Pope Benedict XVI

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I too hope in this short reign to be a man of peace.
In a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate forms of violence, the unified voice of religious people urges nations and communities to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and with full regard for human dignity.
By reminding us of human finitude and weakness, religion also enjoins us not to place our ultimate hope in this passing world.

Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, was the 265th Pope Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected April 19, 2005 to succeed Pope John Paul II and retired on February 28, 2013.

On Europe and the Church[edit]

Authentic love is obviously something good. When we love we become most fully human. But people often consider themselves loving when actually they are possessive or manipulative.
  • When human affairs are so ordered that there is no recognition of God, there is a belittling of man. That is why, in the final analysis, worship and law cannot be completely separated from each other. God has a right to a response from man, to man himself, and where that right of God totally disappears, the order of law among men is dissolved, because there is no cornerstone to keep the whole structure together.
  • Spirit of the Liturgy (2000)
  • In the hour of its greatest success, Europe seems to have become empty inside, paralyzed by a life-threatening crisis to its health and dependent on transplants.
    • Values in Times of Upheaval (2005)
  • The fact that the church is convinced of not having the right to confer priestly ordination on women is now considered by some as irreconcilable with the European Constitution.
    • from Zenit.org (11 April 2005)

On Other Belief-Systems[edit]

  • Islam has a total organization of life that is completely different from ours; it embraces simply everything. There is a very marked subordination of woman to man; there is a very tightly knit criminal law, indeed, a law regulating all areas of life, that is opposed to our modern ideas about society. One has to have a clear understanding that it is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society.
  • It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life. … Islam has also had moments of great splendor and decadence in the course of its history.
    • from "Ratzinger denies Christianity 'superior' to Islam," Zenit.org via Catholic News, March 6, 2002.
  • That the Jews are connected with God in a special way and that God does not allow that bond to fail is entirely obvious. We wait for the instant in which Israel will say yes to Christ, but we know that it has a special mission in history now … which is significant for the world.
    • from Ratzinger's book, God and the World, published October 2000, as reported by National Catholic Reporter.
  • Our Christian conviction is that Christ is also the messiah of Israel. Certainly it is in the hands of God how and when the unification of Jews and Christians into the people of God will take place.
    • from God and the World, published October 2000, as reported by National Catholic Reporter.
  • Deeper understanding of the matter is bound to recognize that the Temple, as well as the synagogue, entered into Christian liturgy.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • I think we must reflect more on what democracy in the exercise of authority would mean. Is truth determined by a majority vote, only for a new 'truth' to be 'discovered' by a new majority tomorrow?
    • The Public Square, by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things 1996

Sex Abuse Scandals[edit]

  • How much filth there is in the Church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to Him. How much pride, how much self-sufficiency.
    • At a Good Friday Mass in 2005, seen by many as a statement about the clergy sex abuse scandal
  • In the Church, priests also are sinners. But I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower.
  • In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1 percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts.
    • from "Cardinal Ratzinger Sees a Media Campaign Against Church," Zenit.org, December 3, 2002.
  • I think the essential point is a weakness of faith.
    • from an interview with EWTN news director Raymond Arroyo in August 2003 as reported by Zenit.org, Aug. 24, 2003.

Auschwitz[edit]

  • How many questions arise in this place! Constantly the question comes up: Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil? . . . We must continue to cry out humbly yet insistently to God: Rouse yourself! Do not forget mankind, your creature!
    • These were the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who visited the former concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland, on May 28, 2006. Quoted in The Watchtower magazine, in the article: “Why, Lord, Did You Remain Silent?”, May 15, 2007.

Marriage and parenthood[edit]

  • We have such difficulty understanding this renunciation today because the relationship to marriage and children has clearly shifted. To have to die without children was once synonymous with a useless life: The echoes of my own life die away, and I am completely dead. If I have children, then I continue to live in them; it's a sort of immortality through posterity. ...
  • The renunciation of marriage and family is thus to be understood in terms of this vision: I renounce what, humanly speaking, is not only the most normal but also the most important thing. I forgo bringing forth further life on the tree of life, and I live in the faith that my land is really God - and so I make it easier for others, also, to believe that there is a kingdom of heaven. I bear witness to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel, not only with words, but also with this specific mode of existence, and I place my life in this form at his disposal.
    • from "Salt of the Earth: Christianity and the Catholic Church at the end of the Millennium: An interview with Peter Seewald," by Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997.
  • ... Celibacy is not a matter of compulsion. Someone is accepted as a priest only when he does it of his own accord.
    • from "Salt of the Earth: Christianity and the Catholic Church at the end of the Millennium: An interview with Peter Seewald," by Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997.

Homosexuality[edit]

  • The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences on a variety of levels. This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.
  • Among the fundamental values linked to women's actual lives is what has been called a 'capacity for the other.' Although a certain type of feminist rhetoric makes demands 'for ourselves,' women preserve the deep intuition of the goodness in their lives of those actions which elicit life, and contribute to the growth and protection of the other. . . . But, in the final analysis, every human being, man or woman, is destined to be 'for the other.' . . . Therefore, the promotion of women within society must be understood and desired as a humanization accomplished through those values, rediscovered thanks to women. Every outlook which presents itself as a conflict between the sexes is only an illusion and a danger; it would end in segregation and competition between men and women, and would promote a solipsism nourished by a false conception of freedom.
    • Doctrinal document On the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World, July 31, 2004
  • ...According to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies 'must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided'. They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however 'objectively disordered' and homosexual practices are 'sins gravely contrary to chastity'.
  • In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.
    • Doctrinal document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, July 31, 2003

Ratzinger's "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," 1986, as reported by National Catholic Reporter

  • Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
  • It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church's pastors wherever it occurs... The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in work, in action and in law.

"Cardinal Ratzinger on Laicism and Sexual Ethics," Zenit.org, Nov. 19, 2004:

  • ...Men and women were created to be jointly the guarantee of the future of the humanity — not only a physical guarantee, but also a moral one.
  • Above all, we must have great respect for these people who also suffer and who want to find their own way of correct living. On the other hand, to create a legal form of a kind of homosexual marriage, in reality, does not help these people.
  • Because God loves us, because He wants us to grow into truth, He must necessarily make demands on us and must also correct us

On his papacy[edit]

  • I too hope in this short reign to be a man of peace.
    • Explaining to the cardinals his choice of name after Pope Benedict XV who worked against World War I.
  • After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. In order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary — strengths which in the last few months, have deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
    • Pope's statement announcing his resignation, as quoted by ABCNews, 'Pope Benedict to Resign, Vatican Says', February 11, 2013.

On popular culture[edit]

  • "Rock" [music]... is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000

On Art and beauty[edit]

  • Too often, though, the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy. It is a seductive but hypocritical beauty that rekindles desire, the will to power, to possess, and to dominate others, it is a beauty which soon turns into its opposite, taking on the guise of indecency, transgression or gratuitous provocation. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond.

On Reason and Faith[edit]

  • Reason always stands in need of being purified by faith: this also holds true for political reason, which must not consider itself omnipotent. For its part, religion always needs to be purified by reason in order to show its authentically human face. Any breach in this dialogue comes only at an enormous price to human development.
  • [R]eason and faith can come to each other's assistance. Only together will they save man. Entranced by an exclusive reliance on technology, reason without faith is doomed to flounder in an illusion of its own omnipotence. Faith without reason risks being cut off from everyday life

On Truth[edit]

  • Relations between States and within States are correct to the extent that they respect the truth. When, instead, truth is violated, peace is threatened, law is endangered, then, as a logical consequence, forms of injustice are unleashed.
  • Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:32). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6).
  • Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite. Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism that deprives it of relational and social content, and of a fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing-space.
  • The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim “to interfere in any way in the politics of States.” She does, however, have a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation. Without truth, it is easy to fall into an empiricist and sceptical view of life, incapable of rising to the level of praxis because of a lack of interest in grasping the values — sometimes even the meanings — with which to judge and direct it. Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf. Jn 8:32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce. Her social doctrine is a particular dimension of this proclamation: it is a service to the truth which sets us free. Open to the truth, from whichever branch of knowledge it comes, the Church's social doctrine receives it, assembles into a unity the fragments in which it is often found, and mediates it within the constantly changing life-patterns of the society of peoples and nations
  • Nature expresses a design of love and truth.

On relativism[edit]

  • Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. … Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and 'swept along by every wind of teaching,' looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards.
  • We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one's own ego and one's own desires... The church needs to withstand the tides of trends and the latest novelties.... We must become mature in this adult faith, we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith.
  • [I]n a society, in a culture, which all too often make relativism its creed - relativism has become a sort of dogma - in such a society the light of truth is missing; indeed, it is considered dangerous and "authoritarian" to speak of truth, and the end result is doubt about the goodness of life - is it good to be a person? is it good to be alive? - and in the validity of the relationships and commitments in which it consists.
  • Today, more than in the past, the education and formation of the person are influenced by the messages and general climate spread by the great means of communication and which are inspired by a mindset and culture marked by relativism, consumerism and a false and destructive exaltation, or rather, profanation, of the body and of sexuality.

On Progress and Economy[edit]

  • [T]he ambiguity of progress becomes evident. Without doubt, it offers new possibilities for good, but it also opens up appalling possibilities for evil—possibilities that formerly did not exist. We have all witnessed the way in which progress, in the wrong hands, can become and has indeed become a terrifying progress in evil. If technical progress is not matched by corresponding progress in man's ethical formation, in man's inner growth (cf. Eph 3:16; 2 Cor 4:16), then it is not progress at all, but a threat for man and for the world.
    • In Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi (30 November 2007)
  • [U]ncertainty over working conditions caused by mobility and deregulation, when it becomes endemic, tends to create new forms of psychological instability, giving rise to difficulty in forging coherent life-plans, including that of marriage.
  • [T]he primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity
  • In and of itself, the market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak.
  • the market does not exist in the pure state. It is shaped by the cultural configurations which define it and give it direction.
  • every economic decision has a moral consequence.
  • projects for integral human development cannot ignore coming generations, but need to be marked by solidarity and inter-generational justice
  • One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use — not abuse — of natural resources

On Suffering[edit]

  • the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme. Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life itself becomes a lie. In the end, even the “yes” to love is a source of suffering, because love always requires expropriations of my “I”, in which I allow myself to be pruned and wounded. Love simply cannot exist without this painful renunciation of myself, for otherwise it becomes pure selfishness and thereby ceases to be love.
  • To suffer with the other and for others; to suffer for the sake of truth and justice; to suffer out of love and in order to become a person who truly loves—these are fundamental elements of humanity, and to abandon them would destroy man himself.
    • In Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi (30 November 2007)

World Youth Day 2008, held in Australia[edit]

Young Pilgrims (13/07/08)[edit]

  • Many people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ever more urgently in a confusing world, and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. They are challenged by the arguments of those who deny the existence of God and they wonder how to respond.. Where can we look for answers? The Spirit points us towards the way that leads to life, to love and to truth. The Spirit points us towards Jesus Christ. In him we find the answers we are seeking.

Government House Ceremony (16/07/08)[edit]

  • Through the Spirit's action may the young people gathered here have the courage to become saints! This is what the world needs more than anything else.

Inter-religious Meeting (17/07/08)[edit]

  • A harmonious relationship between religion and public life is all the more important at a time when some people have come to consider religion a cause of division rather than a force for unity. In a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate forms of violence, the unified voice of religious people urges nations and communities to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and with full regard for human dignity.
  • The religious sense planted within the human heart leads us to meet the needs of others and to search for concrete ways to contribute to the common good. Religion has a special role in this regard, for it teaches people that authentic service requires sacrifice and self-discipline, which in turn must be cultivated through self-denial, temperance and a moderate use of the world's goods.
  • By reminding us of human finitude and weakness, religion also enjoins us not to place our ultimate hope in this passing world.
  • The true source of freedom is found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe it is he who fully discloses the human potential for virtue and goodness, and it is he who liberates us from sin and darkness.
  • You might think that in today's world people are unlikely to start worshipping other gods. But sometimes people do worship 'other gods' without realizing it. False 'gods' are nearly always associated with the worship of three things: material possessions, possessive love, or power.

Papal Welcome (17/07/08)[edit]

  • There is something sinister that stems from the fact that freedom and tolerance are so often separated from truth. This is fuelled by the notion, widely held today, that there are no absolute truths to guide our lives. Relativism, by indiscriminately giving value to practically everything, has made 'experience' all-important.
  • Life is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy.
  • Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.
  • Christ offers more! Indeed he offers everything! Only he who is the Truth can be the Way and hence also the Life.

Disadvantaged Youth (18/07/08)[edit]

  • Material possessions in themselves are good. We would not survive for long without money, clothing, shelter and food. Yet if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, we make of our possessions a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death.
  • Authentic love is obviously something good. When we love we become most fully human. But people often consider themselves loving when actually they are possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs. How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality, without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality into human relationships! This is worship of a false god; instead of bringing life, it brings death.
  • All through the Gospels, it was those who had taken wrong turns who were particularly loved by Jesus because once they recognized their mistake, they were all the more open to his healing message. It was those who were willing to rebuild their lives who were most ready to listen to Jesus and become his disciples. You can follow in their footsteps; you too can grow particularly close to Jesus because you have chosen to return to him.

Mass with the Clergy (18/07/08)[edit]

  • We can be tempted to make the life of faith a matter of mere sentiment, thus blunting its power to inspire a consistent vision of the world and a rigorous dialogue with the many other visions competing for the minds and hearts of our contemporaries.
  • Walk in Christ's light daily through fidelity to personal and liturgical prayer, nourished by meditation on the inspired word of God.. Make the daily celebration of the Eucharist the center of your life.
  • Celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom means embracing a life completely devoted to love, a love that enables you to commit yourselves fully to God's service and to be totally present to your brothers and sisters, especially those in need.

Youth Day Vigil (19/07/08)[edit]

  • Society today is being fragmented by a way of thinking that is inherently short-sighted because it disregards the full horizon of truth - the truth about God and about us. By its nature, relativism fails to see the whole picture. It ignores the very principles that enable us to live and flourish in unity, order and harmony.
  • The Holy Spirit! This is the Spirit's role: to bring Christ's work to fulfillment. Enriched with the Spirit's gifts, you will have the power to move beyond the piecemeal, the hollow utopia, the fleeting, to offer the consistency and certainty of Christian witness!
  • Love has a particular trait: it has a task or purpose to fulfill - to abide. By its nature, love is enduring. The Holy Spirit offers our world love that dispels uncertainty; love that overcomes the fear of betrayal; love that carries eternity within; the true love that draws us into a unity that abides!
  • The Holy Spirit is God eternally giving himself; like a never-ending spring he pours forth nothing less than himself. In view of this ceaseless gift, we come to see the limitations of all that perishes, the folly of the consumerist mindset. We begin to understand why the quest for novelty leaves us unsatisfied and wanting. Are we not looking for an eternal gift? For the spring that will never run dry?
  • Dear young people, we have seen that it is the Holy Spirit who brings about the wonderful communion of believers in Jesus Christ. True to his nature as giver and gift alike, he is even now working through you. Let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!
  • You are called to exercise the Spirit's gifts amidst the ups and downs of your daily life. Let your faith mature through your studies, work, sports, music and art. Let it be sustained by prayer and nurtured by the sacraments.
  • To be truly alive is to be transformed from within, open to the energy of God's love. In accepting the power of the Holy Spirit you can also transform your families, communities and nations. Set free the gifts! Let wisdom, courage, awe and reverence be the marks of greatness!

Closing Mass (19/07/08)[edit]

  • As the source of our new life in Christ, the Holy Spirit is also, in a very real way, the soul of the Church, the love that binds us to the Lord and to one another, and the light that opens our eyes to see all around us the wonders of God's grace.
  • We have to let God's love break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church.
  • Dear young people: What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations? Are you living in a way that opens a space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the 'power' that the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you?
  • A new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished-not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty - a new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption that deaden our souls and poison our relationships.
  • Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.
  • The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading interior emptiness, unnamed fears, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns in a desperate search for meaning - the ultimate meaning that only love can give?....The Church also needs this renewal! She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit!
  • Do not be afraid to say 'yes' to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!
  • "There is more joy in giving than in receiving." Never doubt the truth of our Lord's promise that whatever we give him of our creativity, our resources, our persons, will come back to us in abundance.

Angelus following the Closing Mass (19/07/08)[edit]

  • For [the Virgin] Mary there were many struggles ahead as she lived out the consequences of the 'yes' she had given to the Lord. Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her heart. When Jesus was twelve she experienced every parent's worst nightmare when for three days the child was missing. And after his public ministry she suffered the agony of witnessing his crucifixion and death. Throughout her trials she remained faithful to her promise, sustained by the Spirit of fortitude. And she was generously rewarded.
  • We too must remain faithful to the 'yes' we have given to the Lord's offer of friendship. We know that he will never abandon us. We know that he will always sustain us through the gifts of the Spirit. Mary accepted the Lord's' proposal' in our name. So let us turn to her and ask her to guide us as we struggle to remain faithful to the life-giving relationship God has established with each one of us.
  • The time has come for me to say good-bye-or better, 'arrivederci!'. World Youth Day 2011 will take place in Madrid, Spain. Until then, let us continue to pray for one another, and let us joyfully bear witness to Christ before the world.

Various[edit]

  • We do not seek a Christ whom we have invented, for only in the real communion of the Church do we encounter the real Christ.
    • unidentified source
  • If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists. This norm is not at all a punishment or a discrimination against the divorced and remarried, but rather expresses an objective situation that of itself renders impossible the reception of Holy Communion: '... If these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage'.
    • Letter to bishops, Sept. 14, 1994
  • Unlimited trust should only be placed in the real Word of the Revelation that we encounter in the faith transmitted by the Church.
    • During interview by Niels Christian Hvidt in 1999
  • After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the givenness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West. In fact, the First Vatican Council had in no way defined the pope as an absolute monarch. On the contrary, it presented him as the guarantor of obedience to the revealed Word. The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not "manufactured" by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity.... The authority of the pope is not unlimited; it is at the service of Sacred Tradition... . The greatness of the liturgy depends - we shall have to repeat this frequently — on its unspontaneity.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly - it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • When human affairs are so ordered that there is no recognition of God, there is a belittling of man. That is why, in the final analysis, worship and law cannot be completely separated from each other. God has a right to a response from man, to man himself, and where that right of God totally disappears, the order of law among men is dissolved, because there is no cornerstone to keep the whole structure together.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • Unspontaneity is of their essence. In these rites I discover that something is approaching me here that I did not produce myself, that I am entering into something greater than myself, which ultimately derives from divine revelation. This is why the Christian East calls the liturgy the "Divine Liturgy", expressing thereby the liturgy's independence from human control.
    • The Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000
  • The ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.
    • Dominus Jesus declaration, 2000
  • A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.
    • 2004 memorandum to Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, D.C.
  • We can be sure our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the father's house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will now guide you to the glory of her son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
  • Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality. Our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time (full) of joyful hope and profound gratitude.
    • Homily during the Requiem Mass of the funeral of [Pope John Paul II], on April 8, 2005.
  • There really is an ideological, secular aggressiveness that gives cause to worry. Recently in Sweden a Protestant parson was put into jail for one month because - referring to biblical texts - he preached about homosexuality. Laicism is not any longer that element of neutrality that opens fields of freedom for everybody. It’s now turning into an ideology, which – with the help of politics – forces itself into the public and leaves no space for the Christian and Catholic conception – thereby turning it into a merely private and essentially mutilated concern. In this sense a fight has really begun in which we have to defend the religious freedom against the pretension of an ideology, that acts as if it were the only voice of reason – whereas it is only the expression of “a certain” rationalism.... A society that is not at all concerned with God destroys itself. We saw that in the totalitarian experiments of the last century.
    • in an interview in the German newspaper Die Welt, April 20, 2005
  • Dear brothers and sisters after the great Pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the resurrected Lord, we go on with his help. He is going to help us and Mary will be on our side. Thank you.
    • Full text of his first public speech as pope, upon his presentation as Pope Benedict XVI
  • As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that — in a manner of speaking the guillotine would fall on me — I started to feel quite dizzy. I thought that I had done my life's work and could now hope to live out my days in peace. I told the Lord with deep conviction, 'Don't do this to me. You have younger and better (candidates) who could take up this great task with a totally different energy and with different strength.' Evidently, this time he didn't listen to me.
    • Comments on his election during his first audience with German pilgrims, original comments given in German.
  • The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good.
    • Comments during his first audience with German pilgrims
  • Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.
    • Inauguration homily, April 24, 2005
  • Currently, I see in Germany, but also in the United States, a somewhat fierce debate raging between so-called "creationism" and evolutionism, presented as though they were mutually exclusive alternatives: those who believe in the Creator would not be able to conceive of evolution, and those who instead support evolution would have to exclude God. This antithesis is absurd because, on the one hand, there are so many scientific proofs in favour of evolution which appears to be a reality we can see and which enriches our knowledge of life and being as such. But on the other, the doctrine of evolution does not answer every query, especially the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And how did everything start which ultimately led to man?
    • remarks at Auronzo di Cadore, 24 July 2007
  • Christianity is not a highly complicated collection of so many dogmas that it is impossible for anyone to know them all; it is not something exclusively for academicians who can study these things, but it is something simple: God exists and God is close in Jesus Christ.
    • remarks at Auronzo di Cadore, 24 July 2007
  • [The atheist believes] a world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering, and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God.
    • Expressing the views of atheism in the Encyclical Letter SPE SALVI of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI to the Bishops Priests and Deacons Men and Women Religious and All the Lay Faithful On Christian Hope, 30 November 2007
  • in times like these, given the cultural and social context in which we are living, there may be a greater risk of reducing Christian hope to an ideology, to a group slogan or to outward appearances. Nothing is more contrary to Jesus' message! He does not want his disciples to "recite" a part, even that of hope. He wants them "to be" hope and they can only be hope if they remain united to him! He wishes each one of you, dear young friends, to be a small source of hope for your neighbour and, all together, to become an oasis of hope for the society in which you are integrated.

Quotes about Benedict XVI[edit]

Sorted alphabetically by author or source
  • Pope Benedict XVI is working softly, slowly, often silently, unobtrusively, behind the scenes, mostly unseen. But he is working hard. I like the great job of reconciliation that he is doing inside the Roman Catholic Church: reconciliation between traditionalists and liberals, conservative and reform-oriented faithful, liturgical Latinists and Mass polyglots, old-time lovers and progressives, high-flying souls and pedestrian believers, thinkers and doers--Christians and Catholics. It is a hidden work of diplomacy, interactions, influences, concessions, agreements, acknowledgments. A "hard job" well done until now.
  • Mr Ratzinger, as head of the world’s second most evil religion you are not welcome. True, your church recently “pardoned” Galileo (four centuries late), and eventually revoked its historic anti-Semitism. But the equally long-established misogyny remains. On almost all issues concerned with sex, contraception, population and reproduction your stance is illiberal, inhumane and immoral, and your propaganda claim that condoms don’t protect against AIDS is scientifically inaccurate and murderously cynical. In criminally shielding child-raping priests from justice you have placed the welfare of your church ahead of your victims. Go home to your tinpot Mussolini-concocted principality, and don’t come back.
  • The Roman Catholic Church is headed by a mediocre Bavarian bureaucrat once tasked with the concealment of the foulest iniquity, whose ineptitude in that job now shows him to us as a man personally and professionally responsible for enabling a filthy wave of crime. Ratzinger himself may be banal, but his whole career has the stench of evil—a clinging and systematic evil that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel. What is needed is not medieval incantation but the application of justice—and speedily at that.
  • The pope understands this eternal truth: Societies cannot endure for long without a belief in God and a submission to His will. We are ignoring him at our peril.
  • He has the intelligence of 12 professors and is as pious as a child on the day of his first communion.

External links[edit]

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