Volume 5, Issue 121
- Roman Catholic News
Volume 5, Issue 121
22 AUGUST 2005
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WEAR THE BROWN SCAPULAR OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL AND
PRAY THE ROSARY DAILY FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE WHOLE
WORLD AND FOR CHURCH UNITY
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
. Benedict XVI's Address at World Youth Day Vigil
. Pope's Address to Muslim Representatives
. 2 Tell of Their Lunch With the Pope
. Sudanese Cardinal Undaunted in Peace Process
. Legacy of Brother Roger of Taizé
. Pope's Address in Synagogue of Cologne
. Benedict XVI's Address to Christians Meeting in Cologne
. Benedict XVI's Homily to Seminarians in Cologne
. CATALOGUE OF LINKS
. EUCHARISTIC PRAYER IN HONOR OF THE SORROWFUL HEART OF
. DAILY REMINDER
. ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS ARCHIVES
. COPYRIGHT NOTICES
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Benedict XVI's Address at World Youth Day Vigil
"Only From God Does True Revolution Come"
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave at this evening's vigil at World Youth Day.
Dear young friends,
In our pilgrimage with the mysterious Magi from the East, we have arrived at the moment which Saint Matthew describes in his Gospel with these words: "Going into the house (over which the star had halted), they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him" (Matthew 2:11). Outwardly, their journey was now over. They had reached their goal. But at this point a new journey began for them, an inner pilgrimage which changed their whole lives. Their mental picture of the infant King they were expecting to find must have been very different.
They had stopped at Jerusalem specifically in order to ask the King who lived there for news of the promised King who had been born. They knew that the world was in disorder, and for that reason their hearts were troubled. They were sure that God existed and that he was a just and gentle God. And perhaps they also knew of the great prophecies of Israel foretelling a King who would be intimately united with God, a King who would restore order to the world, acting for God and in his name. It was in order to seek this King that they had set off on their journey: Deep within themselves they felt prompted to go in search of the true justice that can only come from God, and they wanted to serve this King, to fall prostrate at his feet and so play their part in the renewal of the world. They were among those "who hunger and thirst for justice" (Matthew 5:6). This hunger and thirst had spurred them on in their pilgrimage -- they had become pilgrims in search of the justice that they expected from God, intending to devote themselves to its service.
Even if those who had stayed at home may have considered them Utopian dreamers, they were actually people with their feet on the ground, and they knew that in order to change the world it is necessary to have power. Hence they were hardly likely to seek the promised child anywhere but in the King's palace. Yet now they were bowing down before the child of poor people, and they soon came to realize that Herod, the King they had consulted, intended to use his power to lay a trap for him, forcing the family to flee into exile. The new King, to whom they now paid homage, was quite unlike what they were expecting. In this way they had to learn that God is not as we usually imagine him to be. This was where their inner journey began. It started at the very moment when they knelt down before this child and recognized him as the promised King. But they still had to assimilate these joyful gestures internally.
They had to change their ideas about power, about God and about man, and in so doing, they also had to change themselves. Now they were able to see that God's power is not like that of the powerful of this world. God's ways are not as we imagine them or as we might wish to them to be. God does not enter into competition with earthly powers in this world. He does not marshal his divisions alongside other divisions. God did not send twelve legions of angels to assist Jesus in the Garden of Olives (cf. Matthew 26:53). He contrasts the noisy and ostentatious power of this world with the defenseless power of love, which succumbs to death on the Cross, and dies ever anew throughout history; yet it is this same love which constitutes the new divine intervention that opposes injustice and ushers in the Kingdom of God. God is different -- this is what they now come to realize. And it means that they themselves must now become different, they must learn God's ways.
They had come to place themselves at the service of this King, to model their own kingship on his. That was the meaning of their act of homage, their adoration. Included in this were their gifts -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- gifts offered to a King held to be divine. Adoration has a content and it involves giving. Through this act of adoration, these men from the East wished to recognize the child as their King and to place their own power and potential at his disposal, and in this they were certainly on the right path. By serving and following him, they wanted, together with him, to serve the cause of good and the cause of justice in the world.
In this they were right. Now, though, they have to learn that this cannot be achieved simply through issuing commands from a throne on high. Now they have to learn to give themselves -- no lesser gift would be sufficient for this King. Now they have to learn that their lives must be conformed to this divine way of exercising power, to God's own way of being. They must become men of truth, of justice, of goodness, of forgiveness, of mercy. They will no longer ask: How can this serve me? Instead they will have to ask: How can I serve God's presence in the world? They must learn to lose their life and in this way to find it. Having left Jerusalem behind, they must not deviate from the path marked out by the true King, as they follow Jesus.
Dear friends, what does all this mean for us? What we have just been saying about the nature of God being different, and about the way our lives must be shaped accordingly, sounds very fine, but remains rather vague and unfocussed. That is why God has given us examples. The Magi from the East are just the first in a long procession of men and women who have constantly tried to gaze upon God's star in their lives, going in search of the God who has drawn close to us and shows us the way. It is the great multitude of the saints -- both known and unknown -- in whose lives the Lord has opened up the Gospel before us and turned over the pages; he has done this throughout history and he still does so today. In their lives, as if in a great picture-book, the riches of the Gospel are revealed. They are the shining path which God himself has traced throughout history and is still tracing today.
My venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II beatified and canonized a great many people from both the distant and the recent past. Through these individuals he wanted to show us how to be Christian; how to live life as it should be lived -- according to God's way. The saints and the blessed did not doggedly seek their own happiness, but simply wanted to give themselves, because the light of Christ had shone upon them. They show us the way to attain happiness, they show us how to be truly human. Through all the ups and downs of history, they were the true reformers who constantly rescued it from plunging into the valley of darkness; it was they who constantly shed upon it the light that was needed to make sense -- even in the midst of suffering -- of God's words spoken at the end of the work of creation: "It is very good."
One need only think of such figures as Saint Benedict, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Charles Borromeo, the founders of 19th-century religious orders who inspired and guided the social movement, or the saints of our own day -- Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, Mother Teresa, Padre Pio. In contemplating these figures we learn what it means "to adore" and what it means to live according to the measure of the child of Bethlehem, by the measure of Jesus Christ and of God himself.
The saints, as we said, are the true reformers. Now I want to express this in an even more radical way: Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world. In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common program -- expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for the cause of the world in order to change it. And this, as we saw, meant that a human and partial point of view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him. It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?
Dear friends! Allow me to add just two brief thoughts. There are many who speak of God; some even preach hatred and perpetrate violence in God's name. So it is important to discover the true face of God. The Magi from the East found it, when they knelt down before the child of Bethlehem. "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father," said Jesus to Philip (John 14:9). In Jesus Christ, who allowed his heart to be pierced for us, the true face of God is seen. We will follow him together with the great multitude of those who went before us. Then we will be traveling along the right path.
This means that we are not constructing a private God, a private Jesus, but that we believe and worship the Jesus who is manifested to us by the sacred Scriptures and who reveals himself to be alive in the great procession of the faithful called the Church, always alongside us and always before us. There is much that could be criticized in the Church. We know this and the Lord himself told us so: It is a net with good fish and bad fish, a field with wheat and darnel. Pope John Paul II, as well as revealing the true face of the Church in the many saints that he canonized, also asked pardon for the wrong that was done in the course of history through the words and deeds of members of the Church. In this way he showed us our own true image and urged us to take our place, with all our faults and weaknesses, in the procession of the saints that began with the Magi from the East.
It is actually consoling to realize that there is darnel in the Church. In this way, despite all our defects, we can still hope to be counted among the disciples of Jesus, who came to call sinners. The Church is like a human family, but at the same time it is also the great family of God, through which he establishes an overarching communion and unity that embraces every continent, culture and nation. So we are glad to belong to this great family; we are glad to have brothers and friends all over the world. Here in Cologne we discover the joy of belonging to a family as vast as the world, including heaven and earth, the past, the present, the future and every part of the earth. In this great band of pilgrims we walk side by side with Christ, we walk with the star that enlightens our history.
"Going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him" (Matthew 2:11). Dear friends, this is not a distant story that took place long ago. It is with us now. Here in the sacred Host he is present before us and in our midst. As at that time, so now he is mysteriously veiled in a sacred silence; as at that time, it is here that the true face of God is revealed. For us he became a grain of wheat that falls on the ground and dies and bears fruit until the end of the world (cf. John 12:24). He is present now as he was then in Bethlehem. He invites us to that inner pilgrimage which is called adoration. Let us set off on this pilgrimage of the spirit and let us ask him to be our guide. Amen.
[Translation distributed by the Vatican press office]
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Pope's Address to Muslim Representatives
"Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue a Vital Necessity"
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 20, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today during his meeting at World Youth day with representatives of some Muslim communities.
Dear Muslim Friends!
It gives me great joy to be able to be with you and to offer you my heartfelt greetings. I have come here to meet young people from every part of Europe and the world. Young people are the future of humanity and the hope of the nations. My beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, once said to the young Muslims assembled in the stadium at Casablanca (Morocco): "The young can build a better future if they first put their faith in God and if they pledge themselves to build this new world in accordance with God's plan, with wisdom and trust" ("Insegnamenti," VIII/2, 1985, p. 500). It is in this spirit that I turn to you, dear Muslim friends, to share my hopes with you and to let you know of my concerns at these particularly difficult times in our history.
I am certain that I echo your own thoughts when I bring up as one of our concerns the spread of terrorism. Terrorist activity is continually recurring in various parts of the world, sowing death and destruction, and plunging many of our brothers and sisters into grief and despair. Those who instigate and plan these attacks evidently wish to poison our relations, making use of all means, including religion, to oppose every attempt to build a peaceful, fair and serene life together.
Terrorism of any kind is a perverse and cruel decision which shows contempt for the sacred right to life and undermines the very foundations of all civil society. If together we can succeed in eliminating from hearts any trace of rancor, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence, we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress towards world peace. The task is difficult but not impossible. The believer knows that, despite his weakness, he can count on the spiritual power of prayer.
Dear friends, I am profoundly convinced that we must not yield to the negative pressures in our midst, but must affirm the values of mutual respect, solidarity and peace. The life of every human being is sacred, both for Christians and for Muslims. There is plenty of scope for us to act together in the service of fundamental moral values. The dignity of the person and the defense of the rights which that dignity confers must represent the goal of every social endeavor and of every effort to bring it to fruition. This message is conveyed to us unmistakably by the quiet but clear voice of conscience. It is a message which must be heeded and communicated to others: Should it ever cease to find an echo in peoples' hearts, the world would be exposed to the darkness of a new barbarism. Only through recognition of the centrality of the person can a common basis for understanding be found, one which enables us to move beyond cultural conflicts and which neutralizes the disruptive power of ideologies.
During my meeting last April with the delegates of Churches and Christian communities and with representatives of the various religious traditions, I affirmed that "the Church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions, in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole" (L'Osservatore Romano, 25 April 2005, p. 4). Past experience teaches us that relations between Christians and Muslims have not always been marked by mutual respect and understanding. How many pages of history record battles and even wars that have been waged, with both sides invoking the name of God, as if fighting and killing the enemy could be pleasing to him. The recollection of these sad events should fill us with shame, for we know only too well what atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. The lessons of the past must help us to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity. The defense of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization.
In this regard, it is always right to recall what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said about relations with Muslims. "The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves wholeheartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God. ... Although considerable dissensions and enmities between Christians and Muslims may have arisen in the course of the centuries, the Council urges all parties that, forgetting past things, they train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding and together maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace and freedom for all people" (declaration "Nostra Aetate," No. 3).
You, my esteemed friends, represent some Muslim communities from this country where I was born, where I studied and where I lived for a good part of my life. That is why I wanted to meet you. You guide Muslim believers and train them in the Islamic faith. Teaching is the vehicle through which ideas and convictions are transmitted. Words are highly influential in the education of the mind. You, therefore, have a great responsibility for the formation of the younger generation. As Christians and Muslims, we must face together the many challenges of our time. There is no room for apathy and disengagement, and even less for partiality and sectarianism. We must not yield to fear or pessimism. Rather, we must cultivate optimism and hope.
Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is in fact a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends. Young people from many parts of the world are here in Cologne as living witnesses of solidarity, brotherhood and love. They are the first fruits of a new dawn for humanity. I pray with all my heart, dear Muslim friends, that the merciful and compassionate God may protect you, bless you and enlighten you always. May the God of peace lift up our hearts, nourish our hope and guide our steps on the paths of the world.
[Translation distributed by Vatican press office]
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2 Tell of Their Lunch With the Pope
Interviews With Youth Representatives
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI lunched with a dozen youth from around the world on Friday at the archbishop of Cologne's residence. Below are interviews with two of the youth, and their impressions of the encounter with the Pope.
Lubica Jovanovic, 19, from the Australian Archdiocese of Sydney, gave Pope Benedict a toy koala bear and kangaroo upon their meeting.
Jovanovic: Lunch with the Pope today was really emotional at the beginning, I had butterflies in my tummy, I was so nervous as I didn't know what to expect. But, once he walked in, I just started to cry. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I couldn't believe it was happening to me. It was such an honor and I will always remember this day.
During lunch it was a little difficult to follow the conversation as the conversation was mostly in German, French or Spanish, rather than English. But just as I was feeling a little left out, Pope Benedict would speak to me and just look straight into my eyes. I felt so engaged.
Q: This Pope however is a different one than what you were expecting when you originally registered for this pilgrimage. What is it about Benedict XVI that means so much to young people?
Jovanovic: I think there's something really special about this Pope. I hadn't really seen him properly until today and I realized how engaging he is and how interested he is in every person from around the world. He is just a gift and something so different at the same time. I don't really know how to explain it.
When we were talking, the press was all around us, but he didn't seem to notice. We were his priority. To be recognized and loved in that way is really important for a young person.
A lot of youth today are looking for love via the secular temptations of sex, drugs and rock and roll, but in seeing the way our Holy Father interacts with us, I think he offers another option of how to experience love -- the pure love of Christ.
I wish that everyone could have had this experience because I am just so happy -- I can just remember his face and how much I wanted to hug him because he reminded me of a big, beautiful teddy bear. The atmosphere was so peaceful and I felt so good that I feel that I had a little nibble of paradise.
Q: Now this Pope is the spiritual father of faithful the world over and for the youth -- is that the sense you are getting from the experience of WYD?
Jovanovic: Yes I am. One of the others at the lunch today asked him the question: What do you think we should do? And he answered that me should make Christ our center and then everything would go well. I might have heard this 10,000 times before now, but coming from him it really inspires me to go deeper in my faith, to make God my No. 1.
He has so much to offer with just his presence, there's really something special about him.
Q: Well, rumor has it that the next World Youth Day might be Down Under. What do you think of that?
Jovanovic: It would make me so happy to have the world to come to my home of Sydney -- I would drag everyone there to experience the joy -- it would be the best time ever! And I have a feeling now that it will happen because when I introduced myself to the Pope and said where I was from -- Australia -- his eyes lit up and he said: "Oh, yes, the host country of the next World Youth Day, no?" I answered excitedly: "Yes, God willing." To this he said: "Yes, yes."
So I have a strong feeling that it will be in Sydney, and if it is, it's going to really change history -- I can barely wait until his official announcement on Sunday.
Q: On the boat yesterday, the Pope spoke about opening your heart to Christ and to let him speak to you. What did these words mean to you?
Jovanovic: When I heard him say these words I agreed with him straight away because when I converted to the faith four years ago, my life changed totally for the better. And when I look at his life, it's an example of trusting in the will of God -- as a priest, then as a bishop, then as an archbishop, cardinal and now Pope.
It makes me feel more strongly that God will lead me to different places -- I don't know, I might become a nun, I might get married -- anything can happen when it's all in God's hands.
A few years back I would never have imagined myself being a youth minister of the Sydney Archdiocese, but with God's help anything is possible!
Johnny Bassous, 20, represented his youth group from Bethlehem in the Holy Land.
Bassous: For me it was such a great blessing and such a pleasant meeting that I too felt very blessed and uplifted in my heart to meet such a blessed Holy Father, and I felt like he was really very close to us.
His words were so touching, uplifting and encouraging for our Christian faith. He mentioned the words "deepening our faith" more than once and that we need to live out our Christian life among other peoples of different backgrounds peacefully, especially those who live in countries comprised of diverse religions.
He also mentioned a part of Scripture from Peter 1 which says that we should give reasons of hope for those who ask us about our Christian faith -- in other words, our life speaks to other people and motivates them to ask us about why we live in such a manner, so it was so great to hear these encouraging words from him.
Q: You mention the Pope's words on bridging gaps among different cultures, and that this is a theme felt deeply in the Holy Land. How do you feel that this meeting with the Pope today will help you to personally continue to try to make a difference to promote peace in your homeland?
Bassous: You know, one of the greatest commandments that the Lord gives us is to love our neighbors, and even love our enemies -- not that I see anyone as my enemy. The bible teaches us how to love and live together.
So, for me, encouraged by the urgings of this Pope, I think that loving others in this way -- loving the Muslims and the Jews together with my fellow Christians -- is one of the solid things that I can do to begin our dialogue of peace. This is the message -- of reconciliation -- that I want to carry back home by living out my Christian life on a daily basis.
Q: The Pope himself has given us an example of how we can do this. Just before he came to have lunch with all of you, he met with the Jewish community of Cologne in the synagogue here. What did this gesture signify for you?
Bassous: For me, when I hear of such occurrences, I feel very happy because as Christians, we are called to break down all the borders and barriers among peoples.
I remember when his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, went to pray at the Wailing Wall, and visited the mosques of the Muslims. This represented that he is a man not only of words, but of deeds and actions. This is an example of what we are all called to do.
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Sudanese Cardinal Undaunted in Peace Process
Still Sees Hope After Death of Vice President
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The peace process in Sudan will not be interrupted by the death of Vice President John Garang, said the archbishop of Khartoum.
Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako explained that the mistrust and possibilities of confrontation between the Muslim North and the Christian-animist South continue to be very great, in a press conference, organized by Aid to the Church in Need.
However, there is "still room for hope," he said from Cologne, where he is participating in the events of World Youth Day, if Garang's successors keep to the latter's "message of peace."
John Garang, named on July 9 as first vice president of Sudan, died July 30 in a helicopter accident, the causes of which are as yet unknown. Following his death, disturbances broke out in the capital city of Khartoum.
Garang was one of the founders of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, which for 21 years engaged in civil war with the central government in an effort to secure the independence of the country's south.
Oil and laws
The peoples of the South, composed of mainly Christians and animists, fought against the South's Islamization promoted from Khartoum, and especially against the introduction of Islamic law in their provinces.
Another reason for the conflict is the existence of rich oil fields in southern Sudan. On Jan. 9 a peace agreement was signed, bringing to an end the war which began in 1983 and which, according to some estimates, claimed the lives of some 2.5 million people, and displaced more than 5 million.
Regarding the South's threat to secede, Cardinal Wako pointed out that the next few years will be decisive, and that the country's stability will depend to a large extent on honesty when it comes to sharing raw materials and imposing human rights.
The cardinal added that he believes it to be essential to support the parties that are struggling seriously for democracy and the rights of man.
He also said that it is very important to re-establish the Church's presence so that refugees can return to the South, as the "people go where the Church is, because they know that they will receive help there," noted Cardinal Wako.
Sudan has a population of some 33 million, belonging to 572 different tribes. The Arab-Muslim population (39%) predominates in the north, while in the south the population is composed primarily of Christians and followers of natural religions.
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Legacy of Brother Roger of Taizé
According to Brother Emile, Spokesman of the Ecumenical Community
TAIZÉ, France, AUG. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The legacy left by Brother Roger Schutz, founder of the Community of Taizé, is illustrated in this testimony sent to ZENIT by Brother Emile, a spokesman for the ecumenical group.
It all began in great solitude, when in August of 1940, at 25 years of age, Brother Roger left Switzerland, the country of his birth, and went to live in France, his mother's country. For years, he felt the call to create a community in which reconciliation between Christians would be concretized every day, "in which the benevolence of heart would be lived very concretely, and where love would be in everyone's heart."
He wanted to realize that creation in the anguish of that moment, and in this way, at the height of the World War, he established himself in the small village of Taizé in Burgundy, a few kilometers from the line of demarcation that divided France in two parts. He then hid refugees (in particular Jews), who when fleeing from the occupied zone knew that they could find refuge in his home.
Later, other Brothers joined him and on Easter Sunday of 1949 the first Brothers committed themselves for life to celibacy, life in common, and great simplicity of life.
In the silence of a long retreat, in the winter of 1952-1953, the founder of the Community of Taizé wrote the Rule of Taizé, in which he pointed out to his Brothers "the essential that would allow for life in common."
Beginning in the '50s, some Brothers went to live in underprivileged areas to be near to people who suffer.
Since the end of the '50s, the number of young people who come to Taizé has increased markedly. Beginning in 1962, Brothers and youths sent by Taizé did not cease to come and go to countries of Eastern Europe, with great discretion, so as not to compromise those they were supporting.
Between 1962 and 1989 Brother Roger himself visited the majority of the countries of Eastern Europe, at times on the occasion of meetings with youths, permitted but watched, or of simple visits, without the possibility of speaking in public. "I will be silent with you," he would say to Christians of those countries.
In 1966, the Saint Andrew Sisters, an international Catholic community founded more than seven centuries ago, came to live in the neighboring village and began to help with some of the welcome endeavor. More recently, some Polish Ursuline nuns have also come to offer their collaboration.
Today the Community of Taizé includes some 100 Brothers, Catholics and of different evangelical origins, from more than 25 countries. Because of their own experience, they are a concrete sign of reconciliation between divided Christians and separated peoples.
In one of his last books, entitled "God Can Only Love" ("Dieu Ne Peut Qu'Aimer," Taizé Press), Brother Roger described his ecumenical itinerary thus: "I can remember that my maternal grandmother discovered intuitively a sort of key of the ecumenical vocation and opened the way for me to its concretization. Marked by the testimony of her life, while I was still very young, I later found my own Christian identity when reconciling within me the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without any rupture of communion."
The Brothers don't accept any gifts or presents. They do not even accept personal inheritances, but give them to the poorest. They sustain community life with their work and share it with others.
Now there are small fraternities in the underprivileged neighborhoods of Asia, Africa, South and North America. The Brothers try to share the conditions of life of those around them, making efforts to be a presence of love among the poorest, street children, prisoners, the dying, those who are wounded in their deepest being by emotional ruptures and human abandonment.
Coming from all over the world, young people meet in Taizé every week of the year to attend meetings that can gather between two Sundays up to 6,000 people, representing more than 70 nations. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of young people have come to Taizé to reflect on the topic "interior life and human solidarities." In the sources of faith, they try to give their life meaning and they prepare to take on responsibilities in the areas where they live.
Men of the Church also come to Taizé. Thus, the Community welcomed Pope John Paul II, three Archbishops of Canterbury, Orthodox Metropolitans, 14 Swedish Lutheran Bishops, and numerous pastors from all over the world.
To support the young generations, the Community of Taizé animates a "pilgrimage of confidence on earth." This pilgrimage does not organize youths in a movement that is centered on the Community, but stimulates them to take peace, reconciliation and confidence to their cities, their universities, their workplaces and their parishes, in communion with all generations. As a stage of this "pilgrimage of confidence on earth," a five-day European meeting is organized at the end of every year in a large European city, of the East or West, attended by tens of thousands of young people.
On the occasion of a European meeting, Brother Roger would publish a "letter," translated into more than 50 languages, which was then meditated [on] throughout the year by young people in their homes or during Taizé meetings. The founder of Taizé often wrote this letter from a place of poverty where he lived for a time (Calcutta, Chile, Haiti, Ethiopia, the Philippines, South Africa).
Today, throughout the world, the name Taizé evokes peace, reconciliation, communion and the expectation of a springtime in the Church. "When the Church listens, heals, reconciles she realizes what is most luminous in herself, limpid reflection of a love" (Brother Roger).
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Pope's Address in Synagogue of Cologne
"We Must Come to Know One Another Much More and Much Better"
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered in German today in Cologne's synagogue after being greeted by Rabbi Netanel Teitelbaum.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
"Shalom lechem!" It has been my deep desire, during my first visit to Germany since my election as the Successor of the Apostle Peter, to meet the Jewish community of Cologne and the representatives of Judaism in Germany. By this visit I would like to return in spirit to the meeting that took place in Mainz on Nov. 17, 1980, between my venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II, then making his first visit to this country, and members of the Central Jewish Committee in Germany and the Rabbinic Conference. Today too I wish to reaffirm that I intend to continue on the path toward improved relations and friendship with the Jewish People, following the decisive lead given by Pope John Paul II (cf. "Address to the Delegation of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations," June 9, 2005: "L'Osservatore Romano," June 10, 2005, p. 5).
The Jewish community in Cologne can truly feel "at home" in this city. Cologne is, in fact, the oldest site of a Jewish community on German soil, dating back to the Colonia of Roman times. The history of relations between the Jewish and Christian communities has been complex and often painful. There were times when the two lived together peacefully, but there was also the expulsion of the Jews from Cologne in the year 1424. And in the 20th century, in the darkest period of German and European history, an insane racist ideology, born of neo-paganism, gave rise to the attempt, planned and systematically carried out by the regime, to exterminate European Jewry.
The result has passed into history as the "Shoah." The victims of this unspeakable and previously unimaginable crime amounted to 7,000 named individuals in Cologne alone; the real figure was surely much higher. The holiness of God was no longer recognized, and consequently contempt was shown for the sacredness of human life.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, in which millions of Jews -- men, women and children -- were put to death in the gas chambers and ovens. I make my own the words written by my venerable Predecessor on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and I too say: "I bow my head before all those who experienced this manifestation of the 'mysterium iniquitatis.'"
"The terrible events of that time must "never cease to rouse consciences, to resolve conflicts, to inspire the building of peace" ("Message for the Liberation of Auschwitz," Jan. 15, 2005). Together we must remember God and his wise plan for the world which he created. As we read in the Book of Wisdom, he is the "lover of life" (11:26).
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council's declaration "Nostra Aetate," which opened up new prospects for Jewish-Christian relations in terms of dialogue and solidarity. This declaration, in the fourth chapter, recalls the common roots and the immensely rich spiritual heritage that Jews and Christians share. Both Jews and Christians recognize in Abraham their father in faith (cf. Galatians 3:7, Romans 4:11ff.) and they look to the teachings of Moses and the prophets. Jewish spirituality, like its Christian counterpart, draws nourishment from the psalms. With Saint Paul, Christians are convinced that "the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29, cf. 9:6,11; 11:1ff.). In considering the Jewish roots of Christianity (cf. Romans 11:16-24), my venerable Predecessor, quoting a statement by the German Bishops, affirmed that: "whoever meets Jesus Christ meets Judaism" ("Insegnamenti," vol. III/2, 1980, p. 1272).
The conciliar declaration "Nostra Aetate" therefore "deplores feelings of hatred, persecutions and demonstrations of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at whatever time and by whomsoever" (No. 4). God created us all "in his image" (cf. Genesis 1:27) and thus honored us with a transcendent dignity. Before God, all men and women have the same dignity, whatever their nation, culture or religion. Hence the declaration "Nostra Aetate" also speaks with great esteem of Muslims (cf. No. 3) and of the followers of other religions (cf. No. 2).
On the basis of our shared human dignity the Catholic Church "condemns as foreign to the mind of Christ any kind of discrimination whatsoever between people, or harassment of them, done by reason of race or color, class or religion" (No. 5). The Church is conscious of her duty to transmit this teaching, in her catechesis and in every aspect of her life, to the younger generations which did not witness the terrible events that took place before and during the Second World War. It is a particularly important task, since today, sadly, we are witnessing the rise of new signs of anti-Semitism and various forms of a general hostility toward foreigners. How can we fail to see in this a reason for concern and vigilance? The Catholic Church is committed -- I reaffirm this again today -- to tolerance, respect, friendship and peace between all peoples, cultures and religions.
In the 40 years that have passed since the conciliar Declaration "Nostra Aetate," much progress has been made, in Germany and throughout the world, towards better and closer relations between Jews and Christians. Alongside official relationships, due above all to cooperation between specialists in the biblical sciences, many friendships have been born. In this regard, I would mention the various declarations by the German Episcopal Conference and the charitable work done by the "Society for Jewish-Christian Cooperation in Cologne," which since 1945 have enabled the Jewish community to feel once again "at home" here in Cologne and to establish good relations with the Christian communities. Yet much still remains to be done.
We must come to know one another much more and much better. Consequently, I would encourage sincere and trustful dialogue between Jews and Christians, for only in this way will it be possible to arrive at a shared interpretation of disputed historical questions, and, above all, to make progress towards a theological evaluation of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. This dialogue, if it is to be sincere, must not gloss over or underestimate the existing differences: in those areas in which, due to our profound convictions in faith, we diverge, and indeed precisely in those areas, we need to show respect for one another.
Finally, our gaze should not only be directed to the past, but should also look forward to the tasks that await us today and tomorrow. Our rich common heritage and our fraternal and more trusting relations call upon us to join in giving an ever more harmonious witness and to work together on the practical level for the defense and promotion of human rights and the sacredness of human life, for family values, for social justice and for peace in the world. The Decalogue (cf. Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5) is for us a shared legacy and commitment. The Ten Commandments are not a burden, but a sign-post showing the path leading to a successful life. This is particularly the case for the young people whom I am meeting in these days and who are so dear to me. My wish is that they may be able to recognize in the Decalogue a lamp for their steps, a light for their path (cf. Psalm 119:105).
Adults have the responsibility of handing down to young people the torch of hope that God has given to Jews and to Christians, so that "never again" will the forces of evil come to power, and that future generations, with God's help, may be able to build a more just and peaceful world, in which all people have equal rights and are equally at home.
I conclude with the words of Psalm 29, which express both a wish and a prayer: "May the Lord give strength to his people, may he bless his people with peace." May he hear our prayer!
[Translation of German original issued by the Vatican press office]
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Benedict XVI's Address to Christians Meeting in Cologne
Among Christians, Fraternity Is Not Just a Vague Sentiment
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address, delivered in German, to representatives of different Christian confessions with whom he met in the archbishop's palace in Cologne.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, our common Lord!
It is a pleasure for me to meet you, the representatives of other Churches and ecclesial Communities, during my visit to Germany. I greet you all most cordially!
As a native of this country, I am quite aware of the painful situation which the rupture of unity in the profession of the faith has entailed for so many individuals and families. This was one of the reasons why, immediately following my election as Bishop of Rome, I declared, as the Successor of the Apostle Peter, my firm commitment to making the recovery of full and visible Christian unity a priority of my Pontificate. In doing so, I wished consciously to follow in the footsteps of two of my great Predecessors: Pope Paul VI, who 40 years ago signed the conciliar decree on ecumenism "Unitatis Redintegratio" and Pope John Paul II, who made that document the inspiration for his activity.
In ecumenical dialogue Germany has a place of particular importance. Not only is it the place where the Reformation began; it is also one of those countries where the ecumenical movement of the 20th century originated. With the successive waves of immigration in the last century, Christians from the Orthodox Churches and the ancient Churches of the East also found a new homeland in this country. This certainly favored greater contact and exchanges. Together we can rejoice in the fact that ecumenical dialogue, with the passage of time, has brought about a renewed sense of fraternity and has created a more open and trusting climate between Christians belonging to the various Churches and ecclesial Communities. My venerable Predecessor, in his encyclical "Ut Unum Sint" (1995) saw this as an especially significant fruit of dialogue (cf. Nos. 41ff; 64).
Among Christians, fraternity is not just a vague sentiment, nor is it a sign of indifference to truth. It is grounded in the supernatural reality of the one baptism which makes us members of the one Body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 2:12). Together we confess that Jesus Christ is God and Lord; together we acknowledge him as the one mediator between God and man (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5) and we emphasize that together we are members of his Body (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," 22; "Ut Unum Sint," 42). On this shared foundation dialogue has borne its fruits. I would like to mention the re-examination of the mutual condemnations, called for by John Paul II during his first visit to Germany in 1980, and above all the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" (1999), which grew out of that re-examination and led to an agreement on basic issues that had been a subject of controversy since the 16th century.
We should also acknowledge with gratitude the results of our common stand on important matters such as the fundamental questions involving the defense of life and the promotion of justice and peace. I am well aware that many Christians in this country, and not only in this country, expect further concrete steps to bring us closer together. I myself have the same expectation. It is the Lords command, but also the imperative of the present hour, to carry on dialogue, with conviction, at all levels of the Church's life. This must obviously take place with sincerity and realism, with patience and perseverance, in complete fidelity to the dictates of one's conscience. There can be no dialogue at the expense of truth; the dialogue must advance in charity and in truth.
I do not intend here to outline a program for the immediate themes of dialogue -- this task belongs to theologians working alongside the bishops. I simply wish to make an observation: Ecclesiological issues, and especially the question of the sacred ministry or priesthood, are inseparably linked with that of the relationship between Scripture and Church, that is to say the correct interpretation of the Word of God and its development within the life of the Church.
Another urgent priority in ecumenical dialogue arises from the great ethical questions of our time; in this area, modern research rightly expects a common response on the part of Christians, which, thanks be to God, has often been forthcoming. But not always, alas. Because of contradictory positions in these areas, our witness to the Gospel and the ethical guidance which we owe to the faithful and to society lose their impact and often appear too vague, with the result that we fail in our duty to provide the witness that is needed in our time. Our divisions are contrary to the will of Jesus and they disappoint the expectations of our contemporaries.
What does it mean to restore the unity of all Christians? The Catholic Church has as her goal the full visible unity of the disciples of Christ, as defined by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in its various documents (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 8, 13; "Unitatis Redintegratio," 2, 4, etc.). This unity subsists, we are convinced, in the Catholic Church, without the possibility of ever being lost (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," 4). This does not, however, mean uniformity in all expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and in discipline.
Unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity in unity: in my homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, I insisted that full unity and full catholicity go together. As a necessary condition for the achievement of this coexistence, the commitment to unity must be constantly purified and renewed; it must constantly grow and mature. To this end, dialogue has its own contribution to make. More than an exchange of thoughts, it is an exchange of gifts (cf. "Ut Unum Sint," 28), in which the Churches and the ecclesial Communities can make available their own riches (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 8, 15; "Unitatis Redintegratio," 3, 14ff; "Ut Unum Sint, 10-14).
As a result of this commitment, the journey can move forward step by step along the path to full unity, when at last we will all "attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). It is obvious that, in the end, this dialogue can develop only in a context of sincere and committed spirituality. We cannot "bring about" unity by our powers alone. We can only obtain unity as a gift of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, spiritual ecumenism -- prayer, conversion and the sanctification of life -- constitute the heart of the ecumenical movement (cf. "Unitatis Redintegratio," 8; "Ut Unum Sint," 15ff., 21, etc.). It could be said that the best form of ecumenism consists in living in accordance with the Gospel.
I see good reason for optimism in the fact that today a kind of "network" of spiritual links is developing between Catholics and Christians from the different Churches and ecclesial Communities: each individual commits himself to prayer, to the examination of his own life, to the purification of memory, to the openness of charity. The father of spiritual ecumenism, Paul Couturier, spoke in this regard of an "invisible cloister" which unites within its walls those souls inflamed with love for Christ and his Church.
I am convinced that if more and more people unite themselves to the Lords prayer "that all may be one" (John 17:21), then this prayer, made in the name of Jesus, will not go unheard (cf. John 14:13; 15:7, 16, etc.) With the help that comes from on high, we will also find practical solutions to the different questions which remain open, and in the end our desire for unity will come to fulfillment, whenever and however the Lord wills. I invite all of you to join me in following this path.
[Translation of German original issued by the Vatican press office]
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Benedict XVI's Homily to Seminarians in Cologne
"If You Abide in Christ, You Will Bear Much Fruit"
COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is the homily Benedict XVI addressed to seminarians, attending World Youth Day, in St. Pantaleon's Church today.
I greet all of you with great affection and gratitude for your festive welcome and particularly for the fact that you have come to this gathering from so many countries the world over. In a special way my heartfelt thanks go to the seminarian, the priest and the bishop who have given us their own personal witness. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to be with you.
I had asked that the program of these days in Cologne should include a special meeting with young seminarians, so that the vocational dimension which is always a part of World Youth Day would be even more clearly and strongly evident. Naturally, you are taking part in this experience in your own particular way, since you are seminarians, that is to say, young people devoting an intense period of your lives to seeking Christ and spending time with him in preparation for your important mission in the Church.
This is what a seminary is: More than a place, it is a significant time in the life of a follower of Jesus. I can imagine how you yourselves relate to the theme of this Twentieth World Youth Day -- "We Have Come To Worship Him" -- and the entire Gospel account of the Magi from which the theme has been drawn. This passage has a special meaning for you, precisely because you are engaged in discerning and confirming your call to the priesthood. Let us pause and reflect on this theme.
Why did the Magi set off from afar to go to Bethlehem? The answer has to do with the mystery of the "star" which they saw "in the East" and which they recognized as the star of the "King of the Jews," that is to say, the sign of the birth of the Messiah (cf. Matthew 2:2). So their journey was inspired by a powerful hope, strengthened and guided by the star, which led them toward the King of the Jews, toward the kingship of God himself. The Magi set out because of a deep desire which prompted them to leave everything and begin a journey. It was as though they had always been waiting for that star. It was as if the journey had always been a part of their destiny, and was finally about to begin.
Dear friends, this is the mystery of God's call, the mystery of vocation. It is part of the life of every Christian, but it is particularly evident in those whom Christ asks to leave everything in order to follow him more closely. The seminarian experiences the beauty of that call in a moment of grace which could be defined as "falling in love." His soul is filled with amazement, which makes him ask in prayer: "Lord, why me?" But love knows no "why"; it is a free gift to which one responds with the gift of self.
The seminary years are devoted to formation and discernment. Formation, as you well know, has different strands which converge in the unity of the person: It includes human, spiritual and cultural dimensions. Its deepest goal is to bring the student to an intimate knowledge of the God who has revealed his face in Jesus Christ. For this, in-depth study of Sacred Scripture is needed, and also of the faith and life of the Church in which the Scripture dwells as the Word of life. This must all be linked with the questions prompted by our reason and with the broader context of modern life. Such study can at times seem arduous, but it is an indispensable part of our encounter with Christ and our vocation to proclaim him.
All this is aimed at shaping a steady and balanced personality, one capable of receiving validly and fulfilling responsibly the priestly mission. The role of formators is decisive: The quality of the presbyterate in a particular Church depends greatly on that of the seminary, and consequently on the quality of those responsible for formation.
Dear seminarians, for this very reason we pray today with genuine gratitude for your superiors, professors and educators, who are spiritually present at this meeting. Let us ask the Lord to help them carry out as well as possible the important task entrusted to them.
The seminary years are a time of journeying, of exploration, but above all of discovering Christ. It is only when a young man has had a personal experience of Christ that he can truly understand the Lords will and consequently his own vocation. The better you know Jesus the more his mystery attracts you. The more you discover him, the more you are moved to seek him. This is a movement of the spirit which lasts throughout life, and which makes the seminary a time of immense promise, a true "springtime."
When the Magi came to Bethlehem, "going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him" (Matthew 2:11). Here at last was the long-awaited moment -- their encounter with Jesus. "Going into the house": this house in some sense represents the Church. In order to find the Savior, one has to enter the house, which is the Church. During his time in the seminary, a particularly important process of maturation takes place in the consciousness of the young seminarian: he no longer sees the Church "from the outside," but rather, as it were, "from the inside," and he comes to sense that she is his "home," in as much as she is the home of Christ, where "Mary his mother" dwells.
It is Mary who shows him Jesus her Son; she introduces him and in a sense enables him to see and touch Jesus, and to take him into his arms. Mary teaches the seminarian to contemplate Jesus with the eyes of the heart and to make Jesus his very life. Each moment of seminary life can be an opportunity for loving experience of the presence of our Lady, who introduces everyone to an encounter with Christ in the silence of meditation, prayer and fraternity. Mary helps us to meet the Lord above all in the celebration of the Eucharist, when, in the Word and in the consecrated Bread, he becomes our daily spiritual nourishment.
"They fell down and worshipped him ... and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh" (Matthew 2:11-12). Here is the culmination of the whole journey: encounter becomes adoration; it blossoms into an act of faith and love which acknowledges in Jesus, born of Mary, the Son of God made man. How can we fail to see prefigured in this gesture of the Magi the faith of Simon Peter and of the other Apostles, the faith of Paul and of all the saints, particularly of the many saintly seminarians and priests who have graced the two thousand years of the Church's history?
The secret of holiness is friendship with Christ and faithful obedience to his will. Saint Ambrose said: "Christ is everything for us"; and Saint Benedict warned against putting anything before the love of Christ. May Christ be everything for you. Dear seminarians, be the first to offer him what is most precious to you, as Pope John Paul II suggested in his Message for this World Youth Day: the gold of your freedom, the incense of your ardent prayer, the myrrh of your most profound affection (cf. No. 4).
The seminary years are a time of preparing for mission. The Magi "departed for their own country" and most certainly bore witness to their encounter with the King of the Jews. You too, after your long, necessary program of seminary formation, will be sent forth as ministers of Christ; indeed, each of you will return as an "alter Christus." On their homeward journey, the Magi surely had to deal with dangers, weariness, disorientation, doubts. The star was no longer there to guide them! The light was now within them. Their task was to guard and nourish it in the constant memory of Christ, of his Holy Face, of his ineffable Love.
Dear seminarians! One day, God willing, by the consecration of the Holy Spirit you too will begin your mission. Remember always the words of Jesus: "Abide in my love" (John 15:9). If you abide in Christ, you will bear much fruit. You have not chosen him, he has chosen you (cf. John 15:16). Here is the secret of your vocation and your mission! It is kept in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who watches over each one of you with a mother's love. Have recourse to her, often and with confidence. I assure you of my affection and my daily prayers. And I bless all of you from my heart.
[Translation of original issued by the Vatican press office]
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