What a fabulous Papa we Catholics have in Pope Benedict XVI! We all miss Blessed John Paul II, of course, but God made sure that we got the best in his successor! This man is probably the greatest theologian ever! His books are best sellers, and his accomplishments-Restoring the Latin Mass at the request of the people, fixing the priest/bishop homosexual abuse scandal, and bringing hope and joy to millions - are legendary already. Here are some of his words of wisdom, which, if you think about it, are the words of the Holy Spirit!
If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed.
We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.
Truth is not determined by a majority vote.
To make the sign of the cross is to pronounce a visible and public yes to him who died for us and who is risen, to the God who in the humility and weakness of his love is omnipotent, stronger than all the power and intelligence of the world.
The happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist.
Dear young people, the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist. Only he gives the fullness of life to humanity! With Mary, say your own “yes” to God, for he wishes to give himself to you.
In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering.
Receiving the Eucharist means adoring Him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with Him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy. The act of adoration outside Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself.
In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to meet us and desires to become one with us; eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the eucharistic celebration, which is itself the Church’s supreme act of adoration.
The Faith does not mean an alienation from any culture for any people because all cultures await Christ and are not destroyed by the Lord. In fact, they reach their maturity.
We are no longer able to hear God – There are too many frequencies filling our ears.
God is not solitude, but perfect communion. For this reason the human person, the image of God, realizes himself or herself in love, which is a sincere gift of self.
We were looking for a ‘good shepherd,’ and instead we got a German shepherd.
We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one’s own ego and one’s own desires. The church needs to withstand the tides of trends and the latest novelties. We must become mature in this adult faith, we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith.
Grant that we may be one flock and one shepherd. Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity.
Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.
I too hope in this short reign to be a man of peace.
Deeper understanding of the matter is bound to recognize that the Temple, as well as the synagogue, entered into Christian liturgy.
Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and ‘swept along by every wind of teaching,’ looks like the only attitude acceptable to today’s standards.
That the Jews are connected with God in a special way and that God does not allow that bond to fail is entirely obvious. We wait for the instant in which Israel will say yes to Christ, but we know that it has a special mission in history now ... which is significant for the world.
I think we must reflect more on what democracy in the exercise of authority would mean. Is truth determined by a majority vote, only for a new 'truth' to be 'discovered' by a new majority tomorrow?
Faith in the resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life which is a part of the person is indeed answered. God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed.
Our Christian conviction is that Christ is also the messiah of Israel. Certainly it is in the hands of God how and when the unification of Jews and Christians into the people of God will take place.
The church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also justice.
How much filth there is in the Church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to Him. How much pride, how much self-sufficiency.
In the Church, priests also are sinners. But I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower.
Celibacy is not a matter of compulsion. Someone is accepted as a priest only when he does it of his own accord.
In the United States, there is constant news on this topic (sexual abuse), but less than 1 percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts.
We have such difficulty understanding this renunciation today because the relationship to marriage and children has clearly shifted. To have to die without children was once synonymous with a useless life: The echoes of my own life die away, and I am completely dead. If I have children, then I continue to live in them; it's a sort of immortality through posterity. ...
The renunciation of marriage and family is thus to be understood in terms of this vision: I renounce what, humanly speaking, is not only the most normal but also the most important thing. I forgo bringing forth further life on the tree of life, and I live in the faith that my land is really God - and so I make it easier for others, also, to believe that there is a kingdom of heaven. I bear witness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel, not only with words, but also with this specific mode of existence, and I place my life in this form at his disposal.
Certainly, the contradiction of tensions and divisions between the followers of different religious traditions, sadly, cannot be denied. However, is it not also the case that often it is the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends, that is the real catalyst for tension and division, and at times even violence in society?
According to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies 'must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided'. They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however 'objectively disordered' and homosexual practices are 'sins gravely contrary to chastity'.
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church's pastors wherever it occurs... The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in work, in action and in law.
Men and women were created to be jointly the guarantee of the future of the humanity — not only a physical guarantee, but also a moral one.
Above all, we must have great respect for these people who also suffer and who want to find their own way of correct living. On the other hand, to create a legal form of a kind of homosexual marriage, in reality, does not help these people.
"Rock" [music]... is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.
Many people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ever more urgently in a confusing world, and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. They are challenged by the arguments of those who deny the existence of God and they wonder how to respond.. Where can we look for answers? The Spirit points us towards the way that leads to life, to love and to truth. The Spirit points us towards Jesus Christ. In him we find the answers we are seeking.
A harmonious relationship between religion and public life is all the more important at a time when some people have come to consider religion a cause of division rather than a force for unity. In a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate forms of violence, the unified voice of religious people urges nations and communities to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and with full regard for human dignity.
The religious sense planted within the human heart leads us to meet the needs of others and to search for concrete ways to contribute to the common good. Religion has a special role in this regard, for it teaches people that authentic service requires sacrifice and self-discipline, which in turn must be cultivated through self-denial, temperance and a moderate use of the world's goods.
By reminding us of human finitude and weakness, religion also enjoins us not to place our ultimate hope in this passing world.
The true source of freedom is found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe it is he who fully discloses the human potential for virtue and goodness, and it is he who liberates us from sin and darkness.
You might think that in today's world people are unlikely to start worshiping other gods. But sometimes people do worship 'other gods' without realizing it. False 'gods' are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: material possessions, possessive love, or power.
There is something sinister that stems from the fact that freedom and tolerance are so often separated from truth. This is fuelled by the notion, widely held today, that there are no absolute truths to guide our lives. Relativism, by indiscriminately giving value to practically everything, has made 'experience' all-important.
Life is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy.
Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.
Christ offers more! Indeed he offers everything! Only he who is the Truth can be the Way and hence also the Life.
We can be tempted to make the life of faith a matter of mere sentiment, thus blunting its power to inspire a consistent vision of the world and a rigorous dialogue with the many other visions competing for the minds and hearts of our contemporaries.
Walk in Christ's light daily through fidelity to personal and liturgical prayer, nourished by meditation on the inspired word of God.. Make the daily celebration of the Eucharist the center of your life.
Celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom means embracing a life completely devoted to love, a love that enables you to commit yourselves fully to God's service and to be totally present to your brothers and sisters, especially those in need.
Society today is being fragmented by a way of thinking that is inherently short-sighted because it disregards the full horizon of truth - the truth about God and about us. By its nature, relativism fails to see the whole picture. It ignores the very principles that enable us to live and flourish in unity, order and harmony.
The Holy Spirit! This is the Spirit's role: to bring Christ's work to fulfillment. Enriched with the Spirit's gifts, you will have the power to move beyond the piecemeal, the hollow utopia, the fleeting, to offer the consistency and certainty of Christian witness!
Love has a particular trait: it has a task or purpose to fulfill - to abide. By its nature, love is enduring. The Holy Spirit offers our world love that dispels uncertainty; love that overcomes the fear of betrayal; love that carries eternity within; the true love that draws us into a unity that abides!
The Holy Spirit is God eternally giving himself; like a never-ending spring he pours forth nothing less than himself. In view of this ceaseless gift, we come to see the limitations of all that perishes, the folly of the consumerist mindset. We begin to understand why the quest for novelty leaves us unsatisfied and wanting. Are we not looking for an eternal gift? For the spring that will never run dry?
Dear young people, we have seen that it is the Holy Spirit who brings about the wonderful communion of believers in Jesus Christ. True to his nature as giver and gift alike, he is even now working through you. Let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!
You are called to exercise the Spirit's gifts amidst the ups and downs of your daily life. Let your faith mature through your studies, work, sports, music and art. Let it be sustained by prayer and nurtured by the sacraments.
To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God's love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you can also transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Let wisdom, courage, awe and reverence be the marks of greatness!
As the source of our new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit is also, in a very real way, the soul of the Church, the love that binds us to the Lord and to one another, and the light that opens our eyes to see all around us the wonders of God's grace.
We have to let God's love break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church.
Dear young people: What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations? Are you living in a way that opens a space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the 'power' that the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you?
A new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished-not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty - a new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption that deaden our souls and poison our relationships.
Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.
The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading interior emptiness, unnamed fears, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns in a desperate search for meaning - the ultimate meaning that only love can give?....The Church also needs this renewal! She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit!
Do not be afraid to say 'yes' to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!
"There is more joy in giving than in receiving." Never doubt the truth of our Lord's promise that whatever we give him of our creativity, our resources, our persons, will come back to us in abundance.
For [the Virgin] Mary there were many struggles ahead as she lived out the consequences of the 'yes' she had given to the Lord. Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her heart. When Jesus was twelve she experienced every parent's worst nightmare when for three days the child was missing. And after his public ministry she suffered the agony of witnessing his crucifixion and death. Throughout her trials she remained faithful to her promise, sustained by the Spirit of fortitude. And she was generously rewarded.
We too must remain faithful to the 'yes' we have given to the Lord's offer of friendship. We know that he will never abandon us. We know that he will always sustain us through the gifts of the Spirit. Mary accepted the Lord's' proposal' in our name. So let us turn to her and ask her to guide us as we struggle to remain faithful to the life-giving relationship God has established with each one of us.
If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists. This norm is not at all a punishment or a discrimination against the divorced and remarried, but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion: '... If these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.
After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not "manufactured" by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity.... The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition... . The greatness of the liturgy depends - we shall have to repeat this frequently — on its unspontaneity.
“When human affairs are so ordered that there is no recognition of God, there is a belittling of man. That is why, in the final analysis, worship and law cannot be completely separated from each other. God has a right to a response from man, to man himself, and where that right of God totally disappears, the order of law among men is dissolved, because there is no cornerstone to keep the whole structure together.” Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
Unspontaneity is of their essence. In these rites I discover that something is approaching me here that I did not produce myself, that I am entering into something greater than myself, which ultimately derives from divine revelation. This is why the Christian East calls the liturgy the "Divine Liturgy", expressing thereby the liturgy's independence from human control.
There really is an ideological, secular aggressiveness that gives cause to worry. Recently in Sweden a Protestant parson was put into jail for one month because - referring to biblical texts - he preached about homosexuality. Laicism is not any longer that element of neutrality that opens fields of freedom for everybody. It’s now turning into an ideology, which – with the help of politics – forces itself into the public and leaves no space for the Christian and Catholic conception – thereby turning it into a merely private and essentially mutilated concern. In this sense a fight has really begun in which we have to defend the religious freedom against the pretension of an ideology, that acts as if it were the only voice of reason – whereas it is only the expression of “a certain” rationalism.... A society that is not at all concerned with God destroys itself. We saw that in the totalitarian experiments of the last century.
The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good.
Unlimited trust should only be placed in the real Word of the Revelation that we encounter in the faith transmitted by the Church.
We do not seek a Christ whom we have invented, for only in the real communion of the Church do we encounter the real Christ.