Pope Benedict Vs. Francis: Part 9

AM+DG

The English Denzinger site (which was run by (20) priests, and which (strangely??) has not been active for a few years, was invaluable and priceless in terms of comparing everything Francis claimed to what authentic Church Teaching says.

The following is an example of one article I had saved. It is very long, so I will post just a few bits every day. The following continues from yesterday’s post.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Benedict XVI…

…judges Francis’ idea on sects forming part of the Church

  • If the Movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they must be inserted into the one Church

Since the Church is one, if the Movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they must, naturally, be inserted into the Ecclesial Community and serve it so that, in patient dialogue with the Pastors, they can be elements in the construction of the Church of today and tomorrow. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of Communion and Liberation Movement on the 25th anniversary of its Pontifical Recognition, March 24, 2007)

  • Sects are not stable

And we know that these sects are not very stable: at any given time, it may be all very well to proclaim prosperity, miraculous healings, etc., but after a while, it becomes clear that life is difficult, that a human God, a God who suffers with us is more convincing, more real, and offers greater help for life. It is also important that we have the structure of the Catholic Church. We do not proclaim a small group that after a certain time becomes isolated and lost, but we enter into this great universal network of catholicity, which is not only trans-temporal, but above all, it is present as a great network of friendship that unites us and also helps us to overcome individualism so as to arrive at this unity in diversity, which is the true promise. (Benedict XVI. Interview during the flight to Africa, March 17, 2009)

  • The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: ‘This suffices’

In this atmosphere of a rationalism closing in on itself and that regards the model of the sciences as the only model of knowledge, everything else is subjective. Christian life too, of course, becomes a choice that is subjective, hence, arbitrary and no longer the path of life. It therefore naturally becomes difficult to believe, and if it is difficult to believe it is even more difficult to offer one’s life to the Lord to be his servant. […] On the other hand, the sects that present themselves with the certainty of a minimum of faith are growing, and the human being seeks certainty. Thus, the great Churches, especially the great traditional Protestant Churches, are truly finding themselves in a very deep crisis. The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: ‘This suffices’. (Benedict XVI. Address to diocesan clergy of Aosta in the Parish Church at Introd, July 25, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • Christ, innocent, took upon himself the wounds of injured humanity – Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our pain is worthy of faith

Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test? Paradoxically the disbelief of Thomas is most valuable to us in these cases because it helps to purify all false concepts of God and leads us to discover his true face: the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity. Thomas has received from the Lord, and has in turn transmitted to the Church, the gift of a faith put to the test by the passion and death of Jesus and confirmed by meeting him risen. His faith was almost dead but was born again thanks to his touching the wounds of Christ, those wounds that the Risen One did not hide but showed, and continues to point out to us in the trials and sufferings of every human being. […] These wounds that Christ has received for love of us help us to understand who God is and to repeat: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith. (Benedict XVI. Urbi et Orbi Message, April 8, 2007)

  • Why does the suffering of innocents exist? In the mysterious designs of Providence, God draws a greater good even from evil

If God is supremely good and wise, why do evil and the suffering of innocents exist? And the Saints themselves asked this very question. Illumined by faith, they give an answer that opens our hearts to trust and hope: in the mysterious designs of Providence, God can draw a greater good even from evil. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, December 1, 2010)

  • Through the wounds of Christ, we are able to see the evils that afflict humanity with eyes of hope

Dear sick and suffering, it is precisely through the wounds of Christ that we are able to see, with eyes of hope, all the evils that afflict humanity. In rising again, the Lord did not remove suffering and evil from the world, but he defeated them at their root. […] St. Bernard observed: ‘God cannot suffer but He can suffer with’. God, who is Truth and Love in person, wanted to suffer for us and with us; He became man so that He could suffer with man, in a real way, in flesh and blood. (Benedict XVI. Message for the Nineteenth World Day of the Sick, November 21, 2010)

  • We can try to limit suffering but we cannot eliminate it

Like action, suffering is a part of our human existence. Suffering stems partly from our finitude, and partly from the mass of sin which has accumulated over the course of history, and continues to grow unabated today. […] Indeed, we must do all we can to overcome suffering, but to banish it from the world altogether is not in our power. This is simply because we are unable to shake off our finitude and because none of us is capable of eliminating the power of evil, of sin which, as we plainly see, is a constant source of suffering. Only God is able to do this: only a God who personally enters history by making himself man and suffering within history. We know that this God exists, and hence that this power to “take away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29) is present in the world. […] We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 36, November 30, 2007)

  • What heals us is not fleeing from suffering, but our capacity for accepting it

It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater. It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 37, November 30, 2007)

  • Mary’s self-restraint prevents us from plumbing the depths of her grief

At the foot of the Cross, the prophecy of Simeon is fulfilled: her mother’s heart is pierced through (cf. Lk 2:35) by the torment inflicted on the Innocent One born of her flesh. Just as Jesus cried (cf. Jn 11:35), so too Mary certainly cried over the tortured body of her Son. Her self-restraint, however, prevents us from plumbing the depths of her grief; the full extent of her suffering is merely suggested by the traditional symbol of the seven swords. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions at Lourdes, September 15, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea that man is the center of christian life

  • The Popes of the XX century proclaimed Jesus as the centre of the cosmos, of history, of the Christian faith

The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and complete convergence, precisely upon Christ as the centre of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce him to the world. Jesus is the centre of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter. Jesus Christ is not only the object of the faith but, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, he is ‘the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith’ (Heb 12:2). (Benedict XVI. Homily during the Mass for the opening of the Year of Faith, October 11, 2012)

  • In pierced side of Christ, we deposit our faith

In my first Encyclical on the theme of love, the point of departure was exactly ‘contemplating the pierced side of Christ’, which John speaks of in his Gospel (cf. 19: 37; Deus Caritas Est, n. 12). And this centre of faith is also the font of hope in which we have been saved, the hope that I made the object of my second Encyclical. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, June 1, 2008)

  • To live the faith implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering

The theology of the Cross is not a theory it is the reality of Christian life. To live in the belief in Jesus Christ, to live in truth and love implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering. Christianity is not the easy road, it is, rather, a difficult climb, but one illuminated by the light of Christ and by the great hope that is born of him. St Augustine says: Christians are not spared suffering, indeed they must suffer a little more, because to live the faith expresses the courage to face in greater depth the problems that life and history present. But only in this way, through the experience of suffering, can we know life in its profundity, in its beauty, in the great hope born from Christ crucified and risen again. (Benedict XVI. General audience, November 5, 2008)

  • All the ways of holiness are important in God’s eyes

Hence there is a fundamental will of God for us all, which is identical for us all. However its application is different in every life, for God has a specific project for each person. Saint Francis de Sales once said: perfection, that is, being good, living faith and love, is substantially one but comes in many different forms. The holiness of a Carthusian and of a politician, of a scientist or of a peasant, and so forth, is very different. Thus God has a plan for every person and I must find, in my own circumstances, my way of living this one and, at the same time, common will of God whose great rules are indicated in these explanations of love. […] Thus each person will find different possibilities in his life: he may devote himself to volunteer work in a community of prayer, in a movement or in the activity of his parish, in his own profession. Finding my vocation and living it everywhere is important and fundamental, whether I am a great scientist or a farmer. Everything is important in God’s eyes: life is beautiful if it is lived to the full with that love which really redeems the world. (Benedict XVI. Address during the meeting with the youth in preparation for World Youth Day, March 25, 2010)

  • The Saints’ lives are hymns to God, despite their thousand different tones

In the Encyclical published last Wednesday, by referring to the primacy of charity in the life of Christians and of the Church, I wanted to recall that the privileged witnesses of this primacy are the Saints, who made their lives a hymn to God-Love despite their thousands of different tones. We celebrate them every day of the year in the liturgy. I am thinking, for example, of those whom we are commemorating in these days: the Apostle Paul with his disciples Timothy and Titus, Saint Angela Merici, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John Bosco. These saints are very different: the first belong to the beginnings of the Church and were missionaries of the first evangelization; in the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas is the model of a Catholic theologian who found in Christ the supreme synthesis of truth and love; in the Renaissance, Angela Merici presented a path of holiness also to those who were living in a secular environment; in the modern epoch, Don Bosco, inflamed with love for Jesus the Good Shepherd, cared for the most underprivileged children and became their father and teacher. In truth, the Church’s entire history is a history of holiness, animated by the one Love whose source is God. Indeed, only supernatural love, like the love that flows ever new from Christ’s heart, can explain the miraculous flourishing down the centuries of Orders, male and female religious Institutes and other forms of consecrated life. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, January 29, 2006)

  • Each one receives at baptism a personal vocation in accordance with the Father’s particular plan of love

Today, through the sacrament of Baptism, he consecrates them and calls them to follow Jesus, through the realization of their personal vocation in accordance with that particular plan of love that the Father has in mind for each one of them; the destination of this earthly pilgrimage will be full communion with him in eternal happiness. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 9, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on selling off churches to feed the poor

  • There are many forms of poverty other than material poverty

Fighting poverty requires attentive consideration of the complex phenomenon of globalization […] Yet the reference to globalization should also alert us to the spiritual and moral implications of the question, urging us, in our dealings with the poor, to set out from the clear recognition that we all share in a single divine plan […] This perspective requires an understanding of poverty that is wide-ranging and well articulated. If it were a question of material poverty alone, then the social sciences, which enable us to measure phenomena on the basis of mainly quantitative data, would be sufficient to illustrate its principal characteristics. Yet we know that other, non-material forms of poverty exist which are not the direct and automatic consequence of material deprivation. For example, in advanced wealthy societies, there is evidence of marginalization, as well as affective, moral and spiritual poverty, seen in people whose interior lives are disoriented and who experience various forms of malaise despite their economic prosperity. On the one hand, I have in mind what is known as “moral underdevelopment”, and on the other hand the negative consequences of “superdevelopment”. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the 42nd World Day of Peace, no. 2, January 1, 2009)

  • The witness of charity must go together with the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel

The witness of charity, practiced here in a special way, is part of the Church’s mission, together with the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel. Human beings do not only need to be physically nourished or helped through moments of difficulty; they also need to know who they are and to understand the truth about themselves and their dignity. […] With her service for the poor the Church is committed to proclaiming to all the truth about man who is loved by God, created in his image, redeemed by Christ and called to eternal communion with him. A great many people have thus been able to rediscover and are still rediscovering their dignity, lost at times because of tragic events; they rediscover trust in themselves and hope in the future. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Hostel of the Diocesan Caritas of Rome, February 14, 2010)

  • To change unjust structures we must focus attention on eternal salvation

Yet changing unjust structures is not of itself sufficient to guarantee the happiness of the human person. Moreover, as I affirmed recently to the Bishops gathered in Aparecida, Brazil, the task of politics ‘is not the immediate competence of the Church’ (Address to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, 13 May 2007). Rather, her mission is to promote the integral development of the human person. For this reason, the great challenges facing the world at the present time, such as globalization, human rights abuses, unjust social structures, cannot be confronted and overcome unless attention is focused on the deepest needs of the human person: the promotion of human dignity, well-being and, in the final analysis, eternal salvation. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of the 18th General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis, June 8, 2007)

  • When the so-called paupers’ movement rose up against a rich and beautiful Church, the Mendicant Orders opposed them

Francis of Assisi and Dominic of Guzmán […] were able to read ‘the signs of the times’ intelligently, perceiving the challenges that the Church of their time would be obliged to face. A first challenge was the expansion of various groups and movements of the faithful who, in spite of being inspired by a legitimate desire for authentic Christian life often set themselves outside ecclesial communion. They were profoundly adverse to the rich and beautiful Church which had developed precisely with the flourishing of monasticism. In recent Catecheses I have reflected on the monastic community of Cluny, which had always attracted young people, therefore vital forces, as well as property and riches. Thus, at the first stage, logically, a Church developed whose wealth was in property and also in buildings. The idea that Christ came down to earth poor and that the true Church must be the very Church of the poor clashed with this Church. The desire for true Christian authenticity was thus in contrast to the reality of the empirical Church. These were the so-called paupers’ movements of the Middle Ages. They fiercely contested the way of life of the priests and monks of the time, accused of betraying the Gospel and of not practising poverty like the early Christians, and these movements countered the Bishops’ ministry with their own ‘parallel hierarchy’. Furthermore, to justify their decisions, they disseminated doctrine incompatible with the Catholic faith. For example, the Cathars’ or Albigensians’ movement re-proposed ancient heresies such as the debasement of and contempt for the material world the opposition to wealth soon became opposition to material reality as such, […] Both Franciscans and Dominicans, following in their Founders’ footsteps, showed on the contrary that it was possible to live evangelical poverty, the truth of the Gospel as such, without being separated from the Church. They showed that the Church remains the true, authentic home of the Gospel and of Scripture. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, January 13, 2010)

  • Love does not calculate; Judas’ calculation is a disguise for egoistic lack of dedication

Mary of Bethany ‘took 300 grams [a pound] of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair’ (cf. 12: 3). Mary’s gesture is the expression of great faith and love for the Lord; it is not enough for her to wash the Teacher’s feet with water; she sprinkles on them a great quantity of the precious perfume which as Judas protested it would have been possible to sell for 300 denarii. She did not anoint his head, as was the custom, but his feet: Mary offers Jesus the most precious thing she has and with a gesture of deep devotion. Love does not calculate, does not measure, does not worry about expense, does not set up barriers but can give joyfully; it seeks only the good of the other, surmounts meanness, pettiness, resentment and the narrow-mindedness that human beings sometimes harbour in their hearts. […] Mary’s action is in contrast to the attitude and words of Judas who, under the pretext of the aid to be given to the poor, conceals the selfishness and falsehood of a person closed into himself, shackled by the greed for possession and who does not let the good fragrance of divine love envelop him. Judas calculates what one cannot calculate, he enters with a mean mindset the space which is one of love, of giving, of total dedication. And Jesus, who had remained silent until that moment, intervenes defending Mary’s gesture: ‘Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial’ (Jn 12: 7). (Benedict XVI. Homily, for the Fifth anniversary of the death of John Paul II, March 29, 2010)

  • Evangelization is the proclamation of Jesus as the one Saviour – without a reductive sociological understanding

The more ardent the love for the Eucharist in the hearts of the Christian people, the more clearly will they recognize the goal of all mission: to bring Christ to others. Not just a theory or a way of life inspired by Christ, but the gift of his very person. Anyone who has not shared the truth of love with his brothers and sisters has not yet given enough. The Eucharist, as the sacrament of our salvation, inevitably reminds us of the unicity of Christ and the salvation that he won for us by his blood. The mystery of the Eucharist, believed in and celebrated, demands a constant catechesis on the need for all to engage in a missionary effort centred on the proclamation of Jesus as the one Saviour. This will help to avoid a reductive and purely sociological understanding of the vital work of human promotion present in every authentic process of evangelization. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 86, February 22, 2007)

Pope Benedict Vs. Francis: Part 5

AM+DG

The English Denzinger site (which was run by (20) priests, and which (strangely??) has not been active for a few years, was invaluable and priceless in terms of comparing everything Francis claimed to what authentic Church Teaching says.

The following is an example of one article I had saved. It is very long, so I will post just a few bits every day. The following continues from yesterday’s post.

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Benedict XVI…

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus came into the world to learn how to be a man

 

  • From the splendor of divinity, Christ chose to descend to the humiliation of ‘death on a cross’ to then manifest Himself in the splendor of his divine majesty

Already in the past we have underlined that this text contains a two-way movement: descent and ascent. In the first, Christ Jesus, from the splendour of divinity which by nature belongs to him, chooses to descend to the humiliation of ‘death on a cross’. In this way he shows himself to be truly man and our Redeemer, with an authentic and full participation in our human reality of suffering and death. The second movement, upwards, reveals the paschal glory of Christ, who manifests himself once more after death in the splendour of his divine majesty. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, no. 1-2, October 26, 2005)

  • Jesus’ death stems from his free choice of obedience to the Father’s plan of salvation

This radical and true sharing in the human condition, with the exception of sin (cf. Heb 4:15), leads Jesus to the boundary that is a sign of our finite condition and transience: death. However, it is not the product of an obscure mechanism or a blind fatalism. It stems from his free choice of obedience to the Father’s plan of salvation (cf. Phil 2: 8). (Benedict XVI. General Audience, no. 3, June 1, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea that spiritual direction is a charism of the laity

  • Priests have the munus docendi, the task of teaching – they must answer the fundamental questions about what we must do in order to do good

The first duty of which I wish to speak today is the munus docendi, that is, the task of teaching. Today, in the midst of the educational emergency, the munus docendi of the Church, exercised concretely through the ministry of each priest, is particularly important. We are very confused about the fundamental choices in our life and question what the world is, where it comes from, where we are going, what we must do in order to do good, how we should live and what the truly pertinent values are. Regarding all this, there are numerous contrasting philosophies that come into being and disappear, creating confusion about the fundamental decisions on how to live; because collectively we no longer know from what and for what we have been made and where we are going. […] This is the function in persona Christi of the priest: making present, in the confusion and bewilderment of our times, the light of God’s Word, the light that is Christ himself in this our world. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, April 14, 2010)

  • An essential part of the priest’s grace is the task of putting others in touch with God

No man on his own, relying on his own power, can put another in touch with God. An essential part of the priest’s grace is the gift, the task of creating this contact. This is achieved in the proclamation of God’s word in which his light comes to meet us. It is achieved in a particularly concentrated manner in the Sacraments. Immersion in the Paschal Mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ takes place in Baptism, is reinforced in Confirmation and Reconciliation and is nourished by the Eucharist, a sacrament that builds the Church as the People of God, Body of Christ, Temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. John Paul II, Pastores Gregis, no. 32). Thus it is Christ himself who makes us holy, that is, who draws us into God’s sphere. However, as an act of his infinite mercy, he calls some ‘to be’ with him (cf. Mk 3:14) and to become, through the Sacrament of Orders, despite their human poverty, sharers in his own priesthood, ministers of this sanctification. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, May 5, 2010)

  • Christ tends his flock through the Pastors of the Church

Christ tends his flock through the Pastor of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter and the priests, their most precious collaborators, to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, May 26, 2010)

  • Every priest is called to help the penitent to walk on the demanding path of holiness

‘Spiritual direction’ also contributes to forming consciences. Today there is a greater need than in the past for wise and holy ‘spiritual teachers’: an important ecclesial service. This of course requires an inner vitality which must be implored as a gift from the Holy Spirit in intense and prolonged prayer and with a special training that must be acquired with care. Every priest moreover is called to administer divine mercy in the sacrament of Penance, through which he forgives sins in the name of Christ and helps the penitent to walk on the demanding path of holiness with an upright and informed conscience. To be able to carry out this indispensable ministry, every priest must tend to his own spiritual life and take care to keep himself pastorally and theologically up to date. (Benedict XVI. Message to participants in the course organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, March 12, 2009)

  • Listening to the confessor’s advice is important for the spiritual journey of the penitent

Dear priests, do not neglect to allow enough room for the exercise of the ministry of Penance in the confessional: to be welcomed and heard is also a human sign of God’s welcoming kindness to his children. Moreover the integral confession of sins teaches the penitent humility, recognition of his or her own frailty and, at the same time, an awareness of the need for God’s forgiveness and the trust that divine Grace can transform his life. Likewise, listening to the confessor’s recommendations and advice is important for judging actions, for the spiritual journey and for the inner healing of the penitent. (Benedict XVI. Address to participants in the course on the internal forum organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, March 25, 2011)

  • In the saintly priest, the Christian People recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd

May Saint John Mary Vianney be an example to all priests. He was a man of great wisdom and heroic fortitude in resisting the cultural and social pressures of his time in order to lead souls to God: simplicity, fidelity and immediacy were the essential features of his preaching, the transparency of his faith and of his holiness. The Christian People was edified by him and as happens for genuine teachers in every epoch recognized in him the light of the Truth. In him it recognized, ultimately, what should always be recognizable in a priest: the voice of the Good Shepherd. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, April 14, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on adulterine unions

  • The trials of Christians are indeed numerous, but they must be faithful to God in their marriage

Overcoming the temptation to subject God to oneself and one’s own interests, or to put him in a corner and be converted to the correct order of priorities, giving God first place, is a journey that each and every Christian must make over and over again. […] The trials to which society today subjects Christians are indeed numerous and affect their personal and social life. It is far from easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, to practice mercy in daily life, to make room for prayer and inner silence; it is far from easy to oppose publicly the decisions that many take for granted, such as abortion in the case of unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in the case of serious illness and embryo selection in order to prevent hereditary diseases. The temptation to set faith aside is always present and conversion becomes a response to God that must be strengthened several times in life. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, February 13, 2013)

  • Materialistic ideologies tell us it is absurd to observe God’s commandments

Today too, the dragon exists in new and different ways. It exists in the form of materialistic ideologies that tell us it is absurd to think of God; it is absurd to observe God’s commandments: they are a leftover from a time past. Life is only worth living for its own sake. Take everything we can get in this brief moment of life. Consumerism, selfishness and entertainment alone are worthwhile. This is life. This is how we must live. And once again, it seems absurd, impossible, to oppose this dominant mindset with all its media and propagandist power. Today too, it seems impossible to imagine a God who created man and made himself a Child and who was to be the true ruler of the world. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 2007)

  • The only joy that fills the human heart comes from God: the cross of Christ

Can true happiness exist when God is left out of consideration? Experience shows that we are not happy because our material expectations and needs are satisfied. In fact, the only joy that fills the human heart is that which comes from God: indeed, we stand in need of infinite joy. Neither daily concerns nor life’s difficulties succeed in extinguishing the joy that is born from friendship with God. Jesus’ invitation to take up one’s cross and follow him may at first sight seem harsh and contrary to what we hope for, mortifying our desire for personal fulfilment. At a closer look, however, we discover that it is not like this: the witness of the saints shows that in the Cross of Christ, in the love that is given, in renouncing the possession of oneself, one finds that deep serenity which is the source of generous dedication to our brethren, especially to the poor and the needy, and this also gives us joy. The Lenten journey of conversion on which we are setting out today together with the entire Church thus becomes a favourable opportunity, ‘the acceptable time’ (2Cor 6:2) for renewing our filial abandonment in the hands of God and for putting into practice what Jesus continues to repeat to us: ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mk 8: 34) and this is how one ventures forth on the path of love and true happiness. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, February 6, 2008)

  • The Church has received from its Founder the mission of showing people the way to true happiness: fidelity to the words of Christ

My dear young friends […] Love and follow the Church, for it has received from its Founder the mission of showing people the way to true happiness. It is not easy to recognise and find authentic happiness in this world in which we live, where people are often held captive by the current ways of thinking. They may think they are ; ‘free’, but they are being led astray and become lost amid the errors or illusions of aberrant ideologies. ‘Freedom itself needs to be set free’ (cf. Veritatis Splendor, 86), and the darkness in which humankind is groping needs to be illuminated. Jesus taught us how this can be done: ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’ (Jn 8:31-32). The incarnate Word, Word of Truth, makes us free and directs our freedom towards the good. (Benedict XVI. Message to the youth of the 21st World Youth Day, April 9, 2006

Pope Benedict Vs. Francis Part 4

AM+DG

The English Denzinger site (which was run by (20) priests, and which (strangely??) has not been active for a few years, was invaluable and priceless in terms of comparing everything Francis claimed to what authentic Church Teaching says.

The following is an example of one article I had saved. It is very long, so I will post just a few bits every day. The following continues from yesterday’s post.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Benedict XVI…

…judges Francis’ idea that Koran is a book of peace

 

  • There is no peace without justice

You know, as I do, that authentic peace is only possible when justice reigns. Our world is thirsting for peace and justice. (Benedict XVI. Address to the new ambassadors to the Holy See, December 18, 2008)

  • Peace is a heavenly gift and a divine grace that demands conforming human history to the divine order

Seen in this way, peace appears as a heavenly gift and a divine grace which demands at every level the exercise of the highest responsibility: that of conforming human history–in truth, justice, freedom and love–to the divine order. Whenever there is a loss of fidelity to the transcendent order, and a loss of respect for that ‘grammar’ of dialogue which is the universal moral law written on human hearts, whenever the integral development of the person and the protection of his fundamental rights are hindered or denied, whenever countless people are forced to endure intolerable injustices and inequalities, how can we hope that the good of peace will be realized? The essential elements which make up the truth of that good are missing. Saint Augustine described peace as tranquillitas Ordinis (De Civitate Dei, XIX, 13) the tranquillity of order. By this, he meant a situation which ultimately enables the truth about man to be fully respected and realized. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, no. 4, January 1, 2006)

  • Peace also demands of everyone a personal response consistent with God’s plan – according to the ‘grammar’ written on human hearts

The transcendent ‘grammar’, that is to say the body of rules for individual action and the reciprocal relationships of persons in accordance with justice and solidarity, is inscribed on human consciences, in which the wise plan of God is reflected. As I recently had occasion to reaffirm: ‘we believe that at the beginning of everything is the Eternal Word, Reason and not Unreason’ (Homily at Regensburg, 12 September 2006). Peace is thus also a task demanding of everyone a personal response consistent with God’s plan. The criterion inspiring this response can only be respect for the ‘grammar’ written on human hearts by the divine Creator. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

  • Recognition and respect for natural law: fundamental presupposition for authentic peace

Recognition and respect for natural law represents the foundation for a dialogue between the followers of the different religions and between believers and non-believers. As a great point of convergence, this is also a fundamental presupposition for authentic peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

  • Peace on earth cannot be found without reconciliation with God

Peace on earth cannot be found without reconciliation with God, without harmony between Heaven and earth. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Roman Curia, December 22. 2006)

  • Sin: a progressive rejection of peace

Mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLVI World Day of Peace, no. 3, January 1. 2013)

  • It is only through the Redemption that man can overcome the progressive rejection of peace, and be an authentic peacemaker

To become authentic peacemakers, it is fundamental to keep in mind our transcendent dimension and to enter into constant dialogue with God, the Father of mercy, whereby we implore the redemption achieved for us by his only-begotten Son. In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLVI World Day of Peace, no. 3, January 1. 2013)

  • True peace comes from Christ

True peace comes from Christ (cf. Jn 14:27). It cannot be compared with the peace that the world gives. It is not the fruit of negotiations and diplomatic agreements based on particular interests. It is the peace of a humanity reconciled with itself in God, a peace of which the Church is the sacrament. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Africae munus, no. 30, November 30, 2011)

  • Wherever Christ is welcomed, islands of peace develop

Et erit iste pax’ – this will be peace, the Prophet Micah says (Mic 5:4) about the future ruler of Israel, whose birth in Bethlehem he announces. The Angels said to the shepherds grazing their flocks in the fields around Bethlehem: ‘on earth peace among men’, the expected One has arrived (Lk 2:14). He himself, Christ, the Lord, said to his disciples: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you’ (Jn 14:27). It is from these words that the liturgical greeting developed: ‘Peace be with you’. This peace that is communicated in the liturgy is Christ himself. He gives himself to us as peace, as reconciliation beyond all frontiers. Wherever he is welcomed, islands of peace develop. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006)

  • Peace in this world always remains weak and fragile for it implies opening our hearts to God

We human beings would have liked Christ to banish all wars once and for all, to destroy weapons and establish universal peace. But we have to learn that peace cannot be attained only from the outside with structures, and that the attempt to establish it with violence leads only to ever new violence. We must learn that peace – as the Angel of Bethlehem said – is connected with eudokia, with the opening of our hearts to God. We must learn that peace can only exist if hatred and selfishness are overcome from within. The human being must be renewed from within, must become new and different. Thus, peace in this world always remains weak and fragile. We suffer from this. For this very reason we are called especially to let ourselves be penetrated within by God’s peace and to take his power into the world. All that was wrought in and through the Sacrament of Baptism must be fulfilled in our lives: the dying of the former self, hence, the rebirth of the new. And we will pray to the Lord insistently over and over again: Please move hearts! Make us new people! Help the reason of peace to overcome the irrationality of violence! Make us bearers of your peace! (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006)

  • Jesus builds the great new community of new men who place their will in his

The stable becomes a palace – and setting out from this starting-point, Jesus builds the great new community, whose key-word the angels sing at the hour of his birth: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those whom he loves’ – those who place their will in his, in this way becoming men of God, new men, a new world. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, December 25, 2007)

  • Christ is our true peace: in him there is but one family reconciled in love

‘Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity’. We Christians believe that Christ is our true peace: in him, by his Cross, God has reconciled the world to himself and has broken down the walls of division that separated us from one another (cf. Eph 2:14 – 18); in him, there is but one family, reconciled in love. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLV World Day of Peace, no. 5, January 1, 2012)

  • If peace is to be authentic and lasting it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man

For her part, the Church, in fidelity to the mission she has received from her Founder, is committed to proclaiming everywhere ‘the Gospel of peace’. In the firm conviction that she offers an indispensable service to all those who strive to promote peace, she reminds everyone that, if peace is to be authentic and lasting, it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man. This truth alone can create a sensitivity to justice and openness to love and solidarity, while encouraging everyone to work for a truly free and harmonious human family. The foundations of authentic peace rest on the truth about God and man. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, no. 15, January 1, 2006)

  • Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman

Who and what, then, can prevent the coming of peace? Sacred Scripture, in its very first book, Genesis, points to the lie told at the very beginning of history by the animal with a forked tongue, whom the Evangelist John calls ‘the father of lies’ (Jn 8:44). Lying is also one of the sins spoken of in the final chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, which bars liars from the heavenly Jerusalem: ‘outside are… all who love falsehood’ (Jn 22:15). Lying is linked to the tragedy of sin and its perverse consequences, which have had, and continue to have, devastating effects on the lives of individuals and nations. […] Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman; it is decisive for the peaceful future of our planet. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, January 1, 2006)

  • A fundamental presupposition for authentic peace: respect for the Natural Law– to carry out the divine plan inscribed in the nature of human beings

From this standpoint, the norms of the natural law should not be viewed as externally imposed decrees, as restraints upon human freedom. Rather, they should be welcomed as a call to carry out faithfully the universal divine plan inscribed in the nature of human beings. Guided by these norms, all peoples – within their respective cultures – can draw near to the greatest mystery, which is the mystery of God. Today too, recognition and respect for natural law represents the foundation for a dialogue between the followers of the different religions and between believers and non-believers. As a great point of convergence, this is also a fundamental presupposition for authentic peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

  • Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara – by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. […] The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between – as they were called – three ‘Laws’ or ‘rules of life’: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an. […] In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’. According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the ‘Book’ and the ‘infidels’, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’ The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. ‘God’, he says, ‘is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…’. The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this; not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practice idolatry. (Benedict XVI. Address in the University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • Sufferings of the Christian community in Iraq

Sadly, the year now ending has again been marked by persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence and religious intolerance. My thoughts turn in a special way to the beloved country of Iraq, which continues to be a theatre of violence and strife as it makes its way towards a future of stability and reconciliation. I think of the recent sufferings of the Christian community, and in particular the reprehensible attack on the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baghdad, where on 31 October two priests and over fifty faithful were killed as they gathered for the celebration of Holy Mass. In the days that followed, other attacks ensued, even on private homes, spreading fear within the Christian community and a desire on the part of many to emigrate in search of a better life. I assure them of my own closeness and that of the entire Church, a closeness which found concrete expression in the recent Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod encouraged the Catholic communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East to live in communion and to continue to offer a courageous witness of faith in those lands. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLIV World Day of Peace, no. 1, January 1, 2011)

  • Numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East

Consequently, if the glorification of God and earthly peace are closely linked, it seems evident that peace is both God’s gift and a human task, one which demands our free and conscious response. For this reason, I wished my annual Message for the World Day of Peace to bear the title: Blessed are the Peacemakers. Civil and political authorities before all others have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East. I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins. Your Excellencies, allow me to ask you to continue to make your Governments aware of this, so that essential aid will urgently be made available to face this grave humanitarian situation. I now turn with deep concern towards the Holy Land. Following Palestine’s recognition as a Non-Member Observer State of the United Nations, I again express the hope that, with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians will commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the framework of two sovereign states, where respect for justice and the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples will be preserved and guaranteed. Jerusalem, become what your name signifies! A city of peace and not of division; a prophecy of the Kingdom of God and not a byword for instability and opposition!

As I turn my thoughts towards the beloved Iraqi people, I express my hope that they will pursue the path of reconciliation in order to arrive at the stability for which they long.

In Lebanon, where last September I met the various groups which make up society, may the many religious traditions there be cultivated by all as a true treasure for the country and for the whole region, and may Christians offer an effective witness for the building of a future of peace, together with all men and women of good will!

In North Africa too, cooperation between all the members of society is of primary concern, and each must be guaranteed full citizenship, the liberty publicly to profess their religion and the ability to contribute to the common good. I assure all Egyptians of my closeness and my prayers at this time when new institutions are being set in place.

Turning to sub-Saharan Africa, I encourage the efforts being made to build peace, especially in those places where the wounds of war remain open and where their grave humanitarian consequences are being felt. I think particularly of the Horn of Africa, and the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where new of acts of violence have erupted, forcing many people to abandon their homes, families and surroundings. Nor can I fail to mention other threats looming on the horizon. Nigeria is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap victims above all among the Christian faithful gathered in prayer, as if hatred intended to turn temples of prayer and peace into places of fear and division. I was deeply saddened to learn that, even in the days when we celebrated Christmas, some Christians were barbarously put to death. Mali is also torn by violence and marked by a profound institutional and social crisis, one which calls for the effective attention of the international community. In the Central African Republic, I hope that the talks announced as taking place shortly will restore stability and spare the people from reliving the throes of civil war. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, January 7, 2013)

 

 

Pope Benedict Vs. Francis Part 2

AM+DG

The English Denzinger site (which was run by (20) priests, and which (strangely??) has not been active for a few years, was invaluable and priceless in terms of comparing everything Francis claimed to what authentic Church Teaching says.

The following is an example of one article I had saved. It is very long, so I will post just a few bits every day. The following continues from yesterday’s post.

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Benedict XVI…

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel only with gentleness

  • It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity – even when inconvenient

This is important; the Apostle did not preach an ‘à la carte’ Christianity to suit his own inclinations, he did not preach a Gospel to suit his own favourite theological ideas; he did not shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will, even an inconvenient will and even topics of which he was personally not so enamoured. It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But it is important that we teach and preach, as St Paul says here, and really propose the will of God in its entirety. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina given at the meeting with the parish priests of the Rome diocese, March 10, 2011)

  • Christian admonishment is always moved by love and mercy

I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. (Benedict XVI. Message for lent, 2012, no. 1, November 3, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel

  • The hermeneutic of discontinuity: a split between the pre-conciliar and the post-conciliar Church. This is to fundamentally misunderstand what a Council is

What has been the result of the Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? […] The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult? Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or – as we would say today – on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarreled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit. On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call ‘a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture’; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the ‘hermeneutic of reform’, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God. The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. […] The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way, it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005)

  • We must see the Council in this perspective of continuity

This point is also important with regard to the Council. We need not, as I said to the Roman Curia before Christmas, live the hermeneutic of discontinuity, but rather the hermeneutic of renewal, which is the spirituality of continuity, of going ahead in continuity. […] We must accept newness but also love continuity, and we must see the Council in this perspective of continuity. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Roman clergy, March 2, 2006)

  • The Church, both before and after the Council, was and is the same Church

The Church, both before and after the Council, was and is the same Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, journeying on through time; she continues ‘her pilgrimage amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God’, proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes (cf. Lumen Gentium, no. 8). (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005)

  • Proclaim the Gospel without fear or reticence, never yielding to the conditioning of the world

The truth about Gospel love concerns every person and the whole person, and involves the Pastor in proclaiming it without fear or reticence, and never yielding to the conditioning of the world in season and out of season (cf. 2Tim 4:2). Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, in a time such as our own, marked by the growing phenomenon of globalization, it is ever more necessary to make the truth about Christ and his Gospel of salvation reach everyone. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the 11th Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, June 1, 2006)

  • The Church of love is also the Church of truth and fidelity to the Gospel

The Church of love is also the Church of truth, understood primarily as fidelity to the Gospel entrusted by the Lord Jesus to his followers. It was being made children of the same Father by the Spirit of truth that gave rise to Christian brotherhood: ‘For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God’ (Rom 8:14). However, if the family of God’s children is to live in unity and peace, it needs someone to keep it in the truth and guide it with wise and authoritative discernment: this is what the ministry of the Apostles is required to do. (Benedict XVI. General audience, April 5, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on new forms of poverty

  • …but there are those who have totally destroyed their desire for truth

There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 45, November 30, 2007)

  • It is not enough to care for the body, we must adorn the soul with the divine gifts acquired through Baptism

Through treatment, which includes medical, psychological and educational assistance, and through much prayer, manual work and discipline, many people – especially young people –have already succeeded in freeing themselves from alcohol and drug dependency, thereby recovering meaning in their lives. I wish to express my appreciation for this work, which has the charism of Saint Francis and the spirituality of the Focolare Movement as its spiritual foundation. Reintegration in society undoubtedly demonstrates the effectiveness of your initiative. Yet it is the conversions, the rediscovery of God and active participation in the life of the Church which attract even greater attention and which confirm the importance of your work. It is not enough to care for the body, we must adorn the soul with the most precious divine gifts acquired through Baptism. Let us thank God for all those who have set out along the path of renewed hope, with the help of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the celebration of the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Community of Fazenda da Esperança, no. 4, May 25, 2007)

  • The Church’s charitable activity is not just another form of social assistance

For this reason, it is very important that the Church’s charitable activity maintains all of its splendour and does not become just another form of social assistance. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 31, December 25, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on the ‘Bread of Life’

  • In the Eucharist Jesus offers his own body and pours out his own blood

In the Eucharist Jesus does not give us a ‘thing,’ but himself; he offers his own body and pours out his own blood. He thus gives us the totality of his life and reveals the ultimate origin of this love. He is the eternal Son, given to us by the Father. In the Gospel we hear how Jesus, after feeding the crowds by multiplying the loaves and fishes, says to those who had followed him to the synagogue of Capernaum: ‘My Father gives you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world’ (Jn 6:32-33), and even identifies himself, his own flesh and blood, with that bread: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh’ (Jn 6:51). Jesus thus shows that he is the bread of life which the eternal Father gives to mankind. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 7, February 22, 2007)

  • By receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ we become sharers in the divine life in a more conscious way

The Lord Jesus, who became for us the food of truth and love, speaks of the gift of his life and assures us that ‘if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever’ (Jn 6:51). This ‘eternal life’ begins in us even now, thanks to the transformation effected in us by the gift of the Eucharist: ‘He who eats me will live because of me’ (Jn 6:57). These words of Jesus make us realize how the mystery ‘believed’ and ‘celebrated’ contains an innate power making it the principle of new life within us and the form of our Christian existence. By receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ we become sharers in the divine life in an ever more adult and conscious way. Here too, we can apply Saint Augustine’s words, in his Confessions, about the eternal Logos as the food of our souls. Stressing the mysterious nature of this food, Augustine imagines the Lord saying to him: ‘I am the food of grown men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you change me, like the food of your flesh, into yourself, but you shall be changed into me’ (VII, 10, 16: PL 32, 742). It is not the eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we who are mysteriously transformed by it. Christ nourishes us by uniting us to himself; ‘he draws us into himself’. (Benedict XVI, Homily at Marienfeld Esplanade, 21 August 2005 (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 70, February 22, 2007)

  • With the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus announces the Eucharistic Bread

Afterwards, the people, seeing this miracle [the multiplication of the loaves], that seemed to be the much-awaited renewal of a new ‘manna’, of the gift of bread from heaven, wanted to make him king. But Jesus does not accept and withdraws into the hills by himself to pray. The following day, on the other side of the lake in the Synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus explained the miracle – not in the sense of a kingship over Israel with a worldly power in the way the crowds hoped, but in the sense of the gift of self: ‘The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh’ (Jn 6: 51). Jesus announces the Cross and with the Cross the true multiplication of the loaves, the Eucharistic bread his absolutely new way of kingship, a way completely contrary to the expectations of the people. (Benedict XVI. General audience, May 24, 2006)

  • The Eucharist is nourishment for the soul

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of bread; for the Eucharist, nourishment of the soul, as well as for our daily bread, nourishment for the body. May God bless the harvest of this year and all of those working for it. (Benedict XVI. General audience, greeting to the Polish pilgrims, August 19, 2009)