April 26, 2005

Vatican Information Service Bulletin - 04/26/05

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2005 (VIS) - A smiling Pope Benedict XVI entered the Paul VI Hall yesterday morning for a meeting with thousands of his fellow Germans, shaking hands with many of them as he walked down the center aisle before taking his seat. His brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, was also present at this audience, as were many German seminarians, priests, religious and lay faithful who shouted his name, first in Italian and then in German, and "Viva il Papa! Long Live the Pope."
  In both his prepared speech and off-the-cuff remarks, the Pope asked his countrymen, to forgive him for being late, stating he knew that punctuality was a hallmark of Germans but adding that he had, however, lived in Italy for 23 years and had perhaps "become Italianized." In a reference to his origins, he said that, although he is now the bishop of Rome, he remains "a Bavarian" at heart. He highlighted in his speech the ties that have linked Bavaria and Rome over the centuries.

Benedict XVI then spoke of the conclave that elected him as the 264th Successor to Peter. "Without violating the oath of secrecy," he said, "I never thought I would be elected, nor did I do anything to promote this." When it became clear that he would be the new Pope, he said, he recalled a letter from a cardinal who reminded him that the theme of his homily at the funeral of Pope John Paul came from the Lord's call to His disciples: "Follow me." And the then Cardinal Ratzinger had added, "when the Lord calls, we must answer."  "The ways of the Lord," said the Holy Father, "are not easy, but we are not made for an easy life and therefore I could only say 'yes'."

He repeated what he said at the April 24 Mass to inaugurate his pontificate, namely that the Church "is not old but young." He added, to great applause, that he would indeed be in Cologne, Germany with young people in August for World Youth Day.

At the end of his speech, Pope Benedict XVI asked his fellow countrymen to walk together with him, to pray for him and to have faith in him.



VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Pope Benedict XVI made his first trip outside the Vatican when he visited the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls in southern Rome in order to demonstrate the Church of Rome's inseparable bond with the Apostle to the Gentiles. Thirty-five cardinals and representatives from other Christian confessions were present for the ceremony.
  The Pope greeted and blessed the thousands of people who filled the basilica, pausing to kiss a number of children.
  At the beginning of the ceremony, the Holy Father addressed those present using the words of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans (1: 1-6, 8-9, 11-12, 14-15). Then, after venerating the tomb of the Apostle, he delivered the homily.
  Benedict XVI affirmed that his visit represented "a much longed-for pilgrimage, a gesture of faith that I undertake in my own name, but also in the name of the dear diocese of Rome, of which the Lord has made me bishop and pastor, and in that of the Universal Church which is entrusted to my pastoral care. A pilgrimage, so to speak, at the roots of the mission, the mission that the risen Christ entrusted to Peter, to the Apostles, and in a particular way also to Paul, urging him to announce the Gospel to the people until he reached this city where, after having long preached the Kingdom of God, he gave with his own blood the final witness to the Lord, who had 'conquered' and sent him."
   After highlighting the fact that, as Peter's successor, he had come to the basilica "to revitalize in faith this 'grace of the apostolate'," about which the Apostle speaks, Benedict XVI recalled the example of John Paul II, "a missionary Pope, whose intense activity, as witnessed by more than 100 apostolic trips outside Italy, is truly inimitable. What impelled him to such dynamism if not that same love of Christ that transformed the existence of St Paul? May the Lord also nourish such a love in me, that I do not hold back before the urgent need of announcing the Gospel in the world today. The Church is missionary by nature, her primary task is evangelization."
  "At the beginning of the third millennium the Church feels with renewed vitality that Christ's missionary mandate is more imperative than ever," said the Pope. Recalling the motto used by St. Benedict in his Rule, exhorting his monks "to put nothing before the love of Christ," the Holy Father emphasized that "the passion for Christ brought (St. Paul) to preach the Gospel not only with words but with life itself, ever more conformed to his Lord. In the end St. Paul announced Christ through martyrdom, and with his blood - together with that of St. Peter and of so many other witnesses to the Gospel - he bathed this land and made fruitful the Church of Rome, which presides over the universal communion of charity."
  Pope Benedict XVI stressed that "the twentieth century was a time of martyrdom. This was much emphasized by Pope John Paul II who asked the Church 'to update the Martyrologium,' and who canonized and beatified numerous martyrs of modern history. If then, the blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians, at the beginning of the third millennium we may expect a new flowering of the Church, especially where she suffered most for the faith and the witness of the Gospel."

"We entrust this desire to the intercession of St. Paul. May he obtain for the Church of Rome - especially her new bishop and all the people of God - the joy of announcing and bearing witness to the Good News of Christ the Savior."



VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
 - Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon.
 - Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, archbishop emeritus of Seoul, Korea.
 - Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara S.D.B., president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State.
  Yesterday the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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