Benedict's gifts and 'gaffes'
FREE Catholic Classes
The problem: There's not that much difference between those gifts and those gaffes. Consider:
A gift: Pope Benedict's theme of friendship with Jesus.
In his homily before the papal conclave, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger introduced a theme that he would return to again after becoming Pope Benedict XVI.
He called Catholics to "friendship with Jesus," invoking the Roman phrase that identified friends as those with the same likes and same dislikes.
In his inaugural Mass as pope, the holy father returned to the same theme, saying, "If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation."
He expanded on that theme in many ways afterward - in his first encyclical, 2006's Deus Cartias Est (God Is Love) and in his book Jesus of Nazareth, which he wrote, he said, "to help foster the growth of a living relationship" with Jesus Christ.
A so-called gaffe: In his remarks to the bishops of Latin America meeting in Aparecida, Brazil, Pope Benedict said, "The utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbian religions, separating them from Christ and from the universal church, would not be a step forward. Indeed, it would be a step back. In reality, it would be a retreat towards a stage in history anchored in the past."
Later, the holy father was quick to acknowledge the injustices that took place during the colonization of Latin America.
But his original remark was of a piece with the important theme of his pontificate: Friendship with Jesus isn't an imposition on a life that would have been freer without it - it is a liberation for those who would be diminished without it. Everyone is bettered by that friendship - Indians included.
A gift: Pope Benedict's insistence that God is love.
Hand in hand with his concept of friendship with Jesus is Pope Benedict's emphasis on God as love. In his first encyclical, he had startling things to say. He calls God's love for his people not just agape love but eros. In other words, he says God loves us with an almost romantic longing.
The holy father even writes: "God's passionate love for his people - for humanity - is at the same time a forgiving love. It is so great that it turns God against himself, his love against his justice."
He has returned to the theme again and again in homilies. In March 2006, he said: "God loves us in a way that we might call 'obstinate' and enfolds us in his inexhaustible tenderness."
A so-called gaffe: On Sept. 12, 2006, the holy father gave a lecture about faith and reason - and the need to reject violence - at the University of Regensburg, Germany. In it, he quoted a 14th century emperor's words about the incompatibility of faith and violence. But he also quoted the emperor's harsh words about Muhammad, the founder of Islam - calling them "astonishingly brusque."
Some Muslims reacted, ironically, with violence - but Pope Benedict was doing nothing more in his Regensburg address than expressing in concrete terms the consequences of the truth that God is love - renouncing violence in the name of God.
A gift: Benedict's emphasis on the Eucharist.
All of these lessons are summed up in another constant theme of the Pope: The Eucharist. In his first message after becoming Pope, Benedict said: "I ask everyone in the coming months to intensify love and devotion for Jesus in the Eucharist," he said, "and to express courageously and clearly faith in the real presence of the Lord, especially by the solemnity and the correctness of the celebrations."
It's another theme he returned to several times, most importantly in the recent post-synodal apostolic exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis" ("The Sacrament of Charity").
A so-called gaffe: In a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith document, the Vatican reiterated the fact that only those churches that retain the real presence of Christ are authentic.
The document was simply a reiteration of the key truth that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. The Vatican is saying that churches are Christians gathered with Christ - not gatherings of those who reject the Eucharist.
Pope Benedict's pontificate hasn't been a series of gifts and gaffes at all, but a consistent application of key themes of the Christian life.
National Catholic Register
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,717
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- St. Lawrence of Brindisi: Saint of the Day for Sunday, July 21, 2019
- Daily Readings for Sunday, July 21, 2019
- Daily Reading for Monday, July 22nd, 2019 HD Video
- Influencers in a Pro-life Vocation
- Making a Difference: Lessons for Earth 50 years after first moon landing
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 HD Video
- South Asia floods: 'Everything is coming to a complete standstill'
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, July 19th 2019 HD
- Mary, the Blessed Virgin HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, July 21st, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Thursday, July 18th 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.