Holy Father in spontaneous sermon to Pont. Biblical Commission – great stuff

The Holy Father gave a spontaneous sermon to members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission today during a Mass (ad orientem in the Pauline Chapel) for their meeting.

I wish he would do this more often.
Audio here (from sometime poster here Chris Altieri):

From the site of Vatican Radio with my emphases and comments:

15/04/2010 16.14.41

Pope Benedict XVI Reflects on True Freedom, Grace of Penance in Pauline Chapel Homily to Biblical Commission

(15 Apr 10 – RV) At 7:30 Thursday morning Rome Time in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass with the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. He delivered a homily in which he spoke of true freedom as rooted in knowledge of and loving obedience to God, as well as the grace of true penitence, the need for pardon, renewal and transformation. We have this report…

The Members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission are holding their Plenary Assembly this week at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The meeting opened Monday, and the 5 days of reflection are focusing on the theme of “Inspiration and Truth in the Bible.”

At Mass with the members Thursday morning, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a homily on the relationship of truth and freedom in the context of God’s relationship to human being and human society. [Perhaps more members of the press corps should have been invited.]

Speaking without a prepared text, [He is really good when speaking off the cuff.] the Holy Father said that in modern times we have seen theorized an idea of man according to which human being would be, “free, autonomous, and nothing else.”  [Which in the 20th century lead to some terrifying results.  How much blacker will our own times be?]

This supposed freedom from everything, including freedom from the duty of obedience to God, “Is a lie,” said Pope Benedict, a falsehood regarding the basic structure of human being – about the way women and men are made to be, “because,” he continued, “human being does not exist on its own, nor does it exist for itself.”  [Concise.  Clear.  We need to consider the difference between "freedom from" and "freedom to".  In his "inaugural" sermon in April 2005, the Holy Father spoke to young people encouraging them when you say yes to God you are not giving up something of yourself.  You are gaining truer freedom.]

The Pope said it is a political and practical falsehood, as well, because cooperation and sharing of freedoms is a necessary part of social life [Which needs a) recognition of who man truly is and b) a recognition that your neighbor is truly human, with dignity.] – and if God does not exist – if He is not a point of reference really accessible to human being, then only prevailing opinion remains and it becomes the final arbiter of all things. [A good basis for why we also must not have ephemeral worship.]

Citing the Nazi and Communist regimes of the 20th century as examples, Pope Benedict said such dictatorships can never accept the notion of a God who is above ideological power ["But... Holy Father! Holy Father!", some of you will exclaim.  "Isn't that what is going on now? Even after the fall of Nazism and the Soviet? Are you trying to warn us about something you see happening?" ] – and he also stressed that in the present, there are subtle forms of dictatorship like that of a radical conformism, which can lead to subtle and not-so subtle aggression toward the Church[To wit: the war of the MSM on the Church going on right now.  Conformism to... what... the dictatorship of relativism?]

The Holy Father also stressed that for Christians, true obedience to God depends on our truly knowing Him, and he warned against the danger of using “obedience to God” as a pretext for following our own desires. [Good one.]

“We have,” he said, “a certain fear of speaking about eternal life.”  [Reflecting on the Four Last Things can clarify your values pretty quickly.  I often wonder if priest and bishops who harmed children thought about the Last Things... ever.]

“We talk of things that are useful to the world,” continued Pope Benedict, “we show that Christianity can help make the world a better place, [the Church as reduced to instrument of social change] but we do not dare say that the end of the world and the goal of Christianity is eternal life – and that the criteria of life in this world come from the goal – this we dare not say.”  [I do.  I sure did in a recent parish mission I gave in NY toward the end of Lent. Some people were a little flustered, I understand!]

We must rather have the courage, the joy, the great hope that there is eternal life, that eternal life is real life and that from this real life comes the light that illuminates this world as well. [Joy is a sign of the Holy Spirit at work.]

The Pope noted that, when we look at things this way, penitence is a grace – even though of late we have sought to avoid this word, too[But I bet we are going to hear it more and more.]

Now, under the attacks of the world, which speak to us of our sins, [I think we know what that is about...] we see that to be able to do penance is a grace – and we see how necessary it is to do penance, that is, to recognize what is wrong in our lives: to recognize one’s sin, to open oneself to forgiveness, to prepare for pardon, to allow oneself to be transformed.  [Remember: This is to members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission who are thinking about "Inspiration and Truth in the Bible".  The Holy Father has some things on his mind.]

The pain of penance, the pain of purification and transformation – this pain is grace, because it is renewal – it is the work of the Divine Mercy.

Pope Benedict concluded his homily with a prayer that our lives might become true life, eternal life, love and truth[But apparently only though the path of pain and penance.  So true.]

The Plenary Meeting of the Pontifical Biblical Commission is underway through the end of the week.

 

In the audio recording the Holy Father’s voice sounds a bit rough.

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19 Responses to Holy Father in spontaneous sermon to Pont. Biblical Commission – great stuff

  1. Ralph says:

    How can you not love this man?? What a mind! A beautiful soul.

    May God grant that he live long enough for our Church to fully appreciate him in his lifetime.

  2. Frank H says:

    Perhaps his ragged voice is the result of the chewing out I hope he has been giving some of his subordinates!

  3. Long Live Pope Benedict XVI

  4. jbalza007 says:

    On NLM, they mention that the Holy Father celebrated Mass ad orientem!

    http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2010/04/holy-father-celebrates-mass-with.html

  5. ljc says:

    I’d be timid about speaking off the cuff too if everything I said was immediately published around the world in multiple languages.

  6. deborah-anne says:

    So uplifting! Just what I needed. We must stayed focused on the path to eternal life. May God bless and keep well Pope Benedict.

  7. TJerome says:

    Great address. The problem is the mainstream media is intellectually deficient on so many subjects: history, religion, philosophy, economics, politics, that they will never understand what he is saying. It’s like a human speaking to a dog, and I apologize to dogs!

  8. thomas tucker says:

    What critics will say is that it’s just wrods, words, words.
    And as bad as the abusers were, it was the cover-up and
    shuffling of abusers by bishops that made things even worse.
    I have to admit that the Holy Father would show he really means
    what he says about penance if he required many bishops and even a certain
    Cardinal to do public penance in sackcloth and ashes, or at least give up
    their offices and priveleges.

  9. catholicmidwest says:

    His voice sounds rough. I hope he’s all right and if he has a cold he feels better soon.

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    You know, if you just read the narrative given of what he said, it’s beautiful.

  11. joan ellen says:

    Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI. He teaches and directs us so very well.

  12. Jaidon says:

    I confess Father, I may be part of the Pope Benedict XVI cult of personality discussed earlier this week with regard to Johannes Paulus Magnus as mentioned by the NY Times columnist.

  13. Re: the speech –

    Gorgeous. And really, the Holy Father does speak off the cuff rather often, even if only a sentence or two inserted into a homily. But it’s always so insightful that I always wish for even more. It’s as if, in confronting the audience with his prepared text, his mind suddenly overflows with inspiration at certain points. It’s very professorial, but it’s pastoral too.

    Re: the poor man’s throat —

    St. Blaise, pray for us! The Pope’s soft-spoken in a breathy way, which can lead to Bad Vocal Things if you talk very much at a time. It makes me worry about him getting nodes on his vocal folds. He also lives right next to a damp ol’ river in a windy place. So I hope he’s staying warm, drinking lots of fluids, and resting his voice when he can.

  14. It’s probably just allergies right now, though. Those big dark shadows under his eyes are a telltale sign that he gets them bad, and I’m sure there’s plenty of pollen in Rome. Especially if you live next door to the Vatican gardens.

  15. Mitchell NY says:

    Couldn’t they just start mandating as orientem in the major Cathedrals and then let it spread from there. This is not universal imposition, but it does take another step past the example, putting it into practice in some places. This seems a good way to start. Someone in a local parish may then mimic the Cathedral, and so on and so on, until it once again becomes widespread. ANd the clamour should be low as it will not affect the majority of the people all at once. It has to be done sooner or later, any other suggestions? The Holy Father has spoken well, for it bring spontaneous.

  16. Andrew says:

    “We talk of things that are useful to the world,” continued Pope Benedict, “we show that Christianity can help make the world a better place, but we do not dare say that the end of the world and the goal of Christianity is eternal life – and that the criteria of life in this world come from the goal – this we dare not say.”

    How often I’ve heard things like: “so and so has died, and we’re going to have a party ‘cause that’s what he would have wanted us to do” or “so and so is dead but at least he did not suffer in the end” or “I want to die in my sleep so I don’t have to suffer” or “you can’t tell so and so that living with his girlfriend is a mortal sin: it would hurt their feelings terribly”.

    How often I’ve seen people lying in a hospital bed, semi-dead, with multiple heart-attacks, with a loud TV set on the wall, with friends and relatives (christians mind you) telling them not to worry: “you’ll be fine, you’re going home pretty soon”. They look death in the face and they’re still thinking of “things useful to this world” and the best thing they can come up with, when someone is gone: “at least they didn’t suffer”. How am I a Christian, a follower of Christ if my goal is not to suffer?

  17. Vetdoctor says:

    Now, under the attacks of the world, which speak to us of our sins, [I think we know what that is about] we see that to be able to do penance is a grace and we see how necessary it is to do penance, that is, to recognize what is wrong in our lives: to recognize ones sin, to open oneself to forgiveness, to prepare for pardon, to allow oneself to be transformed. 

    NPR highlighted the first part of this quote to fire a salvo at the Pope and church. they filed a long interview with a psycologist who “has treated more than 300 priests” [implying they are all pedarists]. they tried to build a case-again- that the Church systematicly protected these men and thus the Pope as participant.

    i’m posting from my phone or i’d go look gor the interview.

    Nothing the Pope says is safe from those with an agenda.

  18. catholicmidwest says:

    Andrew,

    My goal is not to suffer qua suffer. Suffering like an animal is what the heathens do.

    My goal is to live in accordance with Scripture and tradition in the Church. If that goal requires suffering to avoid default, then I must suffer. To live in lies would be worse–for then, my only recourse would be to suffer like an animal, as the heathens do.