2009-02-04 11:38:22

Pope Benedict XVI Weekly General Audience - Pope in English

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Concluding our catechesis on Saint Paul today, we look briefly at the end of his earthly life and his ongoing legacy. Though there is no account of Paul’s death in the New Testament, a strong tradition holds that he was martyred in Rome during the reign of Nero and buried along the Via Ostiense on the site of the present Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Saint Clement of Rome, in a first-century letter to the Corinthians, extols Paul’s patience in suffering as a model for all Christians to imitate. Paul himself alluded to his agony in sacrificial terms when he wrote: for I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand” (2 Tim 4:6). Paul’s writings have inspired countless commentaries through the centuries. New studies continue to shed light on his character, the churches he founded and the Gospel he preached. For example, scholarship has brought to light important differences between Paul and Jesus which carve out a niche for him as a generous apostle and an original thinker, rather than the “new founder” of Christianity, as some have claimed. By listening to his teaching, may we be strengthened in our commitment to Christ, so as to take part joyfully in the Church’s mission of evangelization!

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors present at today’s audience. I particularly welcome students from the Bossey Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies in Geneva, as well as pilgrims from Hong Kong and the United States of America. God bless you all!

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