Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/20/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/20/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Pope Benedict XVI, Saint Benedict, Missionary, New Evangelization, ecclesial movements, Pope's Birthday, Deacon Keith Fournier


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 Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14).Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching," looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires."

Some attempted to misuse this insight to paint him as rejecting the modern world. That has clearly proven to be nonsense. What he rejects is the emptiness that Alisdair MacIntyre referred to.  What Pope Benedict proposes in its place is a rebirth of a true Christian humanism and culture which proceeds along a different path, not to the past, but to a future of hope, authentic human freedom and true cultural conversion.

I suggested back then, "this will be a pontificate that emphasizes and vigorously contends for the truth; one that recognizes the loss of the soul of contemporary culture and proclaims the ever fresh yet ancient truths of classical Christianity to an emerging new paganism. This will be a prophetic as well as a pastoral Papacy. We will witness a resurgence of Christianity that is rightly "orthodox" in both faith and practice.

"Because of that, many will try to "claim" Benedict. Some, pining for the past, will watch for what they hope will be a return to some perceived pre-conciliar "purity." Others will try to squeeze the clarity of his commitment to the dignity and sanctity of every human life, his unwavering insistence on the unchangeable truth concerning marriage and family, and his love for human freedom into their particular political mold.

"However, he will not fit any political mold. He will not lead the Church backwards but rather forward to a future of hope and into a true and desperately needed reform. Under his leadership we will see new forms of Christian life and community emerging in an analogous way to what happened to the world at the time of St. Benedict."

"From those Benedictine monasteries, an entire monastic movement was birthed which led to the evangelization of Europe and the emergence of an authentically Christian culture. This led to the birth and flourishing of the academy, the arts and the emergence of what later became known as Christendom. One of the greatest hopes of Pope John Paul II, and of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger- now Pope Benedict, was for Europe to rediscover her Christian roots as it did at the time of St Benedict. Now we have "another Benedict" to lead the recovery and reform.

I continued " Pope Benedict XVI will surprise many, particularly in the area of ecumenism, reaching to heal the divide between eastern and western Christianity so that the "two lungs" of the full Christian Church can breathe together again and animate the entire Church so that she can become again the soul of the world. ...

"We will witness the beginnings of the coming full communion of the Church during his pontificate. We will witness the recovery of the authentically Catholic academy through the rebuilding of some institutions almost lost to the Church and the building of new ones. We will see the flourishing of good, solid theological and philosophical work alongside of a flourishing of the arts and human culture, led by the Church, as it has been in ages past. He will be like his namesake and help to bring the Christian influence back to Europe and beyond."

Consider a few noteworthy points. Pope Benedict XVI turned 84 years old on April 16, 2011. Some early observers indicated his age would make him some sort of caretaker Pope. His pace has demonstrated the observers were wrong. He has proven to be indefatigable. He has continued the pastoral visits of his predecessor with amazingly fruitful travels around the world. The youth of the world still flock to World  Youth days and his genuine love for them - and they for him - is evident. He has pastorally and decisively dealt with serious matters concerning the need for a purification of the Church. 

He really 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.

He has written three encyclicals, a beautiful apostolic exhortation, and two scholarly books about Jesus of Nazareth. He is a scholar of the highest order, yet able to communicate with simplicity and beauty because he is a man of deep prayer. He has given continual teaching to the faithful - including some of the finest hagiography in centuries - during his Wednesday Catechesis.

He made Church history, when Motu Propio, on his own authority, he released of the Apostolic Constitution on Groups of Anglicans which has begun the healing of the divided Western Church. He has made great strides toward healing the divisions with the Society of St Pius X. His Summorum Pontificum, again released Motu Propio, making the "Traditional Roman Mass" more fully available as the "extraordinary form" will find its place in liturgical history.

He has earned the great respect of Patriarchs and leaders of the Orthodox Church and is making progress toward some form of communion between Eastern and Western Christianity which could make the Third Millennium a millennium of communion. He has championed the re-christianizing of Europe, passionately promoted the New Evangelization of the Church. He has been a champion of the New Ecclesial movements and helped to ensure that they are rooted in the heart of the Church.

He has doggedly defended the Christian roots of the West and defended religious freedom as a fundamental human right. He has engaged the Islamic world with great charity and courage on the ground of dialogue in truth. He recently began the "Courts of the Gentiles" outreach engaging atheists and agnostics. Clearly, this is a missionary Pope.

And, it looks like he is just getting warmed up.  We have had six years of Pope Benedict XVI and it appears to this Deacon that he is leading the Catholic Church into a New Missionary Age. Indeed, another Benedict is here, and the Church is truly blessed to have him at the helm of the Barque of Peter as she sails into the Third Christian Millennium.  

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Europe

Mysterious pagan 'cathedral' unearthed in Ukraine Watch

Image of The site was like others found in the Ukraine and in and other parts of Eastern Europe, which belonged to the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists have unearthed a 6,000-year-old temple in the Ukraine that shows evidence of sacrificial practices. The prehistoric structure contain altars and burnt lamb bones as well as human-like figurines. The temple gives insight on practices within a huge ... continue reading


Pope Benedict breaks silence to warn against relativistic ideas of religious truth Watch

Image of The Pope emeritus says that dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February of last year. He said he would continue to serve the church "through a life dedicated to prayer" and has made few public appearances since he left office. Benedict broke his silence last week in a speech that warned that ... continue reading


Massive Viking treasure horde discovered HOW?!? Watch

Image of A 47-year-old British man uncovered one of the largest Viking artifact hordes ever discovered, which has over hundreds of artifacts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A British man has found the largest collection of Viking artifacts ever in Scotland, using-of all things--a metal detector. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Derek McLennan found the trove on land belonging to the Church of Scotland in the area of Dumfries and ... continue reading


Pope Francis Makes Another Impassioned Plea for Christian Unity Watch

Image of Divisions among us, but also divisions among the communities: evangelical Christians, orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, but why divided? We must try to bring about unity. Let me tell you something, today, before leaving home, I spent 40 minutes more or less, half an hour, with an evangelical pastor. And we prayed together, seeking unity. But we Catholics must pray with each other and other Christians. Pray that the Lord gift us unity! Unity among ourselves! How will we ever have unity among Christians if we are not capable of having it among us Catholics, in the family, how many families fight and split up? Seek unity, unity builds the Church and comes from Jesus Christ. He sends us the Holy Spirit to build unity! - Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Dear friends, let us therefore proceed towards full unity! History has separated us, but we are on the path towards reconciliation and communion! And this is true! And we must defend it! We are all on the path toward communion. And when the goal seems too ... continue reading


'Titanic of the Ancient World' yielding priceless, new treasures Watch

Image of In their assessment of the ship's size, the team also brought up several new artifacts including tableware and an enormous bronze spear, pictured below, that's believed to have been part of a giant statue.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ancient Antikythera shipwreck, a Greek vessel that sank more than 2,000 years ago in the Aegean Sea has long captivated archaeologists. Since sponge divers discovered it in 1900, researchers have long referred to it in order to understand a foregone ... continue reading


Belgium strikes back against leaders of national Islamist group Watch

Image of Fouad Belkacem alias Abu Imran, the spokesman for the Sharia4Belgium Islamist group, and one of those put on trial.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Belgium has started its largest-ever terrorism trial in the port city of Antwerp. Here, 46 members of the Sharia4Belgium Islamist group are being charged with recruiting scores of young Muslims to fight for the Islamic State. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Catholic Church must use power to protect Christians against radical Islam, bishop says Watch

Image of The Pakistan-born bishop, an outspoken defender of Christian rights in his native land before coming to United Kingdom, says that the time is nigh for Rome to take a stand.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Church must use its global power to protect Christians threatened by Islamic militancy and secularism. That was the message delivered by prominent Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. The Pakistan-born bishop, an outspoken defender of Christian ... continue reading


Ebola cases spreading through Europe deemed 'unavoidable' by health official Watch

Image of While European health workers were most at risk of becoming infected, but added that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the news of a Spanish nurse infected with the Ebola virus, World Health Organization European Director Zsuzsanna Jakab has declared that the spread of Ebola across Europe is "quite unavoidable." She assures the world that Europe is still at low risk and ... continue reading


Extraordinary Synod on the Pastoral Care of the Family Begins. Stop Fighting and Start Praying Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Too much of the back and forth online concerning the Extraordinary Synod on the Pastoral care of the family has only fanned the fires of fear among God's people. It has also given those who oppose the Church, and her liberating message of truth, fodder for their ... continue reading


Discovered artwork asks -- Was Jesus Christ clean-shaven? Watch

Image of Throughout history, the Messiah has been depicted in a variety of ways through holy art -- bearded, clean shaven, light skin, olive skin, long hair, short -- each interpretation reflecting the prevalent society's ideas regarding Him.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The popular depiction of Jesus Christ in Western art usually shows him with flowing, long blond hair and beard. This depiction may not necessarily be the case. Archaeologists in Spain say they have found one of the world's earliest known images of Jesus ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter