2010-03-10 14:59:41

Church of Sinners and of Grace

(10 Mar 10 - RV) “Violence does not solve conflicts, but only increases the tragic consequences". This was Pope Benedict’s call today as he evoked the weekend massacre in Plateau State Nigeria, where an estimated 500 people were killed, "even defenceless children." RealAudioMP3

The horrific killings were the latest attacks in an ongoing interethnic conflict, that has wrought death and destruction on the Christian and Muslim population.

"I appeal - he said – to all those who have to civilian and religious authority in the country, to strive for security and the peaceful coexistence of all people. Finally I express, my closeness to the pastors and faithful and I pray that Nigerians, strong and firm in hope, be authentic witnesses of reconciliation. "

The Pope’s reflections came at the end of his general audience, that was divided into two parts, the first in St. Peter’s basilica and the second in the Paul VI, to accommodate the large number of faithful.

On Wednesday the Pope returned to the Christian culture of the Middle Ages, and the teachings of Doctor of the Church, St Bonaventure. In particular the Pope spoke of his defence of church against the doctrine of Joachim of Fiore, who supported the start of a new phase of history with the advent of a Church of the Holy Spirit to be the successor to the Church of Christ and its' hierarchy :

“In his defence of the newness of the Franciscan charism, he developed a remarkable theology of history and progress, based on the definitiveness of the Christ event and its enduring fruitfulness in the history of the Church. He insisted that Christian revelation will not be surpassed in history, and that the future fulfilment of God’s plan remains the object of our Christian hope”.

Pope Benedict recalled how this problem presented itself again after the Second Vatican Council, when an “anarchical utopianism” spread to "some”, the result of a certain spiritualism, for which the hierarchical pre-conciliar Church, was dead and a completely new one would have been created.

A theory that was put to rest by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II who “on the one hand defended the novelty of the Council and at the same time, the oneness and continuity of the Church”, which said Pope Benedict “is always the Church of sinners and a place of grace".

Finally in greeting pilgrims in various languages the Holy Father spoke of those affected by a recent earthquake in Turkey offering his prayer for the victims and their families and in English welcomed progress in the political process in Northern Ireland.

“The developments taking place in Northern Ireland in these days are a promising sign of hope, and I pray that they will help to consolidate the future of peace desired by all. Upon the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors I invoke God’s abundant blessings”.

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