Friday, April 11, 2008

The Teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

It is hard to believe that Benedict XVI has been Pope for nearly three years. I can remember watching on television with David (who was four years old at the time) when it was announced that Joseph Ratzinger was our new pope. I'm almost ashamed to admit now that I was a little disappointed. I really hadn't heard much good about him except that he was strict, strict, strict, and was going to throw away all the progress of the past forty years. In the intervening years, I, and I think most Catholics, have been pleasantly surprised. His teachings are truly masterful and his encyclicals on love and hope are beautiful. "Columbia" magazine, the publication of the Knights of Columbus has compiled a collection of Pope Benedict's teachings for its April 2008 issue in honor of the Pope's visit to America scheduled for next week. Here are just a few:

Only in respecting the inviolable dignity of the human person and promoting the corresponding individual liberties can a civil society be construed which contributes to the prosperity of all its citizens. - Address, June 16, 2005

Making the Sign of the Cross . . .means saying a visible and public "yes" to the One who died and rose for us, to God who in the humility and weakness of his love is the Almighty, stronger than all the power and intelligence of the world. - Angelus, Sept. 11, 2005

Love of God and love of neighbor are thus inseparable, they form a single commandment. But both live from the love of God who has loved us first. - Deus Caritas Est, February 1, 2006

Those who have discovered Christ must bring others to him too, given that a great joy should not be kept for oneself but passed on. - April 10, 2006

This is what we ask for when we pray: 'Thy kingdom come.' ...We pray that justice and love may become the decisive forces affecting our world. - Homily, Munich Sept. 10, 2006

Life is the first good received from God and is fundamental to all others; to guarantee the right to life for all and in an equal manner for all is the duty upon which the future of humanity depends. - Discourse to the Pontifical Academy of Live, Feb. 24, 2007

Like human life itself, freedom draws its meaning from love. Indeed, who is the freest? Someone who selfishly keeps all possibilities open for fear of losing them, or someone who expends himself "firmly resolved" to serve and thereby finds himself full of life because of the love he has given and received? - Angelus, July 1, 2007

Sometimes, people thing that holiness is a privileged condition reserved for a few elect. Actually, becoming holy is every Christian's task, indeed, we could say, every person's! - Angelus, Nov. 1, 2007

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