Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Pope Benedict: the Pope of Love

Our beloved Holy Father with children
I've had some time to read and re-read some of Pope Benedict's writings as a cardinal: Salt of the Earth and Spirit of the Liturgy. I'll try to give a more comprehensive review of the former, as it is very instructive considering the Holy Father's reflections over the past week: the failures following the Council, the crisis of faith etc. Even in the Holy Father's most recent address to the Roman clergy, one sees his restraint. Yet, at times - for very good reasons - our Holy Father has (out of love) used such strong language as "the filth in the Church..." There is no doubt that the filth of sexual deviancy is still there. Part of combatting this filth is not only the removal of perverts, but the the teaching of correct doctrine after decades of a hermeneutic of discontinuity. 

What I wish to emphasize at the present is one underlying theme that has resonated throughout his pontificate: a profound love for sinners and the world as manifested through gentle admonishments and a recalling to the truth of the Faith - even as the Pope combated the filth.

Underscoring this is the Pope's encyclicals and sermons on his Apostolic journeys. Who can forget his homilies and public address in Scotland and England? What of his astonishing speech to the Bundestag? His visit to the United States, Cuba etc? The list of the Holy Father's challenge to the world to break with the banal and dehumanizing global cultural triad of economics, technology and mass media is constant and a development of writings as a cardinal. His call that faith and reason go hand in hand, that relativism is a monstrous rejection of truth - and one of the greatest enemies of humanity; all of this will be a legacy of love. 

His lifting of the excommunications of the bishops of the SSPX likewise was an act of love. As was his issuing of Summorum Pontificum. In everything, the Holy Father was calling for humility, unity and brotherly exchange of love. The fruit of this action will play out in the Church with a new appreciation of tradition, yet a dynamic for the future through continual innovative evangelization. 

Finally, there is the call for a "new" evangelization: a call to seek out those fallen away Catholics who may yet have embers of the Faith within them.  What greater love can there be to teach the Gospel of Christ? 

Your Holiness, thank-you. 

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