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Monday, September 11, 2006

'Clearly and Uncompromisingly' Pope Benedict

Image and video hosting by TinyPicFrom Zenit News Agency

MUNICH, Germany, SEPT. 10, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Western societies suffer from a "hardness of hearing" of all things that have to do with God, thus impeding a correct perception of reality, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today when celebrating Mass on Munich's fairgrounds, attended by some 250,000 people, the first Mass of his fourth international trip.

Addressing his fellow countrymen of Bavaria, the Holy Father said: "There is not only a physical deafness ... there is also a 'hardness of hearing' where God is concerned, and this is something from which we particularly suffer in our own time.

"Put simply, we are no longer able to hear God -- there are too many different frequencies filling our ears."

"What is said about God strikes us as pre-scientific, no longer suited to our age," the Pontiff added. He spoke at the open-air Mass in the presence of what is said to be the oldest crucifix in the world, dating back to the 11th century, testimony of the ancient Christian roots of Bavaria.

Benedict XVI said that when he meets bishops of Africa and the Baltic countries, they mention the enormous help that the Church in Germany gives to the rest of the world.

However, the Pope added, every now and then "an African bishop will say: 'If I come to Germany and present social projects, suddenly every door opens. But if I come with a plan for evangelization, I meet with reservations.'"

"Clearly some people have the idea that social projects should be urgently undertaken, while anything dealing with God or even the Catholic faith is of limited and lesser importance," the Holy Father said.

Faith and action

The Bishop of Rome continued: "Yet the experience of those bishops is that evangelization itself should be foremost, that the God of Jesus Christ must be known, believed in and loved, and that hearts must be converted if progress is to be made on social issues and reconciliation is to begin, and if -- for example -- AIDS is to be combated by realistically facing its deeper causes and the sick are to be given the loving care they need.

"Social issues and the Gospel are inseparable."

The Pontiff added: "The people of Africa and Asia admire our scientific and technical prowess but at the same time they are frightened by a form of rationality which totally excludes God from man's vision, as if this were the highest form of reason, and one to be imposed on their cultures too.

"They do not see the real threat to their identity in the Christian faith, but in the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom and that holds up utility as the supreme moral criterion for the future of scientific research."

Benedict XVI continued: "This cynicism is not the kind of tolerance and cultural openness that the world's peoples are looking for and that all of us want.

"The tolerance which we urgently need includes the fear of God -- respect for what others hold sacred demands that we ourselves learn once more the fear of God."

"We impose this faith upon no one," the Pope observed. "Such proselytism is contrary to Christianity. Faith can develop only in freedom. But we do appeal to the freedom of men and women to be open to God, to seek him, to hear his voice."

Be opened

"The world needs God. We need God, but what God?" the Pontiff asked. "The definitive explanation is to be found in the one who died on the Cross: in Jesus, the Son of God incarnate ... love to the end.

"This is the God we need. We do not fail to show respect for other religions and cultures, profound respect for their faith, when we proclaim clearly and uncompromisingly the God who encounters violence with his own suffering; who in the face of the power of evil exalts his mercy, in order that evil may be limited and overcome."

On his pilgrimage, the Holy Father will visit some of the key places of his life, including Munich, the city of which he was archbishop from 1977 to 1982, and Marktl am Inn, his birthplace.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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