Benedict XVI: “The only danger the Church can and should fear is the sin of her members”

Persecutors can kill our bodies. Only we can kill our own souls, extinguish the life of grace, separately ourselves for eternity from God.

I saw this in the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald:

The Church should fear the sin of its own members more than hatred against Christians, Pope Benedict XVI said.

While the Church has suffered from persecution throughout its history, it “is supported by the light and strength of God” and will always end up victorious, he said.

Overcoming trials and outside threats shows how the Christian community “is the presence, the guarantee of God’s love against all ideologies of hatred and selfishness,” he said on the feast of the Immaculate Conception today.

“The only danger the Church can and should fear is the sin of her members,” the Pope said.

Pope Benedict marked the feast day by making an afternoon visit to a statue of Mary erected near the Spanish Steps.

He went from the Vatican to the heart of Rome’s tourist and shopping district to pay homage to Mary by praying before the statue, which commemorates Pope Pius IX’s proclamation in 1854 that Mary, by special divine favour, was without sin from the moment she was conceived.

The Pope offered a large basket of white roses, which was then set at the foot of the column topped by the statue. He also greeted and blessed the infirm and their caregivers.

He told the crowds gathered for the event that Mary is “free from every stain of sin [and] the Church is holy, but at the same time is marked by our sins”.

For that reason, Christians often turn to Mary for help and encouragement in living a truly Christian life, he said.

She also gives hope, “which we really need, especially at this very difficult time for Italy, Europe and different parts of the world”.

“Mary helps us see that there is a light beyond the blanket of fog that seems to envelop reality,” he said.


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  1. pm125 says:

    ‘ … beyond the blanket of fog that seems to envelop reality,” he said.’

    Am thankful for his eloquence and understanding of the way it is for the people of the Church.
    The blanket of fog must be why I cannot conceive how the world crisis of debt compounded itself, how irreverence for life became a matter of legality, how the information age of technology produces wasted minds and virtueless young, and how culture feeds on the lowest common denominators. The blanket of fog will destroy souls, but Pope Benedict’s reminder of the grace of God, through the patronage of Mary, is wonderful to hear and hold in mind for perspective on reality.

  2. KAS says:

    Pope Benedict XVI is just brilliant. As the possibility of persecution of Christians increases in places where it has not been before, or not been for a very long time, its good to remind everyone that sin is far more dangerous than persecution, especially if we take an eternal view. His comments are just so timely!

  3. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Not sure why, but for the last few months Ivp’ve felt compelled to pray for the CHurch that the graces she receives may overcome the sins of her members.”

  4. Mr. P says:

    though my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault…

  5. Ellen says:

    I’ve been praying the rosary with ease and fervor the last month when before it had always been a difficult prayer for me. I’m not sure that this means, but I think it’s a message to pray even more. I think we are going to need it.

  6. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Pray always. I, too, find my prayer changing recently in both quality and quantity.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    The bouquet of white roses in the basket melted my heart. For Our Dear Lady, this simple gesture indicates the depth and beauty of our Dear Pope. God bless him. Our Lady, please protect him.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    ps I meant to add but am having the usual Maltese problems with the Internet, that a very good thing for mature Catholics, or even young ones to become more aware of sin are the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I highly recommend doing this, but with a real Catholic Jesuit, please.

  9. irishgirl says:

    Well said, Holy Father, well said indeed!

  10. Lili of the fields says:

    Pope Benedict is a great pope. He always find the way to put the line on the “t” and the point on the “i” and pass the real Catholic teachings in his message. I truly admire him.

  11. Dave N. says:

    “The Church should fear the sin of its own members more than hatred against Christians.”

    Truer words were never spoken. As Jesus reminds us, those who are persecuted are “blessed,” and decidedly not those who cause others to sin.

    It’s hard not to read this and wonder whether the Pope has the most recent American bishops’ November confab on his mind.

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