Thursday, September 30, 2010

Media Conference, in Dublin


Cleraun University Centre
90 Foster Avenue,
Mount Merrion,
Co. Dublin

St Jerome, pray for us

Saint Jerome visited by angels by Bartolomeo Cavarozzi



Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church, Father of the Church, (347 – 420) is best known for translating the Bible from Greek (the Septuagint) into Latin (the Vulgate).
"If, according to the Romans 8:26 Apostle Paul, we cannot pray as we feel, and speech does not express the thoughts of our own minds, how much more dangerous is it to judge of another man's heart, and to trace and explain the meaning of the particular words and expressions which he uses?" -St Jerome, Letter to Pammachius Against John of Jerusalem

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our Four Archbishops are off to Rome Next Week





Archbishops to travel to Rome in preparation for the Apostolic Visitation


At the invitation of the Congregation of Bishops, the four archbishops of Ireland will travel to Rome next week in preparation for the forthcoming Apostolic Visitation to the four archdioceses of Ireland.
The archbishops: Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin; Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly; and, Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, will meet with the four Apostolic Visitors in advance of their visitation which was announced last March in the Pastoral letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to the Catholics of Ireland.


The purpose of the Apostolic Visitation is to offer assistance and to contribute to the spiritual and moral renewal of the Church in Ireland.  The Visitation will facilitate reflection, evaluation and review of Church life.

On 31 May last the following Apostolic Visitors were announced for the four archdioceses:
  • Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, for the Archdiocese of Armagh;
  • Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, for the Archdiocese of Dublin;
  • Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, for the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly;
  • Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa, for the Archdiocese of Tuam.

Introducing Clonmacnois Press

Clonmacnois Press is a new Irish publishing company. It seeks to be at the service of the New Evangelisation, to inspire and help strengthen the Catholic faith everywhere. Check out their website. Their first book My First Holy Communion, is a much welcome resource. It is thoroughly Catholic, and beautifully illustrated. Make sure your parish priest knows about this. Multiple copies can be bought at a great price.  Every class preparing for first Holy Communion should have a set. Alive-O watch out! Well done to all involved.


St Genesius,
patron saint of printers,
pray for them.

Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.

The Archangels, Raphael, Michael and Gabriel


The Catechism of the Catholic Church (328-336)


I. THE ANGELS
The existence of angels - a truth of faith
328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.
 
Who are they?
329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'"188 With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word".189
330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.190
 
Christ "with all his angels"
331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . "191 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him."192 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"193
332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples.194 Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.195
333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'"196 Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!"197 They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been.198 Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection.199 They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement.200
 
The angels in the life of the Church
334 In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.201
335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy's In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .["May the angels lead you into Paradise. . ."]). Moreover, in the "Cherubic Hymn" of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).
336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.202 "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life."203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How do you define "substantial support"?

 Montgomery Clift as Fr. Michael William Logan,
in  Alfred Hitchcock's,  I Confess (1953)

Here is a laughable statement from the Association of Catholic Priests. "Jennifer Sleeman’s initiative this past weekend did not meet with universal approval, even among women.  But if did receive substantial support." What planet are they living on?  The "Mass Boycott" was a flop. Everyone went to Mass as usual. One woman in Clonakilty wore a green armband. I did not see any armbands at my church. How can you turn that into substantial support?

Another quote, "The Association of Priests knows of a certain number of committed Catholic women who did not attend Mass this past weekend. It is crucial that we remain in respectful dialogue with such women." Well I hope this respectful dialogue begins in the confessional.

San Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, pray for us.

St Lorenzo Ruiz
by Lourdes Santos;
 Appeared on 2009 National Book Store (Philippines)
Postcard dated 2009 (art created 1981)

Novena Prayer to San Lorenzo Ruiz


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

V. No one lives for himself; no one dies for himself.
R. We live and die for our God and our Lord, to him belongs all that lives. (Rom. 14:7-8)

Let us pray:
God our loving Father, we praise you!

We thank you for crowning our Filipino brother, Lorenzo Ruiz with martyrdom.

Through his intercession, enable us by your Holy Spirit of Love, to live and die for you and your beloved people, hoping that we may be transformed day by day into the likeness of your Son, Jesus.

United with him around the table of his Eucharistic Sacrifice, inspire us to surrender ourselves to be taken by you, Father, to be blessed, broken, and shared with and for others in love and unity, so that our beloved country may attain that peace we long for.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

Amen.

Our Father

Hail Mary (thrice)

Glory be

V. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary,

R. Help us to ponder and live by the Mysteries of the life of Jesus.

V. San Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions.

R. Pray for us that we may live and die for our faith. Amen.

Next Tuesday in Drogheda.

Lourdes (2009) is a film directed by Jessica Hausner.
It received the 2009 Vienna International Film Festival's Vienna Film Prize for best film.



Drogheda Arts centre
Tuesday, 5th October 2010
8pm
Venue: Stockwell Street Theatre
Tickets: €8 per screening

An excerpt from a review.

"The beauty of Hausner’s film is that just when you think she’s going to take a sneering swipe at Lourdes, its tacky trinkets and deluded visitors, the film takes a much less easy – and more inquiring – turn. Like Haneke, Hausner is more comfortable opening a debate than closing it. Some things are clear, though. Her photography is exquisite, evoking religious icons, and her mastery of directing such a group of actors at this exceptional location allows the film to maintain a strong ensemble feel while never losing sight of the mysterious story at its core. There’s also a delicious streak of black humour that runs through the film and stops it from becoming too pious or maudlin. The result is a provocative and surprising pleasure that may persuade even the most hardened rationalists to reconsider what religion means as a sanctity to those who have few other choices in life. "

Author: Dave Calhoun 2010-03-23, Time Out London

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Poor are Our Masters and Patrons.

  
St Vincent de Paul


St Vincent de Paul was born into poverty in France in 1581. He was ordained at the age of twenty. Five years later he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He escaped after converting his owner. He worked tirelessly to help the poor and the abandoned. He died on this day in 1660. His incorrupt heart is displayed in a reliquary in the the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity in Paris.
"Since Christ willed to be born poor, he chose for himself disciples who were poor. He made himself the servant of the poor and shared their poverty. He went so far as to say that he would consider every deed which either helps or harms the poor as done for or against himself. Since God surely loves the poor, he also love whose who love the poor. For when on person holds another dear, he also includes in his affection anyone who loves or serves the one he loves. That is why we hope that God will love us for the sake of the poor. So when we visit the poor and needy, we try to be understanding where they are concerned. We sympathize with them so fully that we can echo Paul’s words: “I have become all things to all men.” Therefore, we must try to be stirred by our neighbors’ worries and distress. It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity. With renewed devotion, then, we must serve the poor, especially outcasts and beggars. They have been given to us as our masters and patrons. - Saint Vincent de Paul


St Vincent de Paul, pray for us




Can you help?
Make a donation?
Become a volunteer?
Visit
http://www.svp.ie/

New Blog

The blog sphere became a better place yesterday. Ex Umbris Et Imaginibus is the new blog of Fr John Hogan. I will definitely bookmark this one!




Saturday, September 25, 2010

Deathly Hallows, Part 1 Trailer now online!

Beatification of Chiara Badano, today.

Chiara "Luce" Badano
Born: 29 October 1971 in Savona, Italy

Died: 7 October 1990
Chiara Luce Badano, an 18-year-old-girl, will be beatified in Rome, today Sept. 25th, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love.  The beatification will be broadcast live at www.focolare.org.

Chiara was an only child. She became a member of  the Focolare Movement at the age of nine. God always came first in her life. At age sixteen she began to feel drawn to religious life, but soon afterward she was diagnosed with cancer in her shoulder. She accepted her suffering without complaint. She is called "a saint of our times" by the local bishop in Italy who knew her personally. He sees this 18-year-old, who died after a three-year struggle with bone cancer, as a guiding light "Luce" especially for young people. Asked if she talked about spirituality with her school friends, she said, "Talking about God doesn't count for much.  I have to give Him."


I'll be a saint, if I'm a saint now.

If you want it Jesus, so do I.

Embraced pain makes one free.

-Chiara Badano


Prayer

O Father, source of all good,
through Your Son Jesus
you produce wonderful goodness in those
who entrust themselves to Your love,
we give You thanks for the Christian
testimony of Chiara Badano.
Inspired by the fervor of Your Spirit,
she found in the union with Jesus
the light to recognize in Love
life's ideal and the strength to offer her youth,
in filial abandonment to Your will,
for the good of the Church.
If it is Your will that
the example of the Servant of God
be proposed to the veneration
of the faithful, we pray that you give us
the grace of ..… for the glory of
Your Fatherly benevolence.
We ask this through Our Lord
Jesus Christ. Amen

Friday, September 24, 2010

Women of Ireland, go to mass on Sunday, if you live in Clonakilty go twice!

As you may know, Jennifer Sleeman, from Clonakilty, in county Cork, is organising a boycott of Sunday Mass, on September 26th. She now has a bit of a world wide following. Unhappy catholic women across the world are going to boycott mass, wear green arm bands, or withhold their donations etc. How sad? Some are even going to have "women led" liturgies (awful thought).

Will I go to Mass on Sunday? Absolutely, yes. Try and stop me.

As a woman, I do not feel oppressed by the church, not one little bit. I love going to Mass. I love being a Catholic. I love the Church. I don't want to be a priest. I don't want to say Mass. I don't want to give the homily. I don't want some else's vocation. I'll accept for my vocation, that's work enough for me.

Some laity seem to forget, that we have plenty of work to do in the world, yes the big bad world that we live in. As lay people we have access, to places that the parish priest, curate, bishop, religious do not. Our homes, school gates, clubs, associations, communities and workplaces need the Lord. Our children, spouses, family, friends, and work colleagues long to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have we done our bit? We are called to love them, to witness to them, to evangelise them, to pray with and for them. 

To the women who seek more involvement in the Church, I say, evangelise your children and your spouse. Evangelise your brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents. Evangelise your neighbours, friends, acquaintances and work colleagues. This is important work, but work that many do not seem to want to do. I for one am shocking busy trying to do my part. I hardly have enough hours in the day. Join the Legion of Mary, St Vincent dePaul, the choir, the Altar Society, the Lectio Group, and the other groups that exist in many parishes. When you are finished with that lot, I am sure your PP will find you something else to do, if you still have excess time and energy!

I know that Church teaching is not always easy to follow, but I also know that following it is in my best interest. The Lord wants me to be happy, and I want to be happy too! Rejecting church teaching causes an awful lot of misery. So why go there? Surrender and be Happy!

So women of Ireland, go to mass this Sunday. The Mass is the source and summit of our lives as Christians. The Lord will be waiting.

 “If they will not listen either to Moses or to the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead.” -from this Sunday's Gospel.

Friday Prayer and Penance

 
Antonio CiseriThe Deposition of Christ (c. 1883)

Prayer for the Church in Ireland

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.

Amen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

St Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us

St Pio of Pietrelcina

 
Some words from St Pio

Whenever you are seized by melancholy,
 let your thoughts dwell on that fateful night
on which the Son of God began the work of
redemption in the solitude of Gethsemane and
offer your own sufferings to the Divine Father,
along with the sufferings of Jesus.


Let us keep before our minds that which makes up real holiness.
Holiness means getting above ourselves; it means perfect mastery
of all our passions. It means having real and continual contempt for
ourselves and for the things of the world to the point of preferring
poverty rather than wealth, humiliation rather than glory, suffering
rather than pleasure. Holiness means loving our neighbor as ourself
for love of God. In this connection holiness means loving those who
curse us, who hate and persecute us and even doing good to them.
Holiness means living humbly, being disinterested, prudent, just,
patient, kind, chaste, meek, diligent, carrying out one's duties for
no other reason than that of pleasing God and receiving from
Him alone the reward one deserves.

From the Belfast Telegraph

By Gail Walker
Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Iona Institute conference

In Defence of Freedom of Conscience and Religion






Venue:
Alexander Hotel (behind the Davenport Hotel), Dublin 2
Friday, September 24, 2010
Time: 9:30am-1:00pm
Chair: Bishop Ken Good
Admission free
Schedule:
9.30 Registration
9.45 Welcome and introductory remarks
10.00 The growing crackdown on religious freedom - Neil Addison
10.50 Coffee break
11.10 Freedom of conscience and religion: what it is and why we need it - Professor Roger Trigg
12.00 Freedom of conscience and religion in Ireland - David Quinn
12.40 - 13.00 Questions and closing remarks - Speakers and chair
Neil Addison is a barrister who specialises in religious freedom cases in the UK. He was a Senior Crown Prosecutor for a number of years and previously worked with Housing Associations and in the commercial sector. He is now in private practice working in Civil, Criminal and Employment law.
Professor Roger Trigg is a Senior Research Fellow in the University of Oxford Faculty of Theology and a member the Faculty of Philosophy. His work has consistently opposed relativism in various fields, and has upheld the relevance of appeals to an objective reality, and to human nature. His most recent book, Religion in Public Life: Must Faith be Privatized? (OUP 2007), deals with religion in the public sphere and the issue of the public recognition of religion in a pluralist society.
David Quinn is a religious and social affairs commentator. His columns appear weekly in The Irish Independent and The Irish Catholic. He appears regularly on TV and radio and he is director of The Iona Institute.
Chair: The Right Reverend Ken Good is Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe. He was ordained in 1978 and became a Bishop in 2002. He has studied at Trinity College, Dublin; St John's College, Nottingham; and University College, Dublin.


If you are interested in coming, and have not already contacted us,
please email info@ionainstitute.ie or phone 01 6619 204.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Useless piece of information alert!

On September 22,
2890 the Third Age, Bilbo Baggins was born


 "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
 -Bilbo's speech at his birthday party

St Maurice and the Theban Legion, martyrs, pray for us.

St Maurice and the Theban Legion
Coptic icon by Andrew Fanous


"According to the hagiographical material, the legion, entirely composed of Christians, had been called from Thebes in Egypt to Gaul to assist Maximian to defeat a revolt by the bagaudae. However, when Maximian ordered them to harass some local Christians, they refused and Maximian ordered the unit punished. Every tenth soldier was killed, a military punishment known as decimation. More orders followed, they still refused, partly because of Maurice's encouragement, and a second decimation was ordered. In response to their refusal to use violence against fellow Christians, Maximian ordered all the remaining members of the 6,666 unit executed. The place in Switzerland where this occurred, known as Agaunum, is now Saint Maurice-en-Valais, site of the Abbey of Saint Maurice-en-Valais." (Wikipedia)


Prayer

Saint Maurice, most blessed and honourable patron saint,
you who fought so valiantly on the battlefield of faith,
steadfastly opposed the tyranny of earthly rulers,
boldly confessed faith in the one true God,
and preferred to die by the sword rather than
to betray your Lord, Jesus Christ, pray for us.
O holy martyr and loyal soldier of Christ,
obtain for us the courage to persevere in truth,
to be a light in the darkness of the times in which we live,
and to defend the honour of the Church wherever it is opposed.
Obtain also for us the grace to endure patiently
all the trials and hardships of this life,
and to carry our cross in the spirit of prayer and self-denial.
In particular we ask you to obtain for us from God the following favour:
[mention your special request].
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.
Amen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In Dublin tonight?

St Genesius Film Society
presents



Tue 21st Sept
knights of Colombanus,
Ely Place, Dublin 2
7pm

Come along a bring a friend.
All Welcome
Film, Discussion, Refreshments.

St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, pray for us

Saint Matthew and the Angelby Guido Reni

 
Prayer to St. Matthew
 
O Glorious St. Matthew, in your Gospel
you portray Jesus as the longed-for Messiah
who fulfilled the Prophets of the Old Covenant
and as the new Lawgiver who founded
a Church of the New Covenant.
Obtain for us the grace to see Jesus living in
his Church and to follow his teachings
in our lives on earth so that we may
live forever with him in heaven.

First group begin formation for the Permanent Diaconate in Dublin

St Laurence, patron saint of deacons.

On Friday the 17th of September, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin celebrated the Rite of Admission to Candidacy, with the first group of men to begin their formation for the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese of Dublin. A special ceremony was held at the Church of Divine Mercy in Lucan at the weekend.

The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for ordination to the Permanent Diaconate is celebrated when candidates have reached a maturity of purpose and are shown to have the necessary qualifications. The candidates are invited to express publicly their intention of receiving Holy Orders. The Archbishop accepts their intention publicly.

The ten candidates are: Jim Adams, Eric Cooney, Gabriel Corcoran, Albert Fiedeldey, Charles Kavanagh, Gerard Larkin, Steve Maher Gerard Reilly, Noel Ryan, Joseph Walshe.

More information (pdf) on the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Benedict XVI's busy schedule. How does he do it?

Monday, September 20, 2010

St Januarius, martyr,pray for us, again!

In April I called upon the intercession of St Januarius. I knew nothing about this saint, until an unknown volcano erupted in Iceland. Europe eventually can to a standstill. The Fraternity of St Genesius pilgrimage to the Holy Shoud of Turin, was looking doubtful.  We watched the weather and the wind for days, hoping and praying. Our flight was eventually cancelled at the last minute, (how cruel!) But it all eventually worked out for the best, our trip was rescheduled, and we had a wonderful, grace filled pilgrimage. So I will always remember St Januarius.

St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento during the persecution of Emperor Diocletion. Bishop Januarius went to visit two deacons and two laymen in prison. He was then also imprisoned. They were thrown to the wild beasts, but when the animals did not attack them, they were then beheaded. Saint Januarius is famous for the reputed miracle of the annual liquefaction of his blood, which, according to legend, was saved by a woman called Eusebia just after the saint's death. Thousands of people assemble to witness this event in Naples Cathedral each September 19th.




Celebrate the Beatification in Dublin

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SpeechPope Benedict XVI's Farewell Address at Birmingham Airport

Birmingham International Airport, Sunday, 19 September 2010

Prime Minister,

Thank you for your kind words of farewell on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government and the people of the United Kingdom. I am very grateful for all the hard work of preparation, on the part of both the present and the previous Government, the civil service, local authorities and police, and the many volunteers who patiently helped to prepare for the events of these four days. Thank you for the warmth of your welcome and for the hospitality that I have enjoyed.

During my time with you, I have been able to meet representatives of the many communities, cultures, languages and religions that make up British society. The very diversity of modern Britain is a challenge to its Government and people, but it also represents a great opportunity to further intercultural and interreligious dialogue for the enrichment of the entire community.

In these days, I was grateful for the opportunity to meet Her Majesty The Queen, as well as yourself and other political leaders, and to be able to discuss matters of common interest, both at home and abroad. I was particularly honoured to be invited to address both Houses of Parliament in the historic precincts of Westminster Hall. I sincerely hope that these occasions will contribute to confirming and strengthening the excellent relations between the Holy See and the United Kingdom, especially in cooperation for international development, in care for the natural environment, and in the building of a civil society with a renewed sense of shared values and common purpose.

It was also my pleasure to visit His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishops of the Church of England, and later to pray with them and our fellow Christians in the evocative surroundings of Westminster Abbey, a place which speaks so eloquently of our shared traditions and culture. As Britain is home to so many religious traditions, I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet their representatives and to share some thoughts with them about the contribution that the religions can offer to the development of a healthy pluralistic society.

Naturally, my visit was directed in a special way to the Catholics of the United Kingdom. I treasure the time spent with the bishops, clergy, religious and laity, and with teachers, pupils and older people. It was especially moving to celebrate with them, here in Birmingham, the beatification of a great son of England, Cardinal John Henry Newman. With his vast legacy of scholarly and spiritual writings, I am certain that he still has much to teach us about Christian living and witness amid the challenges of today’s world, challenges which he foresaw with such remarkable clarity.

As I take my leave of you, let me assure you once again of my good wishes and prayers for the peace and prosperity of Great Britain. Thank you very much and God bless you all!

Pope Benedict's Address at Oscott College

I encourage you now to seize the opportunity that the new translation
offers for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion
in the manner of its celebration. “The more lively the eucharistic faith of the people of God,
 the deeper is its sharing in ecclesial life in steadfast commitment to the mission entrusted by
Christ to his disciples” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 6).

Oscott College, Sunday, 19 September 2010

My dear Brother Bishops,

This has been a day of great joy for the Catholic community in these islands. Blessed John Henry Newman, as we may now call him, has been raised to the altars as an example of heroic faithfulness to the Gospel and an intercessor for the Church in this land that he loved and served so well. Here in this very chapel in 1852, he gave voice to the new confidence and vitality of the Catholic community in England and Wales after the restoration of the hierarchy, and his words could be applied equally to Scotland a quarter of a century later. His beatification today is a reminder of the Holy Spirit’s continuing action in calling forth gifts of holiness from among the people of Great Britain, so that from east to west and from north to south, a perfect offering of praise and thanksgiving may be made to the glory of God’s name.

I thank Cardinal O’Brien and Archbishop Nichols for their words, and in so doing, I am reminded how recently I was able to welcome all of you to Rome for the Ad Limina visits of your respective Episcopal Conferences. We spoke then about some of the challenges you face as you lead your people in faith, particularly regarding the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel afresh in a highly secularized environment. In the course of my visit it has become clear to me how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the Good News of Jesus Christ. You have been chosen by God to offer them the living water of the Gospel, encouraging them to place their hopes, not in the vain enticements of this world, but in the firm assurances of the next. As you proclaim the coming of the Kingdom, with its promise of hope for the poor and the needy, the sick and the elderly, the unborn and the neglected, be sure to present in its fulness the life-giving message of the Gospel, including those elements which call into question the widespread assumptions of today’s culture. As you know, a Pontifical Council has recently been established for the New Evangelization of countries of long-standing Christian tradition, and I would encourage you to avail yourselves of its services in addressing the task before you. Moreover, many of the new ecclesial movements have a particular charism for evangelization, and I know that you will continue to explore appropriate and effective ways of involving them in the mission of the Church.

Since your visit to Rome, political changes in the United Kingdom have focused attention on the consequences of the financial crisis, which has caused so much hardship to countless individuals and families. The spectre of unemployment is casting its shadow over many people’s lives, and the long-term cost of the ill-advised investment practices of recent times is becoming all too evident. In these circumstances, there will be additional calls on the characteristic generosity of British Catholics, and I know that you will take a lead in calling for solidarity with those in need. The prophetic voice of Christians has an important role in highlighting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged, who can so easily be overlooked in the allocation of limited resources. In their teaching document Choosing the Common Good, the Bishops of England and Wales underlined the importance of the practice of virtue in public life. Today’s circumstances provide a good opportunity to reinforce that message, and indeed to encourage people to aspire to higher moral values in every area of their lives, against a background of growing cynicism regarding even the possibility of virtuous living.

Another matter which has received much attention in recent months, and which seriously undermines the moral credibility of Church leaders, is the shameful abuse of children and young people by priests and religious. I have spoken on many occasions of the deep wounds that such behaviour causes, in the victims first and foremost, but also in the relationships of trust that should exist between priests and people, between priests and their bishops, and between the Church authorities and the public. I know that you have taken serious steps to remedy this situation, to ensure that children are effectively protected from harm and to deal properly and transparently with allegations as they arise. You have publicly acknowledged your deep regret over what has happened, and the often inadequate ways it was addressed in the past. Your growing awareness of the extent of child abuse in society, its devastating effects, and the need to provide proper victim support should serve as an incentive to share the lessons you have learned with the wider community. Indeed, what better way could there be of making reparation for these sins than by reaching out, in a humble spirit of compassion, towards children who continue to suffer abuse elsewhere? Our duty of care towards the young demands nothing less.

As we reflect on the human frailty that these tragic events so starkly reveal, we are reminded that, if we are to be effective Christian leaders, we must live lives of the utmost integrity, humility and holiness. As Blessed John Henry Newman once wrote, “O that God would grant the clergy to feel their weakness as sinful men, and the people to sympathize with them and love them and pray for their increase in all good gifts of grace” (Sermon, 22 March 1829). I pray that among the graces of this visit will be a renewed dedication on the part of Christian leaders to the prophetic vocation they have received, and a new appreciation on the part of the people for the great gift of the ordained ministry. Prayer for vocations will then arise spontaneously, and we may be confident that the Lord will respond by sending labourers to bring in the plentiful harvest that he has prepared throughout the United Kingdom (cf. Mt 9:37-38). In this regard, I am glad that I will shortly have the opportunity to meet the seminarians of England, Scotland and Wales, and to assure them of my prayers as they prepare to play their part in bringing in that harvest.

Finally, I should like to speak to you about two specific matters that affect your episcopal ministry at this time. One is the imminent publication of the new translation of the Roman Missal. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the contribution you have made, with such painstaking care, to the collegial exercise of reviewing and approving the texts. This has provided an immense service to Catholics throughout the English-speaking world. I encourage you now to seize the opportunity that the new translation offers for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration. “The more lively the eucharistic faith of the people of God, the deeper is its sharing in ecclesial life in steadfast commitment to the mission entrusted by Christ to his disciples” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 6). The other matter I touched upon in February with the Bishops of England and Wales, when I asked you to be generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all. Let us continue to pray and work unceasingly in order to hasten the joyful day when that goal can be accomplished.

With these sentiments, I thank you warmly for your hospitality over the past four days. Commending all of you and the people you serve to the intercession of Saint Andrew, Saint David and Saint George, I am pleased to impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all the clergy, religious and lay faithful of England, Scotland and Wales.

Angelus Address Crofton Park, 19 September 2010


Mary, Sedes Sapientiae,
Madonna as Seat of Wisdom,
1199, from the Camaldolese abbey in Borgo San Sepolcro near Arezzo, Italy




V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ.
R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

V. Ecce Ancilla Domini.
R. Fiat mihi secundum Verbum tuum.
Ave Maria...
V. Et Verbum caro factum est.
R. Et habitavit in nobis.
Ave Maria...
V. Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
Oremus: Gratiam tuam quæsumus, Domine,
mentibus nostris infunde;
ut qui, angelo nuntiante,
Christi Filii tui Incarnationem cognovimus,
per passionem eius et crucem,
ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur.
Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

I am pleased to send my greetings to the people of Seville where, just yesterday, Madre María de la Purísima de la Cruz was beatified. May Blessed María be an inspiration to young women to follow her example of single-minded love of God and neighbour.

When Blessed John Henry Newman came to live in Birmingham, he gave the name “Maryvale” to his first home here. The Oratory that he founded is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. And the Catholic University of Ireland he placed under the patronage of Mary, Sedes Sapientiae. In so many ways, he lived his priestly ministry in a spirit of filial devotion to the Mother of God. Meditating upon her role in the unfolding of God’s plan for our salvation, he was moved to exclaim: “Who can estimate the holiness and perfection of her, who was chosen to be the Mother of Christ? What must have been her gifts, who was chosen to be the only near earthly relative of the Son of God, the only one whom He was bound by nature to revere and look up to; the one appointed to train and educate Him, to instruct Him day by day, as He grew in wisdom and in stature?” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, ii, 131-2). It is on account of those abundant gifts of grace that we honour her, and it is on account of that intimacy with her divine Son that we naturally seek her intercession for our own needs and the needs of the whole world. In the words of the Angelus, we turn now to our Blessed Mother and commend to her the intentions that we hold in our hearts.

Pope Benedict's Homily at the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman


Cofton Park, Sunday, 19 September 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This day that has brought us together here in Birmingham is a most auspicious one. In the first place, it is the Lord’s day, Sunday, the day when our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead and changed the course of human history for ever, offering new life and hope to all who live in darkness and in the shadow of death. That is why Christians all over the world come together on this day to give praise and thanks to God for the great marvels he has worked for us. This particular Sunday also marks a significant moment in the life of the British nation, as it is the day chosen to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain. For me as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany, it is deeply moving to be here with you on this occasion, and to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology. My thoughts go in particular to nearby Coventry, which suffered such heavy bombardment and massive loss of life in November 1940. Seventy years later, we recall with shame and horror the dreadful toll of death and destruction that war brings in its wake, and we renew our resolve to work for peace and reconciliation wherever the threat of conflict looms. Yet there is another, more joyful reason why this is an auspicious day for Great Britain, for the Midlands, for Birmingham. It is the day that sees Cardinal John Henry Newman formally raised to the altars and declared Blessed.

I thank Archbishop Bernard Longley for his gracious welcome at the start of Mass this morning. I pay tribute to all who have worked so hard over many years to promote the cause of Cardinal Newman, including the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory and the members of the Spiritual Family Das Werk. And I greet everyone here from Great Britain, Ireland, and further afield; I thank you for your presence at this celebration, in which we give glory and praise to God for the heroic virtue of a saintly Englishman.

England has a long tradition of martyr saints, whose courageous witness has sustained and inspired the Catholic community here for centuries. Yet it is right and fitting that we should recognize today the holiness of a confessor, a son of this nation who, while not called to shed his blood for the Lord, nevertheless bore eloquent witness to him in the course of a long life devoted to the priestly ministry, and especially to preaching, teaching, and writing. He is worthy to take his place in a long line of saints and scholars from these islands, Saint Bede, Saint Hilda, Saint Aelred, Blessed Duns Scotus, to name but a few. In Blessed John Henry, that tradition of gentle scholarship, deep human wisdom and profound love for the Lord has borne rich fruit, as a sign of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit deep within the heart of God’s people, bringing forth abundant gifts of holiness.

Cardinal Newman’s motto, Cor ad cor loquitur, or "Heart speaks unto heart", gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God. He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness. As he wrote in one of his many fine sermons, "a habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency – prayer, I say, has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualizing and elevating the soul. A man is no longer what he was before; gradually … he has imbibed a new set of ideas, and become imbued with fresh principles" (Parochial and Plain Sermons, iv, 230-231). Today’s Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters (cf. Lk 16:13), and Blessed John Henry’s teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion (cf. Mt 23:10). Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives: he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a "definite service", committed uniquely to every single person: "I have my mission", he wrote, "I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place … if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling" (Meditations and Devotions, 301-2).

The definite service to which Blessed John Henry was called involved applying his keen intellect and his prolific pen to many of the most pressing "subjects of the day". His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world. I would like to pay particular tribute to his vision for education, which has done so much to shape the ethos that is the driving force behind Catholic schools and colleges today. Firmly opposed to any reductive or utilitarian approach, he sought to achieve an educational environment in which intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together. The project to found a Catholic University in Ireland provided him with an opportunity to develop his ideas on the subject, and the collection of discourses that he published as The Idea of a University holds up an ideal from which all those engaged in academic formation can continue to learn. And indeed, what better goal could teachers of religion set themselves than Blessed John Henry’s famous appeal for an intelligent, well-instructed laity: "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it" (The Present Position of Catholics in England, ix, 390). On this day when the author of those words is raised to the altars, I pray that, through his intercession and example, all who are engaged in the task of teaching and catechesis will be inspired to greater effort by the vision he so clearly sets before us.

While it is John Henry Newman’s intellectual legacy that has understandably received most attention in the vast literature devoted to his life and work, I prefer on this occasion to conclude with a brief reflection on his life as a priest, a pastor of souls. The warmth and humanity underlying his appreciation of the pastoral ministry is beautifully expressed in another of his famous sermons: "Had Angels been your priests, my brethren, they could not have condoled with you, sympathized with you, have had compassion on you, felt tenderly for you, and made allowances for you, as we can; they could not have been your patterns and guides, and have led you on from your old selves into a new life, as they can who come from the midst of you" ("Men, not Angels: the Priests of the Gospel", Discourses to Mixed Congregations, 3). He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison. No wonder that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here. One hundred and twenty years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church’s solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much-loved father of souls. What better way to express the joy of this moment than by turning to our heavenly Father in heartfelt thanksgiving, praying in the words that Blessed John Henry Newman placed on the lips of the choirs of angels in heaven:

Praise to the Holiest in the height
And in the depth be praise;
In all his words most wonderful,
Most sure in all his ways!
(The Dream of Gerontius).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Westminster Papal Mass on Youtube


I was very impressed by Mass at Westminster Cathedral yesterday. The liturgy was excellent and I really enjoyed the music. So when I went hunting I was delighted to find that it has already made it to Youtube. So if you missed it, enjoy! Check out the music after the proclaimation of the Gospel, starting 4:40.

Part 2    Part 3    Part 4   Part 5

The Holy Father's Hyde Park Vigil Address


My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This is an evening of joy, of immense spiritual joy, for all of us. We are gathered here in prayerful vigil to prepare for tomorrow’s Mass, during which a great son of this nation, Cardinal John Henry Newman, will be declared Blessed. How many people, in England and throughout the world, have longed for this moment! It is also a great joy for me, personally, to share this experience with you. As you know, Newman has long been an important influence in my own life and thought, as he has been for so many people beyond these isles. The drama of Newman’s life invites us to examine our lives, to see them against the vast horizon of God’s plan, and to grow in communion with the Church of every time and place: the Church of the apostles, the Church of the martyrs, the Church of the saints, the Church which Newman loved and to whose mission he devoted his entire life.

I thank Archbishop Peter Smith for his kind words of welcome in your name, and I am especially pleased to see the many young people who are present for this vigil. This evening, in the context of our common prayer, I would like to reflect with you about a few aspects of Newman’s life which I consider very relevant to our lives as believers and to the life of the Church today.

Let me begin by recalling that Newman, by his own account, traced the course of his whole life back to a powerful experience of conversion which he had as a young man. It was an immediate experience of the truth of God’s word, of the objective reality of Christian revelation as handed down in the Church. This experience, at once religious and intellectual, would inspire his vocation to be a minister of the Gospel, his discernment of the source of authoritative teaching in the Church of God, and his zeal for the renewal of ecclesial life in fidelity to the apostolic tradition. At the end of his life, Newman would describe his life’s work as a struggle against the growing tendency to view religion as a purely private and subjective matter, a question of personal opinion. Here is the first lesson we can learn from his life: in our day, when an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to sap the very foundations of our society, Newman reminds us that, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfilment of our deepest human aspirations. In a word, we are meant to know Christ, who is himself “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6).

Newman’s life also teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly. The truth that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, it begs to be heard, and in the end its convincing power comes from itself and not from the human eloquence or arguments in which it may be couched. Not far from here, at Tyburn, great numbers of our brothers and sisters died for the faith; the witness of their fidelity to the end was ever more powerful than the inspired words that so many of them spoke before surrendering everything to the Lord. In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society.

Finally, Newman teaches us that if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom. Newman understood this, and was the great champion of the prophetic office of the Christian laity. He saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness; those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognize what is false and, precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, veritatis splendor.

Tonight’s first reading is the magnificent prayer in which Saint Paul asks that we be granted to know “the love of Christ which surpasses all understanding” (Eph 3:14-21). The Apostle prays that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith (cf. Eph 3:17) and that we may come to “grasp, with all the saints, the breadth and the length, the height and the depth” of that love. Through faith we come to see God’s word as a lamp for our steps and light for our path (cf. Ps 119:105). Newman, like the countless saints who preceded him along the path of Christian discipleship, taught that the “kindly light” of faith leads us to realize the truth about ourselves, our dignity as God’s children, and the sublime destiny which awaits us in heaven. By letting the light of faith shine in our hearts, and by abiding in that light through our daily union with the Lord in prayer and participation in the life-giving sacraments of the Church, we ourselves become light to those around us; we exercise our “prophetic office”; often, without even knowing it, we draw people one step closer to the Lord and his truth. Without the life of prayer, without the interior transformation which takes place through the grace of the sacraments, we cannot, in Newman’s words, “radiate Christ”; we become just another “clashing cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1) in a world filled with growing noise and confusion, filled with false paths leading only to heartbreak and illusion.

One of the Cardinal’s best-loved meditations includes the words, “God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another” (Meditations on Christian Doctrine). Here we see Newman’s fine Christian realism, the point at which faith and life inevitably intersect. Faith is meant to bear fruit in the transformation of our world through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives and activity of believers. No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society. We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in his providence and we pray for his continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person. As our Lord tells us in the Gospel we have just heard, our light must shine in the sight of all, so that, seeing our good works, they may give praise to our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:16).

Here I wish to say a special word to the many young people present. Dear young friends: only Jesus knows what “definite service” he has in mind for you. Be open to his voice resounding in the depths of your heart: even now his heart is speaking to your heart. Christ has need of families to remind the world of the dignity of human love and the beauty of family life. He needs men and women who devote their lives to the noble task of education, tending the young and forming them in the ways of the Gospel. He needs those who will consecrate their lives to the pursuit of perfect charity, following him in chastity, poverty and obedience, and serving him in the least of our brothers and sisters. He needs the powerful love of contemplative religious, who sustain the Church’s witness and activity through their constant prayer. And he needs priests, good and holy priests, men who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep. Ask our Lord what he has in mind for you! Ask him for the generosity to say “yes!” Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfil your vocation. Let me finish these few words by warmly inviting you to join me next year in Madrid for World Youth Day. It is always a wonderful occasion to grow in love for Christ and to be encouraged in a joyful life of faith along with thousands of other young people. I hope to see many of you there!

And now, dear friends, let us continue our vigil of prayer by preparing to encounter Christ, present among us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Together, in the silence of our common adoration, let us open our minds and hearts to his presence, his love, and the convincing power of his truth. In a special way, let us thank him for the enduring witness to that truth offered by Cardinal John Henry Newman. Trusting in his prayers, let us ask the Lord to illumine our path, and the path of all British society, with the kindly light of his truth, his love and his peace. Amen.

Pope Benedict's Speech to St Peter's Residents and Staff

St Peter's Residence, Vauxhall, Saturday 18 September 2010

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am very pleased to be among you, the residents of Saint Peter’s, and to thank Sister Marie Claire and Mrs Fasky for their kind words of welcome on your behalf. I am also pleased to greet Archbishop Smith of Southwark, as well as the Little Sisters of the Poor and the personnel and volunteers who look after you.
As advances in medicine and other factors lead to increased longevity, it is important to recognize the presence of growing numbers of older people as a blessing for society. Every generation can learn from the experience and wisdom of the generation that preceded it. Indeed the provision of care for the elderly should be considered not so much an act of generosity as the repayment of a debt of gratitude.

For her part, the Church has always had great respect for the elderly. The Fourth Commandment, “Honour your father and your mother as the Lord your God commanded you” (Deut 5:16), is linked to the promise, “that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you, in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Deut 5:16). This work of the Church for the aging and infirm not only provides love and care for them, but is also rewarded by God with the blessings he promises on the land where this commandment is observed. God wills a proper respect for the dignity and worth, the health and well-being of the elderly and, through her charitable institutions in Britain and beyond, the Church seeks to fulfil the Lord’s command to respect life, regardless of age or circumstances.

At the very start of my pontificate I said, “Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary” (Homily at the Mass for the Beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome, 24 April 2005). Life is a unique gift, at every stage from conception until natural death, and it is God’s alone to give and to take. One may enjoy good health in old age; but equally Christians should not be afraid to share in the suffering of Christ, if God wills that we struggle with infirmity. My predecessor, the late Pope John Paul, suffered very publicly during the last years of his life. It was clear to all of us that he did so in union with the sufferings of our Saviour. His cheerfulness and forbearance as he faced his final days were a remarkable and moving example to all of us who have to carry the burden of advancing years.

In this sense, I come among you not only as a father, but also as a brother who knows well the joys and the struggles that come with age. Our long years of life afford us the opportunity to appreciate both the beauty of God’s greatest gift to us, the gift of life, as well as the fragility of the human spirit. Those of us who live many years are given a marvellous chance to deepen our awareness of the mystery of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. As the normal span of our lives increases, our physical capacities are often diminished; and yet these times may well be among the most spiritually fruitful years of our lives. These years are an opportunity to remember in affectionate prayer all those whom we have cherished in this life, and to place all that we have personally been and done before the mercy and tenderness of God. This will surely be a great spiritual comfort and enable us to discover anew his love and goodness all the days of our life.

With these sentiments, dear brothers and sisters, I am pleased to assure you of my prayers for you all, and I ask for your prayers for me. May our blessed Lady and her spouse Saint Joseph intercede for our happiness in this life and obtain for us the blessing of a serene passage to the next.
May God bless you all!

Holy Father's Address to professionals and volunteers responsible for child protection

St Peter's Residence, Vauxhall, Saturday 18 September 2010

Dear Friends,

I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you, who represent the many professionals and volunteers responsible for child protection in church environments. The Church has a long tradition of caring for children from their earliest years through to adulthood, following the affectionate example of Christ, who blessed the children brought to him, and who taught his disciples that to such as these the Kingdom of Heaven belongs (cf. Mk 10:13-16).

Your work, carried out within the framework of the recommendations made in the first instance by the Nolan Report and subsequently by the Cumberlege Commission, has made a vital contribution to the promotion of safe environments for young people. It helps to ensure that the preventative measures put in place are effective, that they are maintained with vigilance, and that any allegations of abuse are dealt with swiftly and justly. On behalf of the many children you serve and their parents, let me thank you for the good work that you have done and continue to do in this field.

It is deplorable that, in such marked contrast to the Church’s long tradition of care for them, children have suffered abuse and mistreatment at the hands of some priests and religious. We have all become much more aware of the need to safeguard children, and you are an important part of the Church’s broad-ranging response to the problem. While there are never grounds for complacency, credit should be given where it is due: the efforts of the Church in this country and elsewhere, especially in the last ten years, to guarantee the safety of children and young people and to show them every respect as they grow to maturity, should be acknowledged. I pray that your generous service will help to reinforce an atmosphere of trust and renewed commitment to the welfare of children, who are such a precious gift from God.

May God prosper your work, and may he pour out his blessings upon all of you.

Message to the Faithful of Wales



Westminster Cathedral, Chapel of St Paul, Saturday, 18 September 2010

Dear Bishop Regan,

Thank you for your very warm greeting on behalf of the faithful of Wales. I am happy to have this opportunity to honour the nation and its ancient Christian traditions by blessing a mosaic of Saint David, the patron saint of the Welsh people, and by lighting the candle of the statue of Our Lady of Cardigan.

Saint David was one of the great saints of the sixth century, that golden age of saints and missionaries in these isles, and he was thus a founder of the Christian culture which lies at the root of modern Europe. David’s preaching was simple yet profound: his dying words to his monks were, “Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things”. It is the little things that reveal our love for the one who loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19) and that bind people into a community of faith, love and service. May Saint David’s message, in all its simplicity and richness, continue to resound in Wales today, drawing the hearts of its people to renewed love for Christ and his Church.

Through the ages the Welsh people have been distinguished for their devotion to the Mother of God; this is evidenced by the innumerable places in Wales called “Llanfair” – Mary’s Church. As I prepare to light the candle held by Our Lady, I pray that she will continue to intercede with her Son for all the men and women of Wales. May the light of Christ continue to guide their steps and shape the life and culture of the nation.
Sadly, it was not possible for me to come to Wales during this visit. But I trust that this beautiful statue, which now returns to the National Shrine of Our Lady in Cardigan, will be a lasting reminder of the Pope’s deep love for the Welsh people, and of his constant closeness, both in prayer and in the communion of the Church.
Bendith Duw ar bobol Cymru! God bless the people of Wales!

Pope Benedict's Message to Young People



Piazza, Westminster Cathedral, Saturday, 18 September 2010

Mr Uche, Dear young friends, thank you for your warm welcome.

Heart Speaks unto heart, as you know I chose these words so dear to Cardinal Newman as the theme of my visit. In these few moments that we are together I wish to speak to you from my own heart, and I ask to open your hearts to what I have to say.

I ask each of you first and foremost to look into your own heart, think of all the love that your heart was made to receive, and also love it is meant to give, after all we were made for love. This is what the Bible means when it says that we are made in the image and likeness of God. We were made to know the God of love, the God who is father, son and Holy Spirit, and to find our supreme fulfilment in that Divine love that knows no beginning or end.

We were made to receive love, and we have. Every day we should thank God for the love we have already known. For the love that has made us who we are. The love that is shown us what is truly important in life. We need to thank the Lord for the love we have received from our families, our friends, our teachers, and all those people in our lives who have helped us to realise how precious we are in their eyes, and in the eyes of God.

We were also made to give love, to make the inspirational for all we do, and the most enduring thing in our lives. At times it seems so natural, especially when we feel the exhilaration of love, when our hearts brim over with generosity, idealism, the desire to help others to build a better world -- but at other times, we realise it is difficult to love. Our hearts can easily be hardened by selfishness, envy and pride. The Blessed mother Theresa of Calcutta, the great missionary of charity reminded us that giving love, pure and generous love, is the fruit of a daily decision.

Every day we have to choose to love and this requires help. The help that comes from Christ, from the wisdom found in his word. And from the Grace which he bestows us in the sacraments of his church. This is the message I want to share with you today. I ask you to look into your hearts, each day, to find the source of all true love. Jesus is always there. Quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice. Deep within your heart, he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer, but this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline.

It requires time for moments of silence every day. Often it means waiting for the Lord to speak.
Even amidst the business and stress of our daily lives we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God. And in silence that we discover our true self.

And in discovering our true self we discover the particular vocation which God has given us for the building up of his church and the redemption of our world. Heart speaks unto heart. With these words from my heart, dear young friends, this is word’s from my heart. I assure you of my prayers for you.

That our lives will bear fruit of the cross, of the civilisation of the cross, I ask you to pray for me, for my Ministry as the successor of Peter, and for the needs of the church throughout the world. Upon you, your families and friends, I call on you God's blessing of wisdom, joy and peace.
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