Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Benedict XVI: “We are aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our consequent responsibility”

Pope Benedictus XVI at a private audience (jan...

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VATICANO - “Faith is not a thing of the past, but an encounter with the God Who lives and acts now”: Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – In his Address to the Roman Curia on the occasion of exchanging Christmas greetings on 20 December, the Holy Father Benedict XVI recalled as usual on this occasion, the main events of the past year. Firstly, the Pope cited the Year for Priests which renewed in priests and in the laity an “awareness arose of the great gift of the priesthood of the Catholic Church, which was entrusted to us by the Lord.” Thus, highlighted the Holy Father, “our shock was even greater when, precisely in this year and in a dimension that we could not imagine, we became aware of the abuse of minors committed by priests who distort the Sacrament into its antithesis: under the veil of the sacred they inflicted profound harm on human beings in their infancy, causing damages that lasts a lifetime.”
Citing a vision of St Hildegard of Bingen, the Pope said: “In St. Hildegard's vision the face of the Church was soiled with dust, and this is how we saw it. Her vestments were torn, and the fault was of priests. Just as she saw and expressed her vision, so have we lived this year. We must humbly accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal.” After confirming that “We are aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our consequent responsibility”, the Holy Father invited all to examine this within the current context: “There is a market for child pornography which, in some way, seems to be increasingly considered by society as something normal.... From Bishops from Third World countries, I hear again and again how sex tourism threatens an entire generation and of the damages to its freedom and human dignity.... In this context, the issue of drugs also comes up, which with increasing force stretches its tentacles around the entire globe.”
The second theme for reflection centred on the Special Assembly for the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which began with the Papal Visit to Cyprus where the Holy Father consigned the Instrumentum laboris to the gathered Bishops from Cyprus. “During the Synod itself”, he added, “our gaze was extended over the whole of the Middle East, where the followers of different religions - as well as a variety of traditions and distinct rites - live together.... In the turmoil of recent years, the tradition of peaceful coexistence has been shattered... with the result that we witness with increasing alarm acts of violence in which there is no longer any respect for what the other holds sacred.... In the present situation, Christians are the most oppressed and tormented minority.... On the basis of the spirit of faith and its rationality, the Synod developed a grand concept of dialogue, forgiveness and mutual acceptance, a concept that we now want to proclaim to the world. The human being is one, and humanity is one. Whatever damage is done to another in any one place, ends up by damaging everyone. Thus the words and the thoughts of the Synod must be a clarion call, addressed to all people with political or religious responsibility, to put a stop to Christianophobia; to rise up in defence of refugees and all who are suffering, and to revitalise the spirit of reconciliation. In final analysis the Pope spoke of a recovery which can only come from a deep faith in the reconciling love of God. To give strength to this faith, to nourish it and to let it shine is the main task of the Church today.”
Finally Benedict XVI spoke of his Visit to the United Kingdom, recalling the encounter with the world of culture in Westminster Hall, and the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, and mentioning the Trips to Malta, Portugal and Spain, where “it once again became evident that the faith is not a thing of the past, but an encounter with the God Who lives and acts now. He calls us to the challenge and to oppose our laziness, because in this way the path opens to the true joy”. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 21/12/2010)

The full text of the Holy Father's Address, in Italian


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