“SHARE THE GOSPEL TO TRANSFORM LIVES”
Christians must trust in the power of the Gospel to awaken people’s consciences and promote reconciliation, but that can happen only if they hear the Gospel first, Benedict XVI said during a meeting with 92 bishops ordained in the past year and named to dioceses in the Church’s mission territories.
The bishops were from Africa, from Asia, from Latin America and from Oceania.
Many of them work in extremely difficult circumstances and situations, including places where Christians are discriminated against or even face persecution.
Meeting the bishops in his summer villa at Castel Gandolfo, 18 miles southeast of Rome, Pope Benedict said he prayed that their trust in the Lord would always be rock-solid. “The Church is his and he is the one who will guide it in times of difficulty and in times of serenity.”
“TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE GOD’S RECIPE FOR A GOOD LIFE”
“God gave us the commandments to educate us about true freedom and authentic love so that we could be truly happy,” Benedict XVI said in a video message played in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo.
The big public square in Italy’s capital was the site of the launch of “Ten Piazzas for the Ten Commandments,” a project of the Italian charismatic renewal movement, the Italian bishops’ conference and the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.
The project — evenings of reflection, music and dance — will focus on a different commandment in a different city each month.
“MARY IS MODEL OF MATURE CHRISTIAN FAITH”
People can look to Mary as an example of living according to God’s will with confidence and joy, Benedict XVI told Marian experts attending a Marian International Congress (September 4-9) sponsored by the Pontifical Marian International Academy in Rome, on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary.
The Pope said he put the upcoming Year of Faith under Mary’s protection because she is “an exemplary model of the faith” and is “blessed because she believed.”
The pontiff asked that people continue to trust in Mary as they draw from her “enthusiasm and joy to live our vocation as children of God with ever greater commitment and consistency.”
In light of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the congress focused on the impact of Vatican II on Marian devotion and studies.
“HELP CHRISTIANS STAY IN MIDEAST, BUILD PEACE”
Just two days before beginning a pastoral journey to the Middle East, Benedict XVI launched an appeal to all Christians in the region to respond to social and political tensions and insecurity by being hopeful, active builders of peace and reconciliation.
At the end of his weekly general audience, the Pope thanked Middle Eastern Christians for their courage in remaining in the region, and he prayed that God would strengthen their faith and fill them with hope.
In his main audience talk, the pontiff looked at the Book of Revelation and the importance of prayer in understanding God’s plan for humanity.
CARDINAL BERTONE CELEBRATES MASS WITH NEW BISHOPS
The Gospel in effect promises Christians they will face criticism. So even the Church’s leaders must learn to recognize when criticism is valid and when they must carry on with courage, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, told a group of new bishops attending a seminar in Rome.
The cardinal’s homily focused on the day’s Gospel reading — St. Luke’s version of the beatitudes — which includes Jesus telling his disciples they will be blessed when they are insulted and criticized for his sake.
The annual 10-day seminar for new bishops, organized by the congregations for bishops and for Eastern Churches, is designed to provide theological, spiritual and practical advice on the bishops’ new responsibilities.
VATICAN LAMENTS US DEATHS IN LIBYA, DISRESPECT AGAINST RELIGIONS
In the wake of the deaths of a U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens and three staff members in Benghazi, Libya, September 11, and the unrest allegedly triggered by a U.S.-made amateur film hostile to Islam, the Vatican decried disrespect toward all religions and deplored all violence as unacceptable.
“The message of dialogue and respect for all believers of different religions, which the Holy Father is preparing to carry with him on his forthcoming trip to Lebanon, indicates the path that everyone should follow in order to construct shared and peaceful coexistence of religions and peoples,” said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.
Friday 14-Sunday 16
POPE VISITS LEBANON
Benedict XVI arrived in Lebanon, saying that he came “as a pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of men.”
The Holy Father, upon his arrival at the Beirut airport, was welcomed by Lebanon President Michel Suleiman, a Maronite Catholic, who hailed the Pope for bringing the “peace of God in whom all the people of this region believe.”
A chorus of teenagers at the airport serenaded the pontiff with hymns and chanted his name. Some held signs written in English: “Have no fear, the Pope is here.” Outside the airport, a group of Muslim women and girls, entirely covered except for their eyes, also waited to welcome the Pope.
Pope Benedict was greeted by Lebanese government leaders and dozens of local religious leaders from the country’s various Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim communities.
In a ceremony at the Melkite Catholic Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa September 14, Pope Benedict signed the 90-page document of his reflections on the 2010 Special Synod of Bishops, which was dedicated to Christians in the Middle East.
The document calls on Catholics in the Middle East to engage in dialogue with Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim neighbors, but also to affirm and defend their right to live freely in the region where Christianity was born.
Benedict XVI addressed a multifaith gathering of Lebanon’s political, religious and cultural leaders at the presidential palace in Baabda on September 15.
In his talk in Baabda, the Pope did not explicitly address the topic of religiously-inspired violence, but included a single reference to terrorism and the assertion that “authentic faith does not lead to death.”
On September 15, the Holy Father also spoke to some 20,000 young people from several Middle Eastern countries gathered outside the residence of the Maronite patriarch in Bkerke in a celebration that included fireworks, spotlights, singing and prayer.
Benedict XVI urged young Christians in the Middle East not to flee violence and economic insecurity through emigration, but to draw strength from their faith and make peace in their troubled region.
Benedict XVI acknowledged the suffering of Christians in the Middle East, reassuring them and urging them to promote peace through religiously-inspired service to their societies.
“Your sufferings are not in vain,” the Pope told a crowd of at least 350,000 at a sweltering outdoor Mass at Beirut’s City Center Waterfront September 16.
In his homily, Pope Benedict commented on the day’s reading from the Gospel of St. Mark, in which Jesus foretells his death and resurrection. Jesus is a “Messiah who suffers,” the pontiff said, “a Messiah who serves, and not some triumphant political savior.”
POPE URGES JOINT SHARING OF FAITH VALUES
Benedict XVI expressed hope that Christians and Jews would bear witness to the whole world of the values that stem from worshipping one God.
In a telegram to Chief Rabbi Riccardo di Segni of Rome to mark the Jewish high holy days, the Pope sent his greetings to members of Rome’s Jewish community.
In the telegram, Pope Benedict offered his “heartfelt best wishes” for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
POPE NAMES RECORD NUMBER OF WOMEN TO SYNOD ON EVANGELIZATION
Choosing men and women from every part of the world and from a wide variety of professions, Pope Benedict XVI nominated 45 experts and 49 observers for the upcoming world assembly of bishops.
The October 7-28 gathering will include the largest bloc of women — 10 experts and 19 observers — ever to participate in a world Synod of Bishops.
Experts and observers, who include laypeople, are not voting members of the synod. According to Vatican rules, only priests, bishops and cardinals can be full members who vote and determine the propositions to be presented to the Pope at the end of the gathering.
The 45 experts include priests, nuns and laypeople, many of whom are professors, rectors or supervisors of catechetical or pastoral programs. They will serve as resources for the more than 200 synod members as they discuss the theme, “New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”
The 49 observers can attend all synod sessions, participate in the synod working groups and have an opportunity to address the entire assembly.
Many of the observers are leaders of religious orders, founders or leaders of lay movements or large Catholic associations, or professors or organizers of catechetical and pastoral programs.
“GOD’S WORD COMES FIRST IN WORSHIP”
In everyday life, people are told that it’s best to think before they speak, but in worship, speaking God’s word should come before reflection, said Benedict XVI.
“The first requirement for a good liturgical celebration is that there be prayer and a conversation with God, first and foremost listening and then response,” he said.
The pontiff spoke to an estimated 10,000 people gathered for his weekly public audience in St. Peter’s Square. The talk was the latest in his series on the subject of prayer, focusing this week on the liturgy.
“CHRIST, NOT PRIEST OR FAITHFUL, IS AT CENTER OF THE LITURGY”
“The conviction must grow in us every day that the liturgy is not ‘our’ or ‘my’ doing, but is God’s acting in us and with us,” Benedict XVI said during his weekly general audience.
The talk was the latest focusing on the liturgy in the Pope’s series on the subject of prayer.
After his main talk, the pontiff greeted students of the Pontifical North American College who were to be ordained deacons on October 4 by Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, New Jersey. Pope Benedict told the more than 40 ordinands, “Always be faithful heralds of the Gospel and generous witnesses to the love of Christ.”
POPE, AT MARIAN SHRINE, ENTRUSTS YEAR OF FAITH, SYNOD, TO MARY
During a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto near the eastern coast of Italy, Benedict XVI formally entrusted to Mary the world Synod of Bishops and the Year of Faith.
The Pope was marking the 50th anniversary of Blessed John XXIII’s visit to the Marian shrine, about 175 miles northeast of Rome, when he entrusted to Mary’s care the Second Vatican Council, which began October 11, 1962.
Benedict XVI celebrated Mass outside the Sanctuary of the Holy House in Loreto, Italy,
At the end of his homily, Pope Benedict turned to Our Lady of Loreto with several petitions.
VATICAN COURT FINDS PAPAL BUTLER GUILTY
A three-judge panel of Vatican jurists found Paolo Gabriele, the papal butler, guilty of aggravated theft and sentenced him to 18 months in jail for his role in leaking private papal correspondence and other confidential documents.
Giuseppe Dalla Torre, president of the three-judge panel, just two hours after the fourth and final session of the trial, read the verdict.
He began reading the sentence with the formula, “In the name of His Holiness Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning, the tribunal, having invoked the Most Holy Trinity, pronounces the following sentence. …”
He then said the judges had found Gabriele guilty and sentenced him to three years in jail, but reduced the sentence for four reasons: Gabriele had never been convicted of a crime before; the value of his previous service to the Vatican; the fact that he was convinced, “although erroneously,” of having acted for the good of the Church; and his declaration that he was aware of “betraying the Holy Father’s trust.”
“CHRIST IS THE ANSWER TO HUMANITY’S QUESTIONS”
“Our role in the new evangelization is to cooperate with God,” the Pope told the more than 260 cardinals, bishops and priests who are members of the world Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization. “We can only let people know what God has done.”
In a 21-minute, off-the-cuff reflection during morning prayer at the synod’s opening session, Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of prayer in the Church’s push for a new evangelization, the meaning of evangelization, and sharing the Gospel through both proclamation and charity.
The synod formally opened October 7 with a Mass in St. Peter’s Square. During his homily, Pope Benedict said that the “Church exists to evangelize” by sharing the Gospel with people who have never heard of Christ, strengthening the faith of those who already have been baptized and reaching out to those who “have drifted away from the Church.”