Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Uri et Orbi, Christmas Day 2012


25 DECEMBER 2012

"Veritas de terra orta est!" – "Truth has sprung out of the earth" (Ps 85:12).
Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, a happy Christmas to you and your families!
In this Year of Faith, I express my Christmas greetings and good wishes in these words taken from one of the Psalms: "Truth has sprung out of the earth". Actually, in the text of the Psalm, these words are in the future: "Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven. The Lord himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps" (Ps 85:11-14).
Today these prophetic words have been fulfilled! In Jesus, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, kindness and truth do indeed meet; justice and peace have kissed; truth has sprung out of the earth and justice has looked down from heaven. Saint Augustine explains with admirable brevity: "What is truth? The Son of God. What is the earth? The flesh. Ask whence Christ has been born, and you will see that truth has sprung out of the earth...truth has been born of the Virgin Mary" (En. in Ps. 84:13). And in a Christmas sermon he says that "in this yearly feast we celebrate that day when the prophecy was fulfilled: ‘truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven’. The Truth, which is in the bosom of the Father has sprung out of the earth, to be in the womb of a mother too. The Truth which rules the whole world has sprung out of the earth, to be held in the arms of a woman ... The Truth which heaven cannot contain has sprung out of the earth, to be laid in a manger. For whose benefit did so lofty a God become so lowly? Certainly not for his own, but for our great benefit, if we believe" (Sermones, 185, 1).
"If we believe". Here we see the power of faith! God has done everything; he has done the impossible: he was made flesh. His all-powerful love has accomplished something which surpasses all human understanding: the Infinite has become a child, has entered the human family. And yet, this same God cannot enter my heart unless I open the door to him. Porta fidei! The door of faith! We could be frightened by this, our inverse omnipotence. This human ability to be closed to God can make us fearful. But see the reality which chases away this gloomy thought, the hope that conquers fear: truth has sprung up! God is born! "The earth has yielded its fruits" (Ps 67:7). Yes, there is a good earth, a healthy earth, an earth freed of all selfishness and all lack of openness. In this world there is a good soil which God has prepared, that he might come to dwell among us. A dwelling place for his presence in the world. This good earth exists, and today too, in 2012, from this earth truth has sprung up! Consequently, there is hope in the world, a hope in which we can trust, even at the most difficult times and in the most difficult situations. Truth has sprung up, bringing kindness, justice and peace.
Yes, may peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenceless and reaps innocent victims. Once again I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict.
May peace spring up in the Land where the Redeemer was born, and may he grant Israelis and Palestinians courage to end to long years of conflict and division, and to embark resolutely on the path of negotiation.
In the countries of North Africa, which are experiencing a major transition in pursuit of a new future – and especially the beloved land of Egypt, blessed by the childhood of Jesus – may citizens work together to build societies founded on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every person.
May peace spring up on the vast continent of Asia. May the Child Jesus look graciously on the many peoples who dwell in those lands and, in a special way, upon all those who believe in him. May the King of Peace turn his gaze to the new leaders of the People’s Republic of China for the high task which awaits them. I express my hope that, in fulfilling this task, they will esteem the contribution of the religions, in respect for each, in such a way that they can help to build a fraternal society for the benefit of that noble People and of the whole world.
May the Birth of Christ favour the return of peace in Mali and that of concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians. May the Redeemer bring help and comfort to the refugees from the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and grant peace to Kenya, where brutal attacks have struck the civilian population and places of worship.
May the Child Jesus bless the great numbers of the faithful who celebrate him in Latin America. May he increase their human and Christian virtues, sustain all those forced to leave behind their families and their land, and confirm government leaders in their commitment to development and fighting crime.
Dear brothers and sisters! Kindness and truth, justice and peace have met; they have become incarnate in the child born of Mary in Bethlehem. That child is the Son of God; he is God appearing in history. His birth is a flowering of new life for all humanity. May every land become a good earth which receives and brings forth kindness and truth, justice and peace. Happy Christmas to all of you!

Christus Natus Est, Alleluia

First Mass of Christmas

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy 85th Birthday, Your Holiness!

Today Pope Benedict became the first pontiff since Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) to reach his 85th birthday.

Ad multos annos!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pope Shenouda III

The body of Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, is displayed for public viewing inside Cairo's Abassiya Cathedral.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Feast of St Agnes

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI blessing lambs on the Feast of St Agnes.  The wool from these lambs will be used to fashion the pallia that will be presented, on the Feast of SS Peter and Paul,  to Metropolitan Archbishops appointed within the previous year.

Friday, January 06, 2012

New Cardinals

Following the celebration of Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany earlier today. Pope Benedict announced his intention to create 22 new Cardinals on 18th February. 

Those named are:
  • Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples;
  • Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Major Penitentiary of the Roman Church;
  • Santos Abril y Castell√≥, Archpriest of St Mary Major;
  • Antonio Maria Vegli√≥, President of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Refugees;
  • Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Government of the Vatican City State;
  • Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
  • Joao Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Religious;
  • Edwin Frederick O'Brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre;
  • Domenico Calcagno, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See;
  • Giuseppe Versaldi, President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See;
  • George Alencherry, Major-Archbishop of Erkugnalam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malybars;
  • Thomas Christopher Collins, Archbishop of Toronto;
  • Dominik Duka OP, Archbishop of Prague;
  • Willem Jacobus Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht;
  • Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence;
  • Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York;
  • Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Berlin;
  • John Tong Hon, Bishop of Hong Kong
  • Lucien Muresan, Major-Archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Romanians;
  • Fr Julien Ries, Belgian historian/anthropologist of religion;
  • Prosper Grech OSA, Maltese Biblical scholar;
  • Karl Josef Becker SJ

The last four named are already greater than 80 years of age and will thus not be eligible to take part in  any future Conclave.

As a result of this Consistory there will be 125 Cardinals eligible to vote in a future Conclave (one of the current members of the College, Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong turns 80 next week).  64 of this number will have been created by Pope Benedict XVI; 62 by Blessed Pope John Paul II.  There will be 88 Cardinals over the age of 80.  Of this number four were created by Pope Paul VI, 69 by Blessed Pope John Paul II and 15 by Pope Benedict XVI.

New Papal Nuncio Ordained

Charles Brown, the recently-named Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland was today consecrated bishop in St Peter's Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.