|(IMAGE SOURCE RADIO VATICANA) THE CHURCH IS THE PLACE WHERE FAITH IS TRANSMITTED |
Vatican City, 31 October 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning Benedict XVI, continuing his catecheses on the subject of Catholic faith, began by posing certain important questions: "Is the nature of faith merely personal and individual? ... Do I live my faith alone?", he asked.
"Certainly, the act of faith is an eminently personal act", he told the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. "It is something which happens in the most intimate depths of my being and causes a change of direction, a personal conversion. ... But the fact that I believe is not the result of solitary reflection, ... it is the fruit of a relationship, a dialogue ... with Jesus which causes me to emerge from my 'I' ... and to open myself to the love of God the Father. It is like a rebirth in which I discover that I am united not only to Jesus but also to all those who have walked and continue to walk along His path. And this new birth, which begins with Baptism, continues throughout the course of a person's life.
"I cannot construct my personal faith in a private dialogue with Jesus", the Pope added, "because faith is given to me by God through a believing community which is the Church. And faith makes me part of a multitude of believers bound by a communion which is not merely sociological, but rooted in the eternal love of God. ... The Catechism of the Catholic Church states this very clearly: 'Believing is an ecclesial act. The Church's faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers'".
At the beginning of Christian history, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, "the nascent Church received the strength to accomplish the mission entrusted to her by the risen Lord: that of spreading the Gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of God, to the ends of the earth, and thus leading all men and women to meet Him, to the faith which saves. ... Thus began the journey of the Church, the community which carries this message though time and space, the community which is the People of God", whose members "do not belong to a particular social or ethnic group but are men and women from all nations and cultures. They are a 'catholic' people who speak new languages, who are open to welcoming everyone, beyond all confines, who break down all barriers".
"Ever since the beginning, then, the Church has been the place of faith, the place where faith is transmitted. ... The life of the Church, the announcement of the Word of God and the celebration of the Sacraments form an unbroken chain which has come down to us and which we call Tradition. This gives us the guarantee that what we believe is Christ's original message, as preached by the Apostles. ... It is in the ecclesial community that personal faith grows and matures".
In this context the Pope explained how, in the New Testament, the word "saints" is used to refer to Christians as a whole. "Certainly", he said, "not all of them had the qualities necessary to be declared saints by the Church". The name "saint" meant that "those who had faith ... in the risen Christ were called to become a point of reference for all the others, and to bring them into contact with the Person and Message of Jesus Who revealed the face of the living God. ... This also holds true for us. A Christian who allows himself to be guided and moulded by the faith of the Church, despite his weaknesses, limitations and difficulties, becomes a window open to the light of the living God, receiving this light and transmitting it to the world".
"The tendency, so widespread today, to relegate the faith to the private sphere contradicts its very nature. ... We need the Church in order for our faith to be confirmed and to experience the gifts of God together . ... In a world in which individualism seems to regulate dealings between people, making them ever more fragile, the faith calls us to be People of God, to be Church, bearers of the love and communion of God for the entire human race", the Holy Father concluded.
|THE POPE PRAYS FOR VICTIMS OF HURRICANE SANDY |
Vatican City, 31 October 2012 (VIS) - "Conscious of the devastation caused by the hurricane which recently struck the East Coast of the United States of America, I offer my prayers for the victims and express my solidarity with all those engaged in the work of rebuilding", said the Holy Father at the end of his catechesis during today's general audience.
Turning then to address Polish pilgrims, he noted that, "in the context of the month of the Rosary which is now coming to an end, and of All Saints' Day which we will celebrate tomorrow, let us thank God for the Year of Faith, and for the Synod of Bishops with the guidance it has given us vis-a-vis the new evangelisation".
Finally the Holy Father greeted rectors of Catholic universities, who are currently meeting in Rome, and expressed the hope that their pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles would reinforce their "sense of belonging to the Church".
|OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS |
Vatican City, 31 October 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Fr. Peter Parapullil, vicar general of the diocese of Jhansi, India, as bishop of the same diocese (area 29,418, population 8,233,914, Catholics 3,936, priests 54, religious 236). The bishop-elect was born in Perumanoor, India in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1975. He studied in India and in Rome and has, among other roles, been active in pastoral care in parishes and missions, as well as working as procurator and rector of the Shrine of St. Jude in Jhansi. He succeeds Bishop Frederick D'Souza, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Msgr. Pedro Vazquez Villalobos, vicar general of the diocese of San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico, as bishop of Puerto Escondido (area 13,221, population 496,000, Catholics 450,000, priests 45, religious 53), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Huisquilco, Mexico in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1975. He has been active in pastoral care and is a member of presbyteral council and the college of consultors.
- Appointed Fr. Robert Herman Flock Bever of the clergy of the diocese of La Crosse, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of "La Santa Cruz" and formator of young clergy in the Bolivian archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Cochabamba (area 32,306, population 1,668,000, Catholics 1,534,000, priests 307, permanent deacons 28, religious 1,295), Bolivia The bishop-elect was born in Sparta, U.S.A., in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1982. He has worked in pastoral care, first in his American diocese then in Bolivia after moving there as a "fidei donum" priest in 1988.
- Appointed Fr. Rene Leigue Cesari of the clergy of the archdiocese of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, pastor of the parish of "Nuestra Senora de Fatima" and director of studies at the major seminary of "San Lorenzo", as auxiliary of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (area 50,000, population 2,338,000, Catholics 1,842,000, priests 197, permanent deacons 5, religious 773). The bishop-elect was born in the "Comunidad Nuevo Horizonte", Bolivia in 1967 and ordained a priest in 1999. He has served as pastor in a number of different parishes