."

Tuesday, Feb 26: Benedict XVI sent emergency aid to 11 dioceses in Ecuador affected by flooding.

Wednesday, Feb 27: The Pope held his weekly general audience in Paul VI Hall. He also appointed Auxiliary Bishop Earl Boyea of Detroit, Michigan, as the leader of the Lansing Diocese.

Thursday, Feb 28: The Pope received the prelates from the episcopal conference of El Salvador, who have recently completed their five-yearly visit.

Friday, Feb 29: The preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Father Rainero Cantalamessa, delivered a Lenten meditation to Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia. The sermon was the second in a series of Lenten meditations the preacher will give this Lent. The Holy Father received in audience Mary Ann Glendon, the new ambassador of the United States to the Holy See. He also received in audience participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, who are meeting to reflect on the theme: "Human and Spiritual Qualities of People Who Work in Catholic Charity Institutions."

A prayer for the Holy Father

Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.



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