Full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks to the citizens of Freiburg
With great joy I greet you all and I thank you for your kind welcome. After the wonderful meetings that took place in Berlin and Erfurt, I am happy now to be here in Freiburg with you. A special word of thanks goes to Archbishop Robert Zollitsch for his invitation and his gracious words of welcome.
“Where God is, there is a future”, as the motto of this Pastoral Visit reminds us. As the Successor of Saint Peter, who was commissioned by the Lord to strengthen his brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), I too have come willingly to you, in order to pray together with you, to proclaim the word of God and to celebrate the Eucharist. I ask for your prayers, that these days will be fruitful, that God will deepen our faith, strengthen our hope and increase our love. During these days, may we become aware once more how much God loves us and how good he is, so that we may trustingly place ourselves and all our cares and concerns into his hands. In him our future is assured: he gives meaning to our lives and can bring them to fulfilment. May the Lord accompany you in peace and make you messengers of joy!
Homily of the Holy Father
Holy Mass in Erfurt
24 September 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“Praise the Lord at all times, for he is good.” These are the words that we sang just before the Gospel. Yes, we truly have reason to thank God with our whole hearts. If we think back thirty years to the Elizabeth Year 1981, when this city formed part of the German Democratic Republic, who would have thought that a few years later, the wall and the barbed wire at the border would have come down? And if we think even further back, some 70 years, to the year 1941, in the days of National Socialism, who could have predicted that the so-called “thousand-year Reich” would turn to dust and ashes just four years later?
Dear Brothers and Sisters, here in Thuringia and in the former German Democratic Republic, you have had to endure first a brown and then a red dictatorship, which acted on the Christian faith like acid rain. Many late consequences of that period are still having to be worked through, above all in the intellectual and religious fields. Most people in this country since that time have spent their lives far removed from faith in Christ and from the communion of the Church. Yet the last two decades have also brought good experiences: a broader horizon, an exchange that reaches beyond borders, a faithful confidence that God does not abandon us and that he leads us along new paths. “Where God is, there is a future”.
We are all convinced that the new freedom has helped bring about greater dignity and a great many new possibilities for people’s lives. On the part of the Church, we can point gratefully to many things that have become easier, whether it be new opportunities for parish activities, renovation and enlargement of churches and community centres, or diocesan initiatives of a pastoral or cultural nature. But have these opportunities led to an increase in faith? Are not the deep roots of faith and Christian life to be sought in something very different from social freedom? It was actually amid the hardships of pressure from without that many committed Catholics remained faithful to Christ and to the Church. They accepted personal disadvantages in order to live their faith. Here I should like to thank the priests and the men and women who assisted them during that period. I would like to remember especially the pastoral care of refugees immediately after the Second World War: many priests and laypersons achieved great things in order to relieve the plight of those driven from their homes, and to provide them with a new home. Sincere thanks go not least to the parents who brought up their children in the Catholic faith in the midst of the diaspora and in an anticlerical political environment. With gratitude we remember, for example, the Religious Weeks for Children during the holidays and the fruitful work of the Catholic youth centres “Saint Sebastian” in Erfurt and “Marcel Callo” in Heiligenstadt. Especially in Eichsfeld, many Catholic Christians resisted the Communist ideology. May God richly reward their tenacity in the faith. That courageous witness and that patient trust in God’s guidance are like a precious seed that promises rich fruit for the future.
God’s presence is seen especially clearly in his saints. Their witness to the faith can also give us the courage to begin afresh today. Above all, we may think of the patron saints of the Diocese of Erfurt: Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia, Saint Boniface and Saint Kilian. Elizabeth came from a foreign land, from Hungary, to the Wartburg here in Thuringia. She led an intense life of prayer, linked to the spirit of penance and evangelical poverty. She regularly went down from her castle into the town of Eisenach, in order to care personally for the poor and the sick. Her life on this earth was only short – she was just twenty-four years old when she died – but the fruit of her holiness was vast. Saint Elizabeth is greatly esteemed also by Protestant Christians. She can help us all to discover the fullness of the faith that has been handed down to us and to translate it into our everyday lives.
The foundation of the diocese of Erfurt in 742 by Saint Boniface reminds us of the Christian roots of our country. This event at the same time forms the first recorded mention of the city of Erfurt. The missionary bishop Boniface had come from England and he worked in close association with the successor of Saint Peter. We honour him as the “Apostle of Germany”; he died as a martyr. Two of his companions, who also bore witness by shedding their blood for the Christian faith, are buried here in the Cathedral of Erfurt: Saints Eoban and Adelar.
Even before the Anglo-Saxon missionaries, Saint Kilian, an itinerant missionary from Ireland, was at work in Thuringia. Together with two companions he died in Würzburg as a martyr, because he criticized the moral misconduct of the Duke of Thuringia whose seat was in that place. Nor must we forget Saint Severus, the patron saint of the Severus Church here on the Cathedral Square: he was Bishop of Ravenna in the fourth century and his remains were brought to Erfurt in 836, in order to anchor the Christian faith more firmly in this region.
What do these saints have in common? How can we describe the particular qualities of their lives and make them fruitful for ourselves? The saints show us that it is truly possible and good to live our relationship with God in a radical way, to put him in first place, not as one concern among others. The saints help us to see that God first reached out to us, he revealed and continues to reveal himself to us in Jesus Christ. Christ comes towards us, he speaks to every individual with an invitation to follow him. This was an opportunity that the saints acted on, they as it were reached out to him from deep within themselves in the ongoing dialogue of prayer, and in return they received from him the light that shows where true life is to be found.
Faith always includes as an essential element the fact that it is shared with others. In the first place I have God to thank for the fact that I can believe, for God approaches me and so to speak “ignites” my faith. But on a practical level, I also have to thank my fellow human beings for my faith, those who believed before me and who believe with me. This “with”, without which there can be no personal faith, is the Church. And this Church does not stop at national borders, as we can see from the nationalities of the saints I mentioned earlier: Hungary, England, Ireland and Italy. Here we see the importance of spiritual exchange, which encompasses the entire universal Church. If we open ourselves up to the whole of the faith in all of history and the testimony given to it in the whole Church, then the Catholic faith also has a future as a public force in Germany. At the same time the saints that I mentioned show us the great fruitfulness of a holy life, of this radical love for God and neighbour. Saints, even if there are only a few of them, change the world.
Thus the political changes that swept through your country in 1989 were motivated not just by the demand for prosperity and freedom of movement, but also decisively by the longing for truthfulness. This longing was kept awake partly through people completely dedicated to serving God and neighbour and ready to sacrifice their lives. They and the saints I mentioned before give us courage to make good use of this new situation. We have no wish to hide in a purely private faith, but we want to shape this hard-won freedom responsibly. Like Saints Kilian, Boniface, Adelar, Eoban and Elizabeth of Thuringia, we want to engage with our fellow citizens as Christians and to invite them to discover with us the fullness of the Good News. Then we will resemble the famous bell of the Cathedral of Erfurt, which bears the name “Gloriosa”, the “glorious”. It is thought to be the largest free-swinging medieval bell in the world. It is a living sign of our deep rootedness in the Christian tradition, but also a summons to set out upon the mission. It will ring out once more at the end of today’s solemn Mass. May it inspire us, after the example of the saints, to ensure that witness to Christ is both seen and heard in the world in which we live. Amen.
Full Text: Statement of the Press Office of the Holy See
[Friday] evening, in the seminary at Erfurt, Pope Benedict XVI met with a group of victims of sexual abuse committed by priests and church personnel. Subsequently he greeted some people who care for those
Moved and deeply shaken by the sufferings of the victims, the Holy Father expressed his deep compassion and regret over all that was done to them and their families. He assured the people present that those in positions of responsibility in the Church are seriously concerned to deal with all crimes of abuse and are committed to the promotion of effective measures for the protection of children and young people. Pope Benedict XVI is close to the victims and he expresses the hope that the merciful God, Creator and Redeemer of all mankind, may heal the wounds of the victims and grant them inner peace.
From the Vatican, 23 September 2011
MAGDALEN COLLEGE WEBSITE: The College of Saint Mary Magdalen is a residential Catholic liberal arts college located in Warner, New Hampshire. Founded in 1973, the College seeks—through the rigorous study and discussion ofprimary texts and through its vibrantly Catholic student life—to call our students to the life-long pursuit of intellectual and moral virtue, following Christ who is the source of all virtue.
Within the pages of our website, you will find detailed descriptions of our courses and the readings that form the heart of our Program of Studies. In these pages you will find an integration of the very best of the “Great Books” tradition—its devotion to the reading and discussion of primary texts—with the strengths of Catholic humanistic studies.
The education we offer at the College is not for the faint of heart: the journey to freedom—intellectual and spiritual freedom—is arduous. But no one at the College undertakes this journey alone. The students, the faculty, and the larger community of the College support one another within and outside the classroom as we seek to become fully human and fully free, thriving in the light of Truth.
At the College of Saint Mary Magdalen, the liberal education we offer is more than a communication of factual data—what Pope Benedict XVI calls a merely “informative” encounter with truth. The Catholic liberal arts education we offer seeks, rather, to be also “performative,” opening a path toward an encounter with Truth itself and leading to a fundamental transformation of our lives.
We hope you will consider what we offer and join us on the journey.
The College of Saint Mary Magdalen has been accredited nationally by the American Academy for Liberal Education, located at 1050 17th St. NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036. The Academy‘s telephone number is (202) 452-8611.
The College is currently preparing to meet the requirements of affiliation in order to become a candidate for regional accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Degree Granting Authority
The College of Saint Mary Magdalen is empowered by the New Hampshire State Legislature to award the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Associate of Arts degree. The New Hampshire Post-secondary Education Commission is located at 3 Barrell Court, Suite 300, Concord, NH, 03301. The Commission's telephone number is (603) 271-2555.
Warner, NH 03278
877-498-1723 toll free
A 32 year old woman and mother of five children was abducted and raped in turn by three men. Threats to the husband to force him to withdraw his complaint. Police officers covering the crime, drawing up a report full of holes. Priest in Lahore: Christian violence against women is widespread and scandalous.
Lahore (AsiaNews) – The rape of Christian women in Punjab has become a "common practice" an "outrageous" phenomenon compounded by the fact that "the police protect the guilty" and not the victims. This is the bitter synopsis of Fr Jill John, of the Diocese of Lahore on the last recorded case of sexual violence against a Christian mother. The family calls for justice, but is struggling against a society in which the defenders of the law support the rapists. Even human rights groups like Masihi Life for All Foundation have intervened on the matter, asking government authorities to target the perpetrators of crimes and punish the corrupt and conniving police officers.
The incident dates back to Sept. 15, but the news filtered through only in recent days. Arifa Mushtaq (name changed for security reasons - ed) 32, mother of five was abducted and raped by three Muslims . Her husband Muashtaq Masih a worker at the Kasur sanitation department, in a devastated condition said, "Arifa use to work in a garment factory, on the y evening of 15 September she was coming home from work, she got off the bus, two local Muslims grabbed her from the back. Another armed accomplice came and put a gun on her head".
The woman began to scream, then asked the trio to leave her free to think their children who were waiting at home. Instead, the men took Arifa by force to a house and, one by one, they raped her. The family is in shock and even their attempt to report the rape has added insult to injury: the Muslims have threatened her husband, warning him to withdraw the lawsuit. Otherwise, his children will have to go through what his wife has gone through. The police has also protected the perpetrators, putting pressure on Muashtaq Masih.
Fr. Jill John confirms that "the police helps the guilty, with omissions and gaps in the compilation of complaints to favor their freedom." The family of the raped woman, added the priest, are now living in fear while criminals are free to roam the streets of the town. "How much longer - he asks – will we see the children of God suffer? And when will Mushtaq Masih's family get justice? ". He appealed to the police chief of Punjab and the Minister of Justice to target the corrupt police officers and protect the family.
Sydney Archdiocese REPORT:
23 Sep 2011
A school teacher, who desperately wants to be a singer, stunned the X-Factor television audience - and the judges - with her beautiful rendition of the hit song "Because of You" but it was more her pro-life testimony which caused the hush over the studio.
Pamela Cook told how she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year while being 16-weeks pregnant.
"The doctors encouraged me to terminate the pregnancy while I had some pretty heavy chemotherapy," Pamela said
"But that simply wasn't an option for me."
Pamela had the treatment and her baby which was delivered nine weeks early.
Now both mum and baby are doing well and Pamela has decided life is about doing what you really want to do and achieving those goals.
For her that means singing - and hopefully going as far as she can on X-Factor.
When Pamela sang the Kelly Clarkson song the audience and judges, including Guy Sebastian, were mesmerised.
That is until Pamela stopped and the studio erupted in applause.
Have a look at the story here
Feast: September 24
1 March 1653 at San Severino
24 September 1721 at San Severino
26 May 1839 by Pope Gregory IX
Born at San Severino, in the March of Ancona, 1 March, 1653; died there 24 September, 1721; the son of Antonio M. Divini and Mariangela Bruni. His parents died soon after his confirmation when three years old; he suffered many hardships until in December, 1670, he took the Franciscan habit in the Order of the Reformati, at Forano, in the March of Ancona, and was ordained on 4 June, 1678, subsequently becoming Lector or Professor of Philosophy (1680-83) for the younger members of the order, after which, for five or six years, he laboured as a missionary among the people of the surrounding country. He then suffered lameness, deafness, and blindness for nearly twenty-nine years. Unable to givemissions, he cultivated more the contemplative life. He bore his ills with angelic patience, worked several miracles, and was favoured by God with ecstasies. Though a constant sufferer, he held the post of guardian in the monastery of Maria delle Grazie in San Severino (1692-3), where he died. His cause for beatification was begun in 1740; he was beatified by Pius VI, 4 August, 1786, and solemnly canonized by Gregory XVI, 26 May, 1839. His feast is celebrated on 24 September. SOURCEhttp://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/stpacificofsanseverino.asp
|Luke 9: 43 - 45|
|43||And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he did, he said to his disciples,|
|44||"Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men."|
|45||But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.|