Holy Father’s Christmas address to Roman Curia

The text of the Pope’s annual address to members of the Curia is out, in Italian. I won’t do a translation, but I can let you know what is going on for the most part.

The Pope looks at the year through the lens of his travels, assigning to each a kind of "theme" (Italian tema). He starts with a general "theme" correlating the theme of "God" with "peace" taking as a starting point the angels greeting to the shepherds in Luke 2:14. "This correlation of the theme "God" with the theme "peace" was the determinative dimension of the four Apostolic Journeys this year: I would like to bring these back to mind at this time."

For his pastoral visit to Poland, he recalled the person of John Paul II and his self-giving for the Church through Mary. He addressed human weakness and examined the Apostle Peter, observing that the Petrine ministry is a unifying force of the faith and a visible sign of unity. He mentioned also the trip to Auschwitz and the appearance of a rainbow, sign of God’s fidelity to us.

For his trip to Valencia, Spain, the theme is "matrimony and family". He had very strong words about couples cohabiting without marriage and about same-sex unions and changes to law. Calling to mind the numerous families with children who turned out for the visit, he mentioned how Europe which seems not to want children seems to be "tired". The Pope goes into the reasons why people don’t seem to want children. He then goes after the problem of laws about couples who are not married especially focusing on the "relativization of the sexes". About same-sex couples:

"With this there is a tacit confirmation of those pernicious theories that eliminate all relevance of masculinity or femininity from the human person, as if one were dealing with a purely biological fact; theories according to which man – namely his intellect and will – would decide autonomously what he was or was not. There is in this a devaluation of corporeality from which it follows that man, wanting to emancipate himself from his body – from the ‘biological sphere’ – ends up destroying himself. If one says that the Church ought not insert herself into these matters, we can only respond: Perhaps man doesn’t interest us? Believers, in virtue of the great culture of their faith, maybe do not have the right to state a point of view in all this? Isn’t it, rather, their – our – duty to raise our voice to defend man, that creature who, precisely in our inseparable unity of body and soul, is the image of God? The trip to Valencia became for me a journey in search of what it means to be a human being.

For his trip to Bavaria, the Pope explores the theme of God precisely as "Kingdom of God" and God as the subject of that Kingdom, that is, that God reigns. Connected to this he explores the themes of priesthood and of dialogue. About the priesthood he returns to the Old Testament point that the Levites did not inherit land as their heredity in the promised land. Theirs was the lot of serving God and therefore living from the offerings of the people. He quotes 1 Tim 6:11 that the priest is the "man of God" and also Ps 16 (15):5 that God is "my part", "my inheritance". This theocentric view of priesthood avoids reducing the priest to a functionary. From their he talks about the value of celibacy, again citing Ps 16.

The Pope closely connected the theme of dialogue which he associated with his Bavarian trip and to the visit to Turkey.  About dialogue he returns to what he said in his now famous and pivotal Regensburg Address, bringing back to the fore that over arching theme of faith and reason. He critiques, again, "secularized" reason as not capable of entering into dialogue with religion. He repeats his "respect" for Islam as well as that it is necessary for Islamists to learn what they can from the good things gained from the Enlightenment, as the Church has tried to do.

He also speaks of the visit with Bartholomew, from who he says he received a letter "a few days ago" ("giorni fa"). 

Finally he wraps everything together with a return to the angels greeting to the shepherds in Luke as well as John 14:27: "I leave you peace, my peace I give you", the source of the liturgical formula "Peace be with you".  This he connects to the need to open our hearts to God (Greek eudokia). 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Boko Fittleworth says:

    I wish he would build upon last year’s address to the Roman Curia. Has he? He delineated THE project for the Church in our time. So let’s get to it!

    Incidentally, Bp. Fellay’s statement, supra (inasmuch as what appears lower on a blog page actually was posted first, can be read (if read with charity and taking in mind Bp. Fellay’s perceived need both to rally the troops and to not lose anyone, and keeping in mind the mission of the Society of the Good Shepherd) as a commitment to this great project outlined by BXVI last year.

  2. Boko: \”Fellay’s perceived need both to rally the troops and to not lose anyone,\”

    Yah… that is sort of my read too. I suspect that his statement wasn\’t quite as tendentious as it might sound out of its context.

    However, that discussion really belongs over in that other entry, and not in this one.

  3. Lucy says:

    Is the glory of the old times returning??
    The Throne wich the Holy Father was using is gorgeous! (http://www.fotografiafelici.com/index.php?page=scripts/inserimento&num_file=18&cerimonia=6356%20Auguri%20della%20Curia&data=2006-12-22%2021:10:25&cod=916&language=ING&n_page=1#foto)

    Very interesting the adress!

  4. techno_aesthete says:

    Lucy, thank you for that Web site address. What wonderful photos they have!

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