January 11, 2006

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY:

- The Victory of the Messiah Frees Us From Evil
- Strengthen Commitment to Promoting Christian Unity
- Audiences

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 THE VICTORY OF THE MESSIAH FREES US FROM EVIL

 VATICAN CITY, JAN 11, 2006 (VIS) - In today's general audience, Benedict XVI continued his catechesis on the Psalms, turning his attention to the first part of Psalm 143, "The king's prayer for victory and peace." The audience was held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall and was attended by 8,000 people.

   Bearing in mind the period in which the psalm was written, said the Pope, it is easy to see "that the king who appears no longer has the profile of a Davidic sovereign, as the Hebrew royal line had ended with the Babylonian exile of the sixth century BC, rather he represents the luminous and glorious figure of the Messiah, whose victory is no longer warlike and political but an intervention of freedom against evil."

    The hymn begins with a string of praises exalting the greatness of the Lord, yet before His omnipotence "the psalmist, despite his regal dignity, feels weak and fragile. He makes a profession of humility , ... describing himself as a 'passing shadow' ... immersed in the flow of fleeting time and marked by the limits of his status as a created being."

   The Holy Father continued: "Here, then, is the question: why does God concern Himself and think of such a poor and lowly creature? The question is answered by the great bursting forth of the divinity; this so-called theophany is accompanied by a series of cosmic elements and historical events that all tend to celebrate the transcendence of the supreme King of life, the universe and history."

   The Pope explained how the early Christian writer Origen, in his commentary on this psalm, writes: "Lord, you cannot save the misery that is man if You do not take that misery upon Yourself. ... You came down, you lowered the heavens and stretched out Your hand from on high, you deigned to take upon Yourself the flesh of man, and many believed in You."

   Benedict XVI concluded: "The psalm, which began with our discovery of being weak and far from divine splendor, reaches a surprising conclusion: near us is the God-Emmanuel, Who for Christians has the loving face of Jesus Christ, God-made-man."

 

STRENGTHEN COMMITMENT TO PROMOTING CHRISTIAN UNITY

 VATICAN CITY, JAN 11, 2006 (VIS) - Following his catechesis on Psalm 143, the Pope addressed greetings in various languages to the pilgrims present at the general audience.

   The Holy Father offered his "heartfelt greetings" to a group of students and teachers  of the ecumenical institute of Bossey in Switzerland, saying: "I hope that your visit to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, together with your meetings, will be a stimulus to strengthen your commitment to the vital task of promotion of unity among Christians."

   Benedict XVI then greeted representatives from the Italian Federation of Therapeutic Communities, which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its activities, encouraging them "to continue in the work of providing support and shelter for victims of drugs and marginalization."

   The Pope gave assurances of his thoughts for the young, the sick, and newlyweds saying: "May the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which brought the Christmas period to a close, stimulate you so that, in recalling your own Baptism, you are ready to bear joyful witness to faith in Christ in all situations: in health and in sickness, in the family, in the work place and everywhere else."

   The Pope also had greetings for a group of 30 children from Beslan in the Russian region of North Ossetia who survived a terrorist attack on their school in September 2004 which left over 300 people dead including children, teachers and parents. The youngsters, invited by the Italian Civil Protection, have spent some days visiting Milan and Rome and are due to return to their country tomorrow.

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, JAN 11, 2006 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Holy Father received in audience Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin, apostolic nuncio to Kenya.

   Yesterday evening he received in audience Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany.

 

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