Benedict XVI’s address for his 65th anniversay, Francis’ response

Benedict XVI, cent’anni, doesn’t appear in public very often.  He just gave his first public address since his resignation in the Sala Clementina (alas, not from the central, raised chair). Benedict appeared on the occasion of his 65th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.

From CNA:

.- On Tuesday Benedict XVI gave his first public speech since his final day as Pope, expressing gratitude for a lengthy priesthood and for Pope Francis’ “goodness,” which he said moves him deeply.

Speaking to Pope Francis and the College of Cardinals gathered inside the Vatican’s small Clementine Hall for the 65th anniversary of his priestly ordination, Benedict said the Greek word “Efkaristomen (let us give thanks),” expresses “all that there is to say” for the occasion. [That smacks of Modern Greek.  Better is eukaristomen.  In his address, Benedict said both versions.]

“Thank you, thank you everyone! Thank you Holy Father – your goodness, from the first day of your election, every day of my life here moves me interiorly, brings me inwardly more than the Vatican Gardens.”

“Your goodness is a place in which I feel protected,” he said, and voiced his hope that Francis would be able to “move forward with all of us on this path of Divine Mercy, showing Jesus’ path to God.” [Very gracious.]

Since his resignation from the papacy in 2013, Benedict XVI has made only a handful of public appearances, none of which he spoke at. The celebration inside the Vatican Palace, then, marks not only another rare public appearance, but also the first time he has spoken in public since his resignation Feb. 28, 2013.

The June 28 celebration was held for Benedict in honor of the 65th anniversary of his ordination as a priest, which took place June 29, 1951 – the feast of Saints Peter and Paul – in the cathedral of Freising. His older brother Georg, who is still living today and was present for the ceremony, was ordained with him.

After the choir singing sacred polyphony had finished, Benedict listened to brief speeches made by Pope Francis; Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, and Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Cardinal Muller gifted [ = gave] Benedict several copies of a book containing his homilies on the priesthood printed specifically for the occasion of his anniversary. Benedict in turn gave one to Pope Francis.

In his brief, off-the-cuff speech, Benedict thanked both Cardinal Sodano and Cardinal Muller for their speeches, and for the book. [And he didn’t say anything confusing.]

He told Cardinal Sodano that his address, which quoted scripture from the day of Benedict’s ordination and his speech during his visit to Freising in 2006, “truly touched my heart.”

Benedict then returned to the word “Efkaristomen (let us give thanks),” which he recalled a fellow priest ordained on the same day had written on the memorial card for his first Mass.

This word, he said, hints not only at “the dimensions of human thanksgiving,” but also “the deepest word that is hidden,” and which appears in both the liturgy and Scripture in the expression “gratias agens benedixit fregit deditque,” meaning “having given thanks, he broke it and gave it.”

“Efkaristomen sends us again to that reality of thanksgiving, to that new dimension that Christ has given,” Benedict said, explaining that Jesus has transformed into thanksgiving “the cross, suffering and all of the evil in the world.”

In doing so, Jesus “fundamentally transubstantiated” life and the world, he said, adding that the Lord both has given and continues to give us daily “the bread of true life, which overcomes the world thanks to the strength of his love.”

Benedict closed his address by expressing his hope that all would, with the help of God, help in the “transubstantiation of the world: that it be a world not of death, but of life; a world in which love has overcome death.”

In his brief speech, Pope Francis told Benedict that “you continue to serve the Church, you do not cease to really contribute with vigor and wisdom to her growth.”

By contributing to the Church and her mission from the small monastery of Mater Ecclesiae inside the Vatican, Benedict represents “anything but these forgotten corners in which today’s culture of waste tends to relegate people when, with age, their strength becomes less,” Francis said.

He prayed that the retired Pope would continue to feel the hand of “the merciful God who supports you,” that he would continue to both experience and bear witness to the love of God, and that alongside Peter and Paul, he would “continue to exult with great joy while walking toward the goal of our faith.”

From ZENIT comes the English translation of Francis’ address to Benedict:

Holiness, [i.e., Benedict]

Today we celebrate the history of a call that began sixty-five years ago with Your Priestly Ordination, which took place in the Cathedral of Freising on June 29, 1951. But what is the underlying note that runs through this long history and that from that first beginning up to today dominates it ever more?

In one of the many beautiful pages that you dedicate to the priesthood, you underscore how, at the hour of Simon’s definitive call, Jesus, looking at him, basically asks him only one thing: “Do you love me?” How beautiful and true this is! Because it is here, you tell us, it is in that “do you love me,” that the Lord founded the feeding, because only if there is love for the Lord can He feed through us: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (John 21:15-19). This is the note that dominates a whole life spent in priestly service and true theology that you have not accidentally described as “the search for the Beloved”; it is this that you have always witnessed and still witness today: that the decisive thing in our day – of sun or rain – that alone with which all the rest comes, is that the Lord be truly present, that we desire Him, that we be close to Him interiorly, that we love Him, that we truly believe profoundly in Him and believing that we truly love Him. It is this loving that truly fills our heart, this believing is what makes us walk safely and calmly on the waters, even in the midst of a storm, in fact as happened to Peter; this loving and this believing is what enables us to look to the future, not with fear and nostalgia, but with gladness, also in the now advanced years of our life.

And so, precisely by living and witnessing today, in such an intense and luminous way, this only truly decisive thing – to have our gaze and heart turned to God – you, Holiness, continue to serve the Church, do not cease to truly contribute with vigor and wisdom to her growth; and you do so from that small Mater Ecclesiae Convent in the Vatican, which reveals itself to be altogether something other than one of those forgotten corners in which the disposable culture of today tends to relegate individuals when, with age, their strength fails. It is altogether the opposite; and allow your Successor to say this forcefully, who chose to call himself Francis! Because Saint Francis’ spiritual journey began at San Damiano, but the true place he loved, the beating heart of the Order, there where he founded it and where finally he rendered his life to God was the Porziuncola, the “small portion,” the little corner near the Mother of the Church; near Mary that, because of her very firm faith and her living so entirely of love and in love with the Lord, all generations call Blessed. Thus, Providence willed that you, dear Brother arrive in a place so to speak precisely “Franciscan” from which emanates a tranquillity, a peace, a strength, a trust, a maturity, a faith, a dedication and a fidelity that do me so much good and give strength to me and to the whole Church.

The wish with which I desire to conclude is therefore a wish that I address to you and together with all of us and with the entire Church: that you, Holiness, be able to continue feeling the hand of the merciful God that supports you, that you be able to experience and witness to us the love of God; that, with Peter and Paul, you be able to continue to exult with great joy while you journey toward the goal of the faith (cf. 1 Peter 8-9; 2 Timothy 4)!

Here is Francis’ discourse/response.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. acardnal says:

    Cardinal Muller gifted [ = gave] Benedict several copies of a book containing his homilies on the priesthood printed specifically for the occasion of his anniversary. Benedict in turn gave one to Pope Francis.

    I hope this book of his homilies is made available to the public. Perhaps Ignatius Press will publish them.

  2. jameeka says:

    I am so thankful that Papa Benedict is still around—he reminds us of what it is, to be Catholic. God bless him, he speaks Truth.

  3. Man he sure has spunk and good looks in his youth! Poster boy for the priesthood lol!

  4. New Amsterdam says:

    I believe this is an event unprecedented in the history of the Church! And what beautiful, warm addresses by each pope!
    Thank you, Father Z. for posting this.

  5. kiwiinamerica says:

    Look……..Benedict is blinking his eyes in Morse Code!

    Wait……….there’s a message!! The message says……………


  6. Each day that the Pope Emeritus lives as a reasonably functioning human being raises my suspicions more and more about exactly what is and has been going on here. If he were bedridden or otherwise obviously impeded, I’d have no doubts and no cause for alarm and no regrets. As time goes on, I sympathize more with those who actually felt betrayed. When he first resigned, I was disappointed as much as anyone else but was willing to accept that he knew what he was doing. Now, I’m just not as certain. I am happy to see him in what appears to be decent health; who knows– maybe he will accept a second term at some point!

  7. Geoffrey says:

    When growing frustrated with the chaos and confusion that seems to be part and parcel of this pontificate, I try to focus on Benedict XVI; his declaration of reverence and obedience, etc. It is not easy. I pray that I be granted his strength and calm…

  8. christopherschaefer says:

    “In his brief, off-the-cuff speech”–the pope emeritus said nothing that required a later clarification by a Vatican spokesman or bishops or cardinals…

  9. Augustine says:

    In one brief impromptu speech, without reading from a prepared text, Benedict gifted us with wise and deep words of truth, goodness, beauty and hope.

    O, how I miss him!

    May God ever shine His face on Benedict!

  10. Eugene says:

    I am speechless.
    Where is the fraternal correction of PF by the emeritus Pope?

  11. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Eugene asks, “Where is the fraternal correction of PF by the emeritus Pope?”

    Implicit? –

    “the deepest word that is hidden”?

    Jesus has transformed into thanksgiving “the cross, suffering and all of the evil in the world.”

    “Thank you Holy Father” (!) – he said, and voiced his hope that Francis would be able to “move forward with all of us on this path of Divine Mercy, showing Jesus’ path to God.” [Very gracious.] (Indeed!)

  12. PhilMartin73 says:

    “Nothing that required a later clarification”? I beg to differ.

    What did he really mean with “your goodness is a place in which I feel PROTECTED”? What kind of protection does he refer to here? Who and what are threatening him? Is there here a hint to a Brandoish Godfathered protective “goodness”? [This is lana caprina.]

    I think it will be interesting to follow what Socci has promised to write.

  13. WVC says:

    Well, Pope Benedict’s legacy is certainly protected by Pope Francis. In fact, it looks better and better each passing day/papal presser.

  14. WYMiriam says:

    Well, I was musing about all this this morning, and came up with a wish list for the next pope [Pius XIII, anyone? :-) ] — I wish for him to issue a set of instructions.

    Remember that popes can (and sometimes do) tweak the way the Bishop of Rome is elected. Here’s a new document, fomented in part by the ridiculous suggestion that there is some sort of “dual popeship” going on here:

    How a Renouncer of the Office of Bishop of Rome (a.k.a. “Pope”) Is to Act:
    1. He will not wear white, even if he belongs to the Order of Preachers; he will wear simple black.
    2. He will denounce anyone calling him “holiness”, for he has renounced ALL the rights, privileges, perks, etc., that went with being pope.
    3. He will not give any talks in public.
    4. Any writing that he does will not see the light of day (i.e., be made public) for at least fifty (50) years after his death.
    5. Despite the fact that he is a bishop, he will be called “Father _____”, the blank being filled in by his given name, or, if he had been a member of a religious order prior to his election as Bishop of Rome, with his name in religion.
    6. He will live outside the city of Rome, preferably outside Italy, particularly if he grew up somewhere outside those places.
    7. The faithful around the world will be strongly urged to pray for him, and to pray even more for his successor.

    I leave it to “Pius XIII” to do any fleshing out the new instruction needs!

  15. Pingback: 65 år siden pave Benedikts prestevielse » EN KATOLSK WEBLOG

  16. Fr. Reader says:

    Talking about popes, among the many good things this papacy will bring, is that some “a bit rigid” might become a bit more flexible. Rigidity is present in all the spectrum of the Church, from the ultra-super-mega-giga-conservative to the center (in case there is) to the tera-maxi-liberal.

    BTW, I like calling Benedict Pope, and that he wears white, and that he lives in the Vatican, he publishes, and that he does whatever he likes.

  17. Giuseppe says:

    I wonder if that goes a bit too far. I thought when Pope Benedict XVI stepped down, he would renounce his papal name and title, and be called Bishop Emeritus of Rome and dress like a retired bishop. Or be re-named a cardinal by the new pope in a special consistory. Actually, as pope, he probably could accept his own resignation and name himself as Bishop Emeritus of Rome or name himself a cardinal.
    I think Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has done a very good job of staying off the radar, and I do think there is value in his living in Rome or Castel Gandolfo, or maybe even the Lateran Palace, which would not be that far off the mark, since that’s the Pope’s Roman cathedral.

  18. Semper Gumby says:

    acardnal: Good news if you’re a fan of Benedict XVI and Peter Seewald books. I got a text saying they are publishing a book of 2013 interviews this September.

  19. acardnal says:

    Thank you, Semper Gumby. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

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