Six years of Pope Benedict XVI: Church at the Beginning of a New Missionary Age
Clearly, this is a missionary Pope, leading a new missionary age
He is exactly what he told us all six years ago, a "simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord." Notice how little fanfare accompanied his birthday as well as this six year anniversary of his election. Clearly, to this successor of Peter, it is not about him, but about the Lord whom he serves. His diminutive size and humble manner reveal the holy heart of this man totally given over to the Lord. Looks like he is just getting warmed up.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - April 19, 2011 marked the sixth anniversary of the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the Chair of Peter. He took the name Benedict XVI. In an interview with the Catholic News Agency Raymond Cardinal Burke spoke of the "profound goodness" of this Pope. He called this pontificate one of "great dynamism" and "intense evangelization".
The Cardinal continued, "I think the Holy Father has shown he has many outstanding qualities not least his ability to teach very profound things in a very accessible way. Whether that's through his visits, his Wednesday audiences or his many homilies, without exaggeration he manages to make the very profound very understandable. And I hear that from so many people I meet."
Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI's election I wrote an article quoting these words from Alisdair MacIntyre's book "After Virtue": "It is always dangerous to draw too precise parallels between one historical period and another; and among the most misleading of such parallels are those which have been drawn between our own age in Europe and North America and the Epoch in which the Roman Empire declined into the Dark Ages.
"Nonetheless, certain parallels there are. A crucial turning point in that earlier history occurred when men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman Imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of the Imperium.
"What they set themselves to achieve instead- often not recognizing fully what they were doing- was the construction of new forms of community within which the moral life could be sustained so that both morality and civility might survive the coming ages of barbarism and darkness. If my account of our moral condition is correct, we ought also to conclude that for some time now we too have reached that turning point...
"...This time however, the barbarians are not waiting beyond the frontiers; they have already been governing us for quite some time. And it is our lack of consciousness of this that constitutes part of our predicament. We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another-doubtless very different- St. Benedict."
My suggestion was that another Benedict was here. I am even more convinced of it six years into this papacy. I remember when Pope Benedict XVI appeared on the balcony opening up to St Peters Square in Rome which was filled to overflowing with pilgrims. We had all lived through the extraordinary transitus of soon to be Blessed John Paul II. "Habemus Papam" ("We Have a Pope!"), the Cardinal announced, and it seemed as though the world stand still.
Pope Benedict XVI stepped forward and said," Dear Brothers and Sisters, After the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have chosen me -- a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord. It consoles me that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with inadequate instruments, so above all, I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the Risen Lord, trusting in his unfailing help, let us move forward, that the Lord will help us and Mary, his Most Holy Mother, might be by our side. Thank you."
I was visiting with a priest friend in Richmond, Virginia. We had been immersed in an intense conversation when another friend, then a Bishop of an ecclesial community not in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, called me on my cell phone. "Have you heard?" he asked, "Habemus Papam, We have a Pope!" He was hardly able to contain his joy. A few years later this wonderful man laid aside his Episcopal ministry to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church.
During the passing of Pope John Paul II, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger spoke these words "None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the City and the world) We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us." I believe that one of the fruits of that blessing was the selection of his friend, confidante, trusted theologian and beloved brother, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to occupy the Chair of Peter.
In a homily prior to the convening of the papal conclave then Cardinal Ratzinger gave us a prophetic insight into the age: "How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking... The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth.
"Every day new sects are created and what Saint ...
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