Benedict XVI at Hyde Park

Hyde ParkBenedict XVI used Hyde Park for his soap box tonight, and gave this address.

It will not be a surprise to find a stress on the heart on the evening before the Beatification of John Henry Newman.

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This is an evening of joy, of immense spiritual joy, for all of us. We are gathered here in prayerful vigil to prepare for tomorrow’s Mass, during which a great son of this nation, Cardinal John Henry Newman, will be declared Blessed. How many people, in England and throughout the world, have longed for this moment! It is also a great joy for me, personally, to share this experience with you. As you know, Newman has long been an important influence in my own life and thought, as he has been for so many people beyond these isles. The drama of Newman’s life invites us to examine our lives, to see them against the vast horizon of God’s plan, and to grow in communion with the Church of every time and place: the Church of the apostles, the Church of the martyrs, the Church of the saints, the Church which Newman loved and to whose mission he devoted his entire life.

I thank Archbishop Peter Smith for his kind words of welcome in your name, and I am especially pleased to see the many young people who are present for this vigil. This evening, in the context of our common prayer, I would like to reflect with you about a few aspects of Newman’s life which I consider very relevant to our lives as believers and to the life of the Church today.

Hyde ParkLet me begin by recalling that Newman, by his own account, traced the course of his whole life back to a powerful experience of conversion which he had as a young man. It was an immediate experience of the truth of God’s word, of the objective reality of Christian revelation as handed down in the Church. This experience, at once religious and intellectual, would inspire his vocation to be a minister of the Gospel, his discernment of the source of authoritative teaching in the Church of God, and his zeal for the renewal of ecclesial life in fidelity to the apostolic tradition. At the end of his life, Newman would describe his life’s work as a struggle against the growing tendency to view religion as a purely private and subjective matter, a question of personal opinion. [We return to a major theme of this Pope’s pontificate and this Visit.  There are many people who would forcibly eject any Christian voice from the public sphere.  This is especially true in the case of a Catholic voice.  Even many Catholics who are not entirely faithful to the Church’s teachings are complicit in this.] Here is the first lesson we can learn from his life: [1] in our day, when an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to sap the very foundations of our society, Newman reminds us that, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfilment of our deepest human aspirations. In a word, we are meant to know Christ, who is himself "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6).  [The British Humanist Association needs to get this part straight.]

Hyde ParkNewman’s life also [2] teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly. [Bearing witness – martyrdom] The truth that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, [Martyrdom.] it begs to be heard, and in the end its convincing power comes from itself and not from the human eloquence or arguments in which it may be couched. Not far from here, at Tyburn, great numbers of our brothers and sisters died for the faith; the witness of their fidelity to the end was ever more powerful than the inspired words that so many of them spoke before surrendering everything to the Lord. [NB] In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society.

Finally, Newman teaches us that [3] if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. [There it is again.] Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom. Newman understood this, and was the great champion of the prophetic office of the Christian laity. He saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. [In true conversion there is also the dynamic interplay of the affective and the intellective.] Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness; those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognize what is false and, precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, veritatis splendor. [And in liturgy.]

Tonight’s first reading is the magnificent prayer in which Saint Paul asks that we be granted to know "the love of Christ which surpasses all understanding" (Eph 3:14-21). The Apostle prays that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith (cf. Eph 3:17) and that we may come to "grasp, with all the saints, the breadth and the length, the height and the depth" of that love. Through faith we come to see God’s word as a lamp for our steps and light for our path (cf. Ps 119:105). Newman, like the countless saints who preceded him along the path of Christian discipleship, taught that the "kindly light" of faith leads us to realize the truth about ourselves, our dignity as God’s children, and the sublime destiny which awaits us in heaven. By letting the light of faith shine in our hearts, and by abiding in that light through our daily union with the Lord in prayer and participation in the life-giving sacraments of the Church, we ourselves become light to those around us; we exercise our "prophetic office"; often, without even knowing it, we draw people one step closer to the Lord and his truth. Without the life of prayer, without the interior transformation which takes place through the grace of the sacraments, we cannot, in Newman’s words, "radiate Christ"; we become just another "clashing cymbal" (1 Cor 13:1) in a world filled with growing noise and confusion, filled with false paths leading only to heartbreak and illusion.

Hyde ParkOne of the Cardinal’s best-loved meditations includes the words, "God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another" (Meditations on Christian Doctrine). Here we see Newman’s fine Christian realism, the point at which faith and life inevitably intersect. Faith is meant to bear fruit in the transformation of our world through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives and activity of believers. [Here is some realism for you:…] No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society. We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in his providence and we pray for his continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person. As our Lord tells us in the Gospel we have just heard, our light must shine in the sight of all, so that, seeing our good works, they may give praise to our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:16).

Hyde ParkHere I wish to say a special word to the many young people present. Dear young friends: only Jesus knows what "definite service" he has in mind for you. Be open to his voice resounding in the depths of your heart: even now his heart is speaking to your heart. Christ has need of families to remind the world of the dignity of human love and the beauty of family life. He needs men and women who devote their lives to the noble task of education, tending the young and forming them in the ways of the Gospel. He needs those who will consecrate their lives to the pursuit of perfect charity, following him in chastity, poverty and obedience, and serving him in the least of our brothers and sisters. He needs the powerful love of contemplative religious, who sustain the Church’s witness and activity through their constant prayer. And he needs priests, good and holy priests, men who are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep. Ask our Lord what he has in mind for you! Ask him for the generosity to say "yes!" Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfill your vocation. Let me finish these few words by warmly inviting you to join me next year in Madrid for World Youth Day. It is always a wonderful occasion to grow in love for Christ and to be encouraged in a joyful life of faith along with thousands of other young people. I hope to see many of you there!

And now, dear friends, let us continue our vigil of prayer by preparing to encounter Christ, present among us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Together, in the silence of our common adoration, let us open our minds and hearts to his presence, his love, and the convincing power of his truth. In a special way, let us thank him for the enduring witness to that truth offered by Cardinal John Henry Newman. Trusting in his prayers, let us ask the Lord to illumine our path, and the path of all British society, with the kindly light of his truth, his love and his peace. Amen.

There were some new invocations interpolated into the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

Don’t know about that… but okay.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Pope of Christian Unity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Geoffrey says:

    Very beautiful. My favourite parts…

    “…each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person.”

    “Jesus… will give you the grace you need to fulfill your vocation.”

  2. TNCath says:

    Overall, very well done. What was up with the young girls as servers in cassocks and surplices? Were there no seminarians available? Hmmmm.

  3. Huxtaby says:

    Yes Father, the Litany was ‘mauled to death’. I’m afraid that’s the Bishop’s of E&W trying to make the Litany of the Most Sacred Heart acceptable to today’s audience (most of whom sadly will never of heard it before).

    This section was unfortunately missed out

    Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts.
    Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
    Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.
    Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased.
    Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received.
    Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.

    I don’t know why they have to keep doing these things but it’s quite maddening.

  4. John UK says:

    Joshua at
    commented thus on the Litany:
    “Herewith, the changes:

    1. After “Heart of Jesus, well-spring of all virtue” (in the Latin original, Cor Jesu, virtutum omnium abyssus), the next seven invocations are left out – so no “most worthy of all praise… king and centre of all hearts… in which are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge… in which dwelleth all the fulness of the divinity… in which the Father is well pleased… of whose fulness we have all received… desire of the eternal hills”;

    2. After “Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness” (Cor Jesu, fons vitæ et sanctitatis), nine new invocations are inserted:
    Heart of Jesus, source of healing,
    Heart of Jesus, sharer in our sorrow,
    Heart of Jesus, safe-guarder of the vulnerable,
    Heart of Jesus, friend of the betrayed,
    Heart of Jesus, companion of the ignored,
    Heart of Jesus, face of the misjudged,
    Heart of Jesus, wounded by our failings,
    Heart of Jesus, bearer of our sufferings,
    Heart of Jesus, acquainted with grief,
    (then the expected invocation, “Heart of Jesus, atonement for our sins”, in Latin, Cor Jesu, propitiatio pro peccatis nostris, and so through to the end).

    These inserted phrases sound to me awfully like allusions to the sufferings of those members of Christ subjected to clerical sexual abuse, and therefore as implicit supplications to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord to grant healing to those poor victims so shamefully and evilly mistreated, then rejected and ignored for too long . . ”

    Thank you Father, for your own continued insights into the Holy Father’s addresses.
    Wonderful to behold was it not, the hearty enthusiasm with which (in all the papal services so far) young and old joined –
    in music which was, almost entirely, traditional in words and melody;
    in Latin texts and hymns –
    how ineffable is that!

    One appreciates so much more what the Holy Father meant when he talks of the two forms of the Holy Mass enriching each other.
    John U.K.

  5. irishgirl says:

    I didn’t hear this invocation either:

    “Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother’

    I wonder why? Was it an oversight? Or was it due to its ‘pro-life’ connotation?

    I’ve also wondered about the ‘adding of new invocatons’ that John UK mentioned.

    Other than this, it was a beautiful vigil. I sang ‘sotto voce’ here in the library ‘Lead, Kindly Light’-that’s a lovely tune for the setting of the words.

    I was so happy to see ‘The Priests’ (the singing priests from Northern Ireland) and their rendition of the ‘O Salutaris’-very cool to hear them! And that young boy from Manchester who sang the ‘Nunc Dimittis’-I remember seeing him on YouTube from the show ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. The voices of young English boys are wonderful to hear!

    And of course, Father Z, your insights on what the Holy Father has been saying on this trip are very incisive and precise-thank you for all you do!

  6. stjoeky says:

    Just wonderful! I have been trying to share some quotes from this on Facebook but there are just so MANY it’s hard to choose! Even my protestant friends are clicking ‘like’ and commenting. This is such an inspirational message. Love, love, love our Holy Father and thank you, Fr. Z, for your wonderful insight!

  7. John UK says:

    The invocation “Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother” was printed in the service – downloadable from

    The papal Missal is downloadable from
    and videos from

    Hope that helps
    John U.K.

  8. TJerome says:

    We’ll know if the Holy Father’s trip is really successful in terms of advancing Catholicism if the Tablet aka Bitter Pill is miserable.

  9. trespinos says:

    The three lessons he draws from Newman’s life: what a powerful message for us all.

  10. jmvbxx says:

    It’s nice to be reminded of the responsibility we have as Catholics and the humility with which we must accept our ‘definite service’.

    I try very hard to say “Yes!” to God. It is a daily “Yes!” that I constantly renew through observance and prayer.

  11. Jonis Journey says:

    During Adoration: So quiet a moment…could not even hear a breeze in the air! Such great love and adoration does his heart give to God! God Bless him and guide him as he cherishes each and every human being that all ALL GODS CHILDREN. Hearts and minds will open to his love and surrender.

  12. thereseb says:

    I have just returned. Irishgirl – you are right – the phrase you quote was replaced by another – I don’t know why.The silence was awesome. Sad, though that so many remained during the silence standing and sitting- even through the Tantum Ergo, when the penny might have dropped. Still, in conversation with other pilgrims on the way home (including two lovely missionary sisters on the train, it was generally agreed that Benediction is now an unfamiliar ceremony, and there were no written or verbal instructions to kneel. Afterwards, pilgrims were thanking the police – who were replying that they themselves had enjoyed the two days – obviously the crowds, though staggering, were perfectly behaved. I saw no protesters, but of course that’s the only thing that the BBC chose to lead on – a group of (self counted) 20000 apparently (fewer probably than the Catholics who have lined the pavements outside), who were funneled off to have a hissy fit in Whitehall.

  13. Here is the Litany in its entirety:

    Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy
    Christ, have mercy, Christ, have mercy
    Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy
    God our Father in heaven, have mercy on us
    God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us
    God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us
    Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, Son of the eternal Father, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, source of healing, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, sharer in our sorrow, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, safe-guarder of the vulnerable, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, friend of the betrayed, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, companion of the ignored, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, face of the misjudged, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, wounded by our failings, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, bearer of our sufferings, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, acquainted with grief, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, atonement for our sins, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with insults, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, broken for our sins, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, obedient even to death, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, pierced by a lance, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, salvation of all who trust in you, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, hope of all who die in you, have mercy on us
    Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints, have mercy on us
    Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us
    Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us
    Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us

    The Holy Father:
    Jesus, gentle and humble of heart.

    R. Touch our hearts and make them like your own.

    The Holy Father:
    Let us pray.
    Father, we rejoice in the gifts of love
    we have received from the heart
    of Jesus your Son.
    Open our hearts to share his life
    and continue to bless us with his love.
    We ask this through the same Christ
    our Lord.
    R. Amen.

  14. Geoffrey says:

    The Litany of the Sacred Heart is a private devotion, is it not? It’s not like the texts of the Missal were changed, etc.

  15. mrsmontoya says:

    I am watching the rebroadcast now – how wonderful it all is. Father Z, thank you for your insightful commentary as well. God bless you all!

  16. Magpie says:

    I think the visit has been fantastic so far, and has been one big advertisement for the Church. The TV media that we’ve been viewing, both SKY and BBC have been very positive. They have given what I would consider token coverage to the protesters and I didn’t see any significant entertainment of women ordination campaigners. My parents and I watched TV coverage all day on those two channels!!

  17. mike cliffson says:

    thanks 4 nearlivebloging this-

    A bit like a flower opening, isn’t it? Got the feeling the holy father is putting a quart’s worth of mustard seeds in a pint pot.

    Laus Dei!

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Anyone who thinks the event was marred by anything political is wrong to see or look for errors. The litanies are not necessarily world-wide in sameness, as I discovered when we lived in England. This is not because of oversight, but merely different traditions. As to the altar girls, and the lack of seminaries, the seminarians have been present in all the activities, but not only as servers, but in various other roles, including the choir, being lectors, helping the priests, cross and candle bearers, etc. As here in the Midwest, there is a vocation shortage.

    One of the thing I miss living here is the lack of flowers. I hope everyone noticed the gorgeous English roses among the Vatican colors of yellow and white, which have been the color of all the flower arrangements at all the Masses and at the ecumenical Vespers. Like music, and wasn’t the natural soprano Liam McNally stunning, flower arrangements seem to be a British talent. I hope Liam’s voice does not break too soon. Those of us who remember Aled Jones were so glad his voice went on so long. He, too, was a “treble”.

  19. Kaneohe says:

    Regarding the Litany of the Sacred Heart – JohnUK I share your sentiments exactly:

    “These inserted phrases sound to me awfully like allusions to the sufferings of those members of Christ subjected to clerical sexual abuse, and therefore as implicit supplications to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord to grant healing to those poor victims so shamefully and evilly mistreated, then rejected and ignored for too long . . ”

    I cannot image that a single person praying this litany was not affected by the juxtaposition of the beautiful imagery of the Sacred Heart and the sinful reality of the sexual abuse that has ruined the life and spirit of so many individuals. This litany offers great hope and consolation – not just to the victims of sexual abuse but also to all who have suffered and continue to suffer through pain, lack of faith, doubt, and feelings of abandonment.

    To all who moan and complain that the litany was adapted – ask yourself if your heart may be closed to a special grace God offered you – to hear, see, and experience something “new” about the Sacred Heart of His most-beloved Son. Please take a moment and reflect on the beautiful imagery of the Sacred Heart that is being offered to you. Reflect on how uncontainable is this Sacred Heart, and pray that your heart can be as open, as merciful, as concerned for the spiritual, physical, emotional welfare of others as this Sacred Heart is and always will be.

    To all who are disappointed that something new is not to your liking – seize the God given opportunity to grow in a deeper, more profound love and understanding of Jesus’ eternal, loving, and Sacred Heart. Offer your prayers “heart to heart” and stop being restless, disappointed and upset – simply go and rest in His all-loving, all-giving Heart.

  20. FranzJosf says:

    Benedication and Adoration in the heart of London with 80,000 people? WOW! (The Tablet and fellow travellers must be having a cow.) Is this usual for a papal journey? I think that this is important, somehow. (In reclaiming Catholic identity, in supporting traditional Catholic devotions, in publicly venerating the sacrifice of the Risen Lord, in an historically protestant country. What does the magic circle think?) I think that, somehow, this is a truly significant move on the part of the Holy Father.

  21. Hieronymus says:

    My impressions of the liturgy (and they are exactly that, I don’t mean to be insulting):

    Having only assisted at the N.O. a handful of times over the past 7 or 8 years, and then only in a highly conservative form, I am always shocked and disappointed when I turn on the T.V. and try to watch papal liturgies, especially because, having a great affection for the Holy Father, I tune in unthinkingly expecting the glory of the Church (that I see every Sunday) on display for the world. Every time, I have to turn it off within a couple of minutes — always with the same kind of thought that I remember having when I first starting going to the TLM: Why on earth did they throw away the traditional liturgy for that. I have the distinct impression that I am watching a protestant service, and I am disappointed and deeply saddened that this is the experience of most Catholics every Sunday — and most don’t even know what they are being deprived of.

    This time my first viewing lasted about 30 seconds; I had to turn it off because the original shock of the music and the ascetics of of the stage were too much to bear. Then I came back, hoping things had changed, and they had. This time the music was beautiful, and I was positively taken in by the view of Benedict carrying a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in procession . . . until I realized that he was being led about by a pack of pigtailed girl altar-boys, decked out in cassock and surplice no less (if that doesn’t lend to mass confusion about women being priests, nothing does). Then it was turned off for good, and will likely stay off for good. No more papal liturgies for me. I can read the Holy Father’s words on my own without offending my Catholic sensibilities.

  22. pelerin says:

    Interested to read of the criticism of the ‘girl altar boys’ in a couple of comments here. I attended a talk given in Lourdes last month on the subject of the history of the Eucharistic procession held each day there. We were told that people are often surprised that girls are always used during the Blessed Sacrament procession but the Priest explained that this was actually correct procedure.

  23. Supertradmum says:


    Until the minor orders are re-established, we shall have altar girls.

  24. Hieronymus says:


    Correct procedure according to whom? It is not difficult to find a priest who would claim such a thing, just as it is not difficult to find a priest who would claim that the “correct procedure” for distributing communion should involve armies of lay “eucharistic ministers” distributing communion to standing faithful in their hand, and other such “correct procedures” born in our age against the perennial wisdom of the Church.

    Also, if historically groups of girls were used in a procession, they would likely have been dressed as girls and carrying flowers or something — not dressed in a clerical cassock and surplice. That sight would have been shocking to anyone with Catholic sensibilities 100 years ago.


    I am all for the re-establishment of the minor orders throughout the universal Church, but that isn’t a necessary precursor to the elimination of girl altar-boys. There remain dioceses (like Lincoln, NE in the US) and certain parishes and religious orders where the NO is offered, but girl altar-boys are not permitted.

  25. pelerin says:

    Hieronymous – I failed to mention that the Priest who gave the talk was one of the official team who run the Sanctuaries in Lourdes. Unfortunately I forget his name and have not kept the flier detailing the talk. I do remember he told us he spent most of his time in Oceania and Africa before going to Lourdes and studying the history of the shrine.

    I would be curious to know the title of the girls who carry the candles on either side of the Blessed Sacrament in the procession. All I can think of is ‘Candle holders’ which can’t be right! Torch bearers perhaps?

  26. irishgirl says:

    thereseb-I did see a few people kneeling as the cameras went through the crowds. But you had to look real quick to notice.

    I wonder if the Benedictine Adorers at Tyburn Convent heard the service from their convent nearby, or if they were allowed to go and actually be there?

    On EWTN, Raymond Arroyo made mention of them and put a link on his Facebook page.

  27. thereseb says:

    Further to my comment last night – I said that the BBC had reported that Protest The Pope had self counted 20000 as their strength, though the police “could not confirm” that. Today their mates at the Guardian and Independent reported 10000. Only the Morning Star (Communist rag) reported 20000. All of this leads me to the following conclusions:
    1. The Protesters are afflicted with double vision – perhaps a side effect of too many frappucinos in Hampstead on the way there – or some other aspect of their lifestyle is making them go blind.
    2. The Morning Star still uses the same algorithms that it used to use to calculate tractor production during the Stalin era.
    3. They counted in the radical islamic protestors who were also, apparently marching on the day, in a spirit of inclusiveness which is unlikely to be reciprocated.

Comments are closed.