Benedict XVI…

…judges Francis’ idea on ‘diversified unity’

  • ‘Let your light so shine before men’. Dispel the darkness of a world overwhelmed by the contradictory messages of ideologies!

I therefore say to you, dear friends of the Movements: act so as to ensure that they are always schools of communion, groups journeying on in which one learns to live in the truth and love that Christ revealed and communicated to us through the witness of the Apostles, in the heart of the great family of his disciples. May Jesus’ exhortation ceaselessly re-echo in your hearts: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’ (Mt 5: 16). Bring Christ’s light to all the social and cultural milieus in which you live. Missionary zeal is proof of a radical experience of ever renewed fidelity to one’s charism that surpasses any kind of weary or selfish withdrawal. Dispel the darkness of a world overwhelmed by the contradictory messages of ideologies! There is no valid beauty if there is not a truth to recognize and follow, if love gives way to transitory sentiment, if happiness becomes an elusive mirage or if freedom degenerates into instinct. (Benedict XVI. Message to the participants in the Second World Congress on Ecclesial movements and new communities, May 22, 2006)

  • A new world cannot be born of habits linked to sin

Indeed it is impossible to aspire to a new world while remaining immersed in selfishness and habits linked to sin. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 10, 2010)

  • False irenism and of indifferentism is totally foreign to the thinking of the Second Vatican Council – faith becomes substituted by a moralism without deep foundations

However, we must also recognize that the risk of a false irenism and of indifferentism — totally foreign to the thinking of the Second Vatican Council — demands our vigilance. This indifferentism is caused by the increasingly widespread opinion that truth is not accessible to man; hence it is necessary to limit oneself to finding rules for a praxis that can better the world. And like this, faith becomes substituted by a moralism without deep foundations. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, January 27, 2012)

  • It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity

This is important; the Apostle did not preach an “à la carte” Christianity to suit his own inclinations, he did not preach a Gospel to suit his own favourite theological ideas; he did not shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will, even an inconvenient will and even topics of which he was personally not so enamoured. It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But it is important that we teach and preach — as St Paul says here — and really propose the will of God in its entirety. […] Thus we must make known and understood — as far as we are able — the content of the Church’s Creed, from the Creation until the Lord’s return, until the new world. Doctrine, liturgy, morals, prayer — the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church — indicate this totality of God’s will. (Benedict XVI. Lectio divina for the meeting with the parish priests of the Rome Diocese, March 10, 2011)

  • By no means is it permitted to pass over in silence or to veil in ambiguous terms the Catholic truth

Therefore the whole and entire Catholic doctrine is to be presented and explained: by no means is it permitted to pass over in silence or to veil in ambiguous terms the Catholic truth. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Instruction Ecclesia Catholica, no. II, December 20, 1949)

…judges Francis’ idea on matrimony

  • The Synod of Bishops confirms the Church’s practice of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments

If the Eucharist expresses the irrevocable nature of God’s love in Christ for his Church, we can then understand why it implies, with regard to the sacrament of Matrimony, that indissolubility to which all true love necessarily aspires. There was good reason for the pastoral attention that the Synod gave to the painful situations experienced by some of the faithful who, having celebrated the sacrament of Matrimony, then divorced and remarried. This represents a complex and troubling pastoral problem, a real scourge for contemporary society, and one which increasingly affects the Catholic community as well. The Church’s pastors, out of love for the truth, are obliged to discern different situations carefully, in order to be able to offer appropriate spiritual guidance to the faithful involved. The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church’s practice, based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2- 12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 29, February 22, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on union in the Catholic Church

  • It was on four pillars that communion was based within the first community of believers: faith, charity, the Eucharist and the Sacraments

According to Acts, the unity of believers was seen in the fact that “they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers” (2:42). The unity of believers was thus nourished by the teaching of the Apostles (the proclamation of God’s word), to which they responded with unanimous faith, by fraternal communion (the service of charity), by the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist and the sacraments), and by prayer, both personal and communal. It was on these four pillars that communion and witness were based within the first community of believers. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, no. 5, September 14, 2012)

  • The communion of the baptized is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety

It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion. He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer. […] The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, November 4, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on this being the wonderful moments of the Church

  • We have more than enough by way of structure, but the real crisis facing the Church is a crisis of faith

Allow me to refer here to an aspect of Germany’s particular situation. The Church in Germany is superbly organized. But behind the structures, is there also a corresponding spiritual strength, the strength of faith in the living God? We must honestly admit that we have more than enough by way of structure but not enough by way of Spirit. I would add: the real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith. If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective. (Benedict XVI. Address for the meeting with the Catholic lay faithful in Germany, September 24, 2011)

  • The Second Vatican Council misinterpreted; sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith neglected

In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values. All too often, the sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith and enable it to grow, such as frequent confession, daily prayer and annual retreats, were neglected. Significant too was the tendency during this period, also on the part of priests and religious, to adopt ways of thinking and assessing secular realities without sufficient reference to the Gospel. The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations. It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse, which has contributed in no small measure to the weakening of faith and the loss of respect for the Church and her teachings. Only by examining carefully the many elements that gave rise to the present crisis can a clear-sighted diagnosis of its causes be undertaken and effective remedies be found. Certainly, among the contributing factors we can include: inadequate procedures for determining the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and the religious life; insufficient human, moral, intellectual and spiritual formation in seminaries and novitiates; a tendency in society to favour the clergy and other authority figures; and a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical penalties and to safeguard the dignity of every person. Urgent action is needed to address these factors, which have had such tragic consequences in the lives of victims and their families, and have obscured the light of the Gospel to a degree that not even centuries of persecution succeeded in doing. (Benedict XVI. Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, no. 4, March 19, 2010)

  • The lack of priestly vocations: the Lord always calls; it is listening that is lacking

A cause of great suffering to the Church today in Europe and in the West is the lack of priestly vocations, but the Lord always calls; it is listening that is lacking. We have heard his voice and must also pay attention to the Lord’s voice on behalf of others, we must help make his call heard and thus ensure that it is accepted and that a path is opened to the vocation to be pastors with Christ. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina, meeting with the Parish priests of the Rome Diocese, February 23, 2012)

  • In many regions of the world, a shortage of clergy afflicts the Church today

While the first evangelization continues to be necessary and urgent in many regions of the world, today a shortage of clergy and a lack of vocations afflict various Dioceses and Institutes of consecrated life. It is important to reaffirm that even in the presence of growing difficulties, Christ’s command to evangelize all peoples continues to be a priority. No reason can justify its slackening or stagnation because ‘the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church’ (Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 14). It is a mission that ‘is still only beginning and we must commit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service’ (John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, no. 1). How can we not think here of the Macedonian who appeared to Paul in a dream and cried, ‘Will you come by to Macedonia to help us’? Today there are countless people who are waiting for the proclamation of the Gospel, those who are thirsting for hope and love. (Benedict XVI. Message for the 82nd World Mission Sunday, no. 3, May 11, 2008)

  • Local Churches are in danger of perishing

[Question] Most Holy Father, I am Fr Anthony Denton and I come from Oceania, from Australia. Here tonight are many priests. But we know that our seminaries are not full and that in the future, in various parts of the world, we expect a decline, even sharp. What can we do to encourage new vocations? How can we propose our way of living, all that is great and beautiful in it, to a young man of our time?
[Answer] Thank you. You too have touched upon a great and painful problem of our time: the lack of vocations, because of which local Churches are in danger of perishing, for lack of the Word of life, missing the presence of the Eucharist and other Sacraments. (Benedict XVI. Address for the international meeting of priests, June10, 2010)

  • Saints guided by God’s light are the authentic reformers of the Church; born in every generation they constantly accompany the Church in the midst of sorrows

At the beginning of the New Year let us look at the history of Christianity, to see how history develops and how it can be renewed. It shows that saints, guided by God’s light, are the authentic reformers of the life of the Church and of society. As teachers with their words and witnesses with their example, they can encourage a stable and profound ecclesial renewal because they themselves are profoundly renewed, they are in touch with the real newness: God’s presence in the world. This comforting reality namely, that in every generation saints are born and bring the creativity of renewal constantly accompanies the Church’s history in the midst of the sorrows and negative aspects she encounters on her path. (Benedict XVI. General audience, January 13, 2010)

  • God sent Saint Athanasius, important and tenacious adversary of the heresy threatening faith in Christ

Athanasius was undoubtedly one of the most important and revered early Church Fathers. But this great Saint was above all the impassioned theologian of the Incarnation of the Logos, the Word of God who – as the Prologue of the fourth Gospel says – ‘became flesh and dwelt among us’ (Jn 1: 14). For this very reason Athanasius was also the most important and tenacious adversary of the Arian heresy, which at that time threatened faith in Christ, reduced to a creature ‘halfway’ between God and man, according to a recurring tendency in history which we also see manifested today in various forms. […] His intransigence – tenacious and, if necessary, at times harsh – against those who opposed his Episcopal appointment and especially against adversaries of the Nicene Creed, provoked the implacable hostility of the Arians and philo-Arians. (Benedict XVI. General audience, June 20, 2007)

  • Opposing the heretical trends of the Cathars, Saint Hildegard promotes Church reform

[Saint Hildegard] Within the walls of the cloister, she cared for the spiritual and material well-being of her sisters, fostering in a special way community life, culture and the liturgy. In the outside world she devoted herself actively to strengthening the Christian faith and reinforcing religious practice, opposing the heretical trends of the Cathars, promoting Church reform through her writings and preaching and contributing to the improvement of the discipline and life of clerics. At the invitation first of Hadrian IV and later of Alexander III, Hildegard practised a fruitful apostolate, something unusual for a woman at that time, making several journeys, not without hardship and difficulty, to preach even in public squares and in various cathedral churches, such as at Cologne, Trier, Liège, Mainz, Metz, Bamberg and Würzburg. The profound spirituality of her writings had a significant influence both on the faithful and on important figures of her time and brought about an incisive renewal of theology, liturgy, natural sciences and music. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Letter proclaiming Saint Hildegard of Bingen, professed nun of the Order of Saint Benedict, a Doctor of the Universal Church, October 7, 2012)

  • Pope Innocent III recognized, in Francis, the religious brother he had dreamt of, who supported collapsing church on his shoulders

Three times Christ on the Cross came to life, and told him: ‘Go, Francis, and repair my Church in ruins’. This simple occurrence of the word of God heard in the Church of Saint Damian contains a profound symbolism. At that moment Saint Francis was called to repair the small church, but the ruinous state of the building was a symbol of the dramatic and disquieting situation of the Church herself. At that time the Church had a superficial faith which did not shape or transform life, a scarcely zealous clergy, and a chilling of love. It was an interior destruction of the Church which also brought a decomposition of unity, with the birth of heretical movements. Yet, there at the centre of the Church in ruins was the Crucified Lord, and he spoke: he called for renewal, he called Francis to the manual labour of repairing the small Church of Saint Damian, the symbol of a much deeper call to renew Christ’s own Church, with her radicality of faith and her loving enthusiasm for Christ. This event, which probably happened in 1205, calls to mind another similar occurrence which took place in 1207: Pope Innocent III’s dream. In it, he saw the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the mother of all churches, collapsing and one small and insignificant religious brother supporting the church on his shoulders to prevent it from falling. On the one hand, it is interesting to note that it is not the Pope who was helping to prevent the church from collapsing but rather a small and insignificant brother, whom the Pope recognized in Francis when he later came to visit. Innocent III was a powerful Pope who had a great theological formation and great political influence; nevertheless he was not the one to renew the Church but the small, insignificant religious. It was Saint Francis, called by God. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, January 27, 2010)

  • In the most difficult times, the Lord brings forth Saints who give a jolt to minds and hearts, provoking conversion and renewal

Today I would like to talk to you about a woman who played an eminent role in the history of the Church: Saint Catherine of Siena. The century in which she lived – the 14th – was a troubled period in the life of the Church and throughout the social context of Italy and Europe. Yet, even in the most difficult times, the Lord does not cease to bless his People, bringing forth Saints who give a jolt to minds and hearts, provoking conversion and renewal. Catherine is one of these and still today speaks to us and impels us to walk courageously toward holiness to be ever more fully disciples of the Lord. (Benedict XVI. General audience, November 24, 2010)

  • In the face of the Protestant Reformation, Saint Robert Bellarmine’s action reinforces and confirms the identity of the Catholic Church

Saint Robert Belarmine, of whom I wish to speak to you today, brings us in memory to the times of the painful division of western Christendom, when a grave political and religious crisis brought about the separation of entire nations from the Apostolic See. […] He was ordained a priest on 25 March 1570, and for a few years was professor of theology at Louvain. Later, summoned to Rome to teach at the Roman College, he was entrusted with the chair of apologetics. In the decade in which he held it (1576–1586), he compiled a course of lessons which subsequently formed the Controversiae [Controversies], a work whose clarity, rich content and mainly historical tone earned it instant renown. The Council of Trent had just ended and in the face of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church was impelled to reinforce and confirm her identity. Bellarmine’s action fitted into this context. […] Saint Robert Bellarmine carried out an important role in the Church of the last decades of the 16th century and the first of decades of 17th. His Controversiae were a reference point, still valid, for Catholic ecclesiology on questions concerning Revelation, the nature of the Church, the sacraments and theological anthropology. In them the institutional aspect of the Church is emphasized because of the errors that were then circulating on these issues. Nevertheless, Bellarmine also explained the invisible aspects of the Church as the Mystical Body and illustrated them with the analogy of body and soul, to the point that he described the relationship between the Church’s inner riches and the external aspects that enable her to be perceived. In this monumental work that endeavours to organize the theological controversies of that time, he avoids any polemical and aggressive approach in speaking of the ideas of the Reformation. Instead, using the arguments of reason and the Tradition of the Church, he illustrates the Catholic doctrine clearly and effectively. (Benedict XVI. General audience, February 23, 2011)

  • The failed attempts of the Arian heresy to destroy the Church

Despite the unequivocal outcome of the Council, which clearly affirmed that the Son is of the same substance as the Father, these erroneous ideas shortly thereafter once again began to prevail – in this situation even Arius was rehabilitated […] Thus, the Arian crisis, believed to have been resolved at Nicaea, persisted for decades with complicated events and painful divisions in the Church. At least five times – during the 30 years between 336 and 366 A.D. – Athanasius was obliged to abandon his city, spending 17 years in exile and suffering for the faith. But during his forced absences from Alexandria, the Bishop was able to sustain and to spread in the West, first at Trier and then in Rome, the Nicene faith as well as the ideals of monasticism, embraced in Egypt by the great hermit, Anthony, with a choice of life to which Athanasius was always close. (Benedict XVI. General audience, June 20, 2007)

…judges Francis’ defense of the Jovinian heresy

  • Consecrated virginity had its first extraordinary fulfillment in the Virgin of Nazareth

‘Imitate the Mother of God; desire to be called and to be handmaids of the Lord’ (RCV, n. 16). The Order of Virgins is a special expression of consecrated life that blossomed anew in the Church after the Second Vatican Council (cf. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, n. 7). Its roots, however, are ancient; they date back to the dawn of apostolic times when, with unheard of daring, certain women began to open their hearts to the desire for consecrated virginity, in other words, to the desire to give the whole of their being to God, which had had its first extraordinary fulfilment in the Virgin of Nazareth and her “yes”. In the thought of the Fathers Mary was the prototype of Christian virgins and their perception highlighted the newness of this new state of life, to which a free choice of love gave access. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the international Congress-Pilgrimage of the Ordo Virginum, May 15, 2008)

  • The whole of the Christian mystery shines out in the Gospel invitation: ‘He who is able to receive this, let him receive it’ (Mt 19:12), and St Paul’s recommendations of virginity for the Kingdom (1Cor 7:25-35)

“They have chosen you [Lord] above all things; may they find all things in possessing you” (cf. RCV, n. 24). Your charism must reflect the intensity but also the freshness of its origins. It is founded on the simple Gospel invitation: ‘He who is able to receive this, let him receive it’ (Mt 19:12), and on St Paul’s recommendations of virginity for the Kingdom (1Cor 7:25-35). Yet the whole of the Christian mystery shines out in it. When your charism came into being it did not take shape in accordance with specific ways of life. Rather, it was institutionalized little by little until it became a true and proper solemn, public consecration, conferred by the Bishop in an evocative liturgical rite which made the consecrated woman the sponsa Christi, an image of the Church as Bride. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the international Congress-Pilgrimage of the Ordo Virginum, May 15, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on the use of internet for catholic education

  • Risks of technology that claim total autonomy from the moral norms inscribed in the nature of the human being

Indeed, it is necessary to preserve ourselves from the risks of a science and technology that claim total autonomy from the moral norms inscribed in the nature of the human being. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of the 20th International Conference on the human genome, November 19, 2005)

  • The expansion of the media brings on the dangers of standardization, control and intellectual and moral relativism – the pollution of the spirit

The present time is experiencing an enormous expansion of the frontiers of communication, bringing about an unheard of convergence among the different media and making interactivity possible. […] The dangers of standardization and control, of intellectual and moral relativism, already clearly recognizable in the erosion of the critical spirit, the subordination of truth to the play of opinions, the multiple forms of degradation and humiliation of the person’s intimacy. We are therefore witnessing a “pollution of the spirit; it makes us smile less, makes our faces gloomier, less likely to greet each other or look each other in the eye” (Address for the Immaculate Conception, Piazza di Spagna, 8 December 2009). (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of a congress organized by the Italian Episcopal Conference, April 24, 2010)

  • Without discipline the character is not formed and the person will not be ready to face the trials that will come in the future

Suffering is also part of the truth of our life. So, by seeking to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk raising brittle and ungenerous people, despite our good intentions: indeed, the capacity for loving corresponds to the capacity for suffering and for suffering together. We thus arrive, dear friends of Rome, at what is perhaps the most delicate point in the task of education: finding the right balance between freedom and discipline. If no standard of behaviour and rule of life is applied even in small daily matters, the character is not formed and the person will not be ready to face the trials that will come in the future. The educational relationship, however, is first of all the encounter of two kinds of freedom, and successful education means teaching the correct use of freedom. As the child gradually grows up, he becomes an adolescent and then a young person; we must therefore accept the risk of freedom and be constantly attentive in order to help him to correct wrong ideas and choices. However, what we must never do is to support him when he errs, to pretend we do not see the errors or worse, that we share them as if they were the new boundaries of human progress. (Benedict XVI. Letter to diocese of Rome on the urgent task of educating young people, January 21, 2008)

  • People must be helped to establish and nurture a living relationship with Christ

People today need to be reminded of the ultimate purpose of their lives. They need to recognize that implanted within them is a deep thirst for God. They need to be given opportunities to drink from the wells of his infinite love. It is easy to be entranced by the almost unlimited possibilities that science and technology place before us; it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we can obtain by our own efforts the fulfillment of our deepest needs. This is an illusion. Without God, who alone bestows upon us what we by ourselves cannot attain (cf. Spe Salvi, 31), our lives are ultimately empty. People need to be constantly reminded to cultivate a relationship with him who came that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work, the object of our preaching, and the focus of our sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship with “Christ Jesus, our hope” (1 Tim 1:1). (Benedict XVI. Address for the celebration of Vespers and meeting with the bishops of the United States of America, April 16, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on renouncing our own culture to benefit the refugees

  • Monasticism involves not only a culture of the word, but also a culture of work, without which the emergence of Europe would be unthinkable

I would like to speak with you this evening of the origins of western theology and the roots of European culture. I began by recalling that the place in which we are gathered is in a certain way emblematic. It is in fact a place tied to monastic culture, insofar as young monks came to live here in order to learn to understand their vocation more deeply and to be more faithful to their mission. We are in a place that is associated with the culture of monasticism. Does this still have something to say to us today, or are we merely encountering the world of the past? In order to answer this question, we must consider for a moment the nature of Western monasticism itself. What was it about? From the perspective of monasticism’s historical influence, we could say that, amid the great cultural upheaval resulting from migrations of peoples and the emerging new political configurations, the monasteries were the places where the treasures of ancient culture survived, and where at the same time a new culture slowly took shape out of the old. […] Monasticism involves not only a culture of the word, but also a culture of work, without which the emergence of Europe, its ethos and its influence on the world would be unthinkable. (Benedict XVI. Meeting with the representatives from the World of culture, Collège des Bernardins, Paris, September 12, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on if doctrine can be interpreted against the infallible Magisterium

  • In the Magisterium, Christ’s voice rings out

How can we listen to the voice of the Lord and recognize it? In the preaching of the Apostles and of their successors in which Christ’s voice rings out, calling us to communion with God and to the fullness of life. As we read today in the Gospel of Saint John: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand’ (Jn 10: 27–28). The Good Shepherd alone tends his flock with deep tenderness and protects it from evil, and in him alone can the faithful put absolute trust. (Benedict XVI. Regina Caeli, April 25, 2010)

  • Vigilance is needed to not replace faith with a praxis that seeks to ‘better the world’, a moralism without deep foundations

However, we must also recognize that the risk of a false irenism and of indifferentism – totally foreign to the thinking of the Second Vatican Council – demands our vigilance. This indifferentism is caused by the increasingly widespread opinion that truth is not accessible to man; hence it is necessary to limit oneself to finding rules for a praxis that can better the world. And like this, faith becomes substituted by a moralism without deep foundations. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, January 27, 2012)

  • Do not be led by the dictatorship of relativism

Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true. Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine”, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Homily of the Mass Pro eligendo Pontifice, April 18, 2005)

  • We cannot preach a Gospel to suit our own favorite theological ideas, but rather the will of God in its entirety

This is important; the Apostle did not preach an “à la carte” Christianity to suit his own inclinations, he did not preach a Gospel to suit his own favourite theological ideas; he did not shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will, even an inconvenient will and even topics of which he was personally not so enamoured. It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But it is important that we teach and preach – as Saint Paul says here – and really propose the will of God in its entirety. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina given during meeting with the parish priests of the Rome Diocese, March 10, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on interpersonal relationships no longer need to seek purity and perfection

  • There is a temptation to adopt models contrary to the Gospel, under the influence of contemporary culture that has spread throughout the world

The family, a divine institution founded on marriage as willed by the Creator himself (cf. Gen 2:18-24; Mt 19:5), is nowadays exposed to a number of threats. The Christian family in particular is faced more than ever before with the issue of its deepest identity. The essential properties of sacramental marriage – unity and indissolubility (cf. Mt 19:6) – and the Christian model of family, sexuality and love, are in our day, if not called into question, at least misunderstood by some of the faithful. There is a temptation to adopt models contrary to the Gospel, under the influence of a certain contemporary culture that has spread throughout the world. Conjugal love is part of the definitive covenant between God and his people, fully sealed in the sacrifice of the cross. Its character as mutual self-giving, even to the point of martyrdom, is clearly expressed in some of the Eastern Churches, where each spouse receives the other as a ‘crown’ during the marriage ceremony, which is rightly called a ‘liturgy of coronation’. Conjugal love is not a fleeting event, but the patient project of a lifetime. Called to live a Christ-like love each day, the Christian family is a privileged expression of the Church’s presence and mission in the world. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, no 58, September 14, 2012)

  • Saint Bridget’s life must still inspire holiness in Christian spouses today

This first period of Bridget’s life helps us to appreciate what today we could describe as an authentic ‘conjugal spirituality’: together, Christian spouses can make a journey of holiness sustained by the grace of the sacrament of Marriage. It is often the woman, as happened in the life of St Bridget and Ulf, who with her religious sensitivity, delicacy and gentleness succeeds in persuading her husband to follow a path of faith. I am thinking with gratitude of the many women who, day after day, illuminate their families with their witness of Christian life, in our time too. May the Lord’s Spirit still inspire holiness in Christian spouses today, to show the world the beauty of marriage lived in accordance with the Gospel values: love, tenderness, reciprocal help, fruitfulness in begetting and in raising children, openness and solidarity to the world and participation in the life of the Church. (Benedict XVI. General audience, October 27, 2010)

  • The innumerable examples of holy parents and authentic Christian families in the history of Christianity urge commitment to the path of sanctity

The history of Christianity is spangled with innumerable examples of holy parents and authentic Christian families who accompanied the life of generous priests and pastors of the Church. Only think of Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, both of whom belonged to families of saints. Let us think of Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini, a husband and wife, very close to us, who lived at the end of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th and whose beatification by my Venerable Predecessor John Paul II in October 2001 coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio. In addition to illustrating the value of marriage and the tasks of the family, this Document urged spouses to be especially committed to the path of sanctity which, drawing grace and strength from the Sacrament of Marriage, accompanies them throughout their life (cf. no. 56). (Benedict XVI. Angelus, August 30, 2009)

  • The Church has inscribed worthy spouses and matrimonial models in the catalogue of the blessed

At the beginning of this millennium, Holy Mother Church has inscribed in the catalogue of the blessed, María Teresa Ferragud Roig, who in Spain together with her four virgin daughters consecrated to Christ, obtained the palm of martyrdom and celestial glory; the spouses Luis Beltrame Quattrocchi and María Corsini, in Italy; Luis Martin and Zélie Marie Guérin, in France, parents of Saint Theresa of Lisieux, patroness of missions and flower of Carmel. I am convinced that this happening may be very beneficial for all of society and for each person. (Benedict XVI. Letter for the VI Meeting of Families, December 21, 2008)

  • The vocation to marriage results in a specific journey of holiness

I learned with joy that the Pontifical Institute of which you are President and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart have opportunely organized an International Congress on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the publication of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae, an important Document that treats one of the essential aspects of the vocation to marriage and the specific journey of holiness that results from it. Indeed, having received the gift of love, husband and wife are called in turn to give themselves to each other without reserve. Only in this way are the acts proper and exclusive to spouses truly acts of love which, while they unite them in one flesh, build a genuine personal communion. Therefore, the logic of the totality of the gift intrinsically configures conjugal love and, thanks to the sacramental outpouring of the Holy Spirit, becomes the means to achieve authentic conjugal charity in their own life. (Benedict XVI. Message on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Humane vitae, October 2, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea that preaching the Gospel does not entail doctrinal and moral principles

  • Although they might seem to be a list of prohibitions, the Commandments are a set of essential and valuable rules leading to a happy life in accordance with God’s plan

God wants us to be happy. That is why he gave us specific directions for the journey of life: the commandments. If we observe them, we will find the path to life and happiness. At first glance, they might seem to be a list of prohibitions and an obstacle to our freedom. But if we study them more closely, we see in the light of Christ’s message that the commandments are a set of essential and valuable rules leading to a happy life in accordance with God’s plan. (Benedict XVI. Message for the twenty-seventh World Youth Day, March 15, 2012)

  • Christianity is not the easy road, it is, rather, a difficult climb, but one illuminated by the light of Christ

The theology of the Cross is not a theory it is the reality of Christian life. To live in the belief in Jesus Christ, to live in truth and love implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering. Christianity is not the easy road, it is, rather, a difficult climb, but one illuminated by the light of Christ and by the great hope that is born of him. Saint Augustine says: Christians are not spared suffering, indeed they must suffer a little more, because to live the faith expresses the courage to face in greater depth the problems that life and history present. But only in this way, through the experience of suffering, can we know life in its profundity, in its beauty, in the great hope born from Christ crucified and risen again. (Benedict XVI. General audience, November 5, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christian marriage realized in a partial and analogous way by adultery

  • Not all petitions to declare the nullity of a marriage are valid

One must avoid pseudo-pastoral claims that would situate questions on a purely horizontal plane, in which what matters is to satisfy subjective requests to arrive at a declaration of nullity at any cost, so that the parties may be able to overcome, among other things, obstacles to receiving the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. The supreme good of readmission to Eucharistic Communion after sacramental Reconciliation demands, instead, that due consideration be given to the authentic good of the individuals, inseparable from the truth of their canonical situation. It would be a false ‘good’ and a grave lack of justice and love to pave the way for them to receive the sacraments nevertheless, and would risk causing them to live in objective contradiction to the truth of their own personal condition. (Benedict XVI. Address for the inauguration of the judicial year of the tribunal of the Roman Rota, January 29, 2010)

  • The increase of divorce and de facto unions urge the proclamation of the Gospel of Life and Family in its integrity

The family was rightly one of the main themes of your Synod, as it has been in the pastoral guidelines of the Church in Italy and throughout the world. Indeed, in your Diocese, moreover, as elsewhere, divorce and de facto unions are on the increase, and this constitutes for Christians an urgent appeal to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel of Life and of the Family in its integrity. The family is called to be an ‘intimate partnership of life and love’ (Gaudium et Spes, no. 48), because it is founded on indissoluble marriage. (Benedict XVI. Address to pilgrims from the diocese of Verona, June 4, 2005)

  • Bishops are bound to reaffirm non-negotiable values constantly

Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms. These values are not negotiable. […] Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 83, February 22, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church’s rules on matrimony being ‘overly rigid’

  • Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin

The Scriptures tell us: ‘Rebuke the wise and he will love you for it. Be open with the wise, he grows wiser still, teach the upright, he will gain yet more’ (Prov 9:8ff). Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin (cf. Mt 18:15). […] The Church’s tradition has included ‘admonishing sinners’ among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. As the Apostle Paul says: ‘If one of you is caught doing something wrong, those of you who are spiritual should set that person right in a spirit of gentleness; and watch yourselves that you are not put to the test in the same way’ (Gal 6:1). In a world pervaded by individualism, it is essential to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so that together we may journey towards holiness. […] The Apostle Paul encourages us to seek ‘the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another’ (Rom 14:19) for our neighbour’s good, ‘so that we support one another’ (15:2), seeking not personal gain but rather ‘the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved’ (1Cor 10:33). This mutual correction and encouragement in a spirit of humility and charity must be part of the life of the Christian community. (Benedict XVI. Message for Lent 2012, no. 1–2, November 3, 2011)

  • Jesus’ mercy was not expressed by putting moral law in parentheses

To avoid any misunderstanding, it should be noted that Jesus’ mercy was not expressed by putting moral law in parentheses. For Jesus, good is good and evil is evil. Mercy does not change the connotations of sin but consumes it in a fire of love. This purifying and healing effect is achieved if within the person there is a corresponding love which implies recognition of God’s law, sincere repentance and the resolution to start a new life. The sinful woman in the Gospel was pardoned greatly because she loved greatly. In Jesus, God comes to give love to us and to ask love of us. (Benedict XVI. Homily during the pastoral visit to Assisi for the eighth centenary of the conversion of Saint Francis, June 17, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on Judas being a poor, penitent man

  • Judas bore the mark of the devil: deceitfulness

Finally, Jesus knew that among the Twelve Apostles there was also one who did not believe: Judas. Judas could have gone away too, as did many of the disciples; indeed, perhaps if he had been honest he would have been bound to leave. Instead he stayed on with Jesus. He did not stay out of faith or out of love, but rather with the secret intention of taking revenge on the Teacher. Why? Because Judas felt let down by Jesus and decided that he, in his turn, would betray Jesus. Judas was a zealot and he wanted a victorious Messiah who would lead a revolt against the Romans. Jesus had not measured up to these expectations. The problem was that Judas did not go away and his greatest sin was his deceitfulness, which is the mark of the Devil. For this reason Jesus said to the Twelve: “One of you is a devil” (Jn 6:70). (Benedict XVI. Angelus, August 28, 2012)

  • Thick darkness gathered in Judas’ heart

In fact, in today’s liturgy, the Evangelist Matthew presents for our meditation the brief dialogue between Jesus and Judas that took place in the Upper Room. ‘Is it I, Master?’ the traitor asked the divine Teacher, who had foretold: ‘Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me’. The Lord’s answer was incisive: ‘You have said so’ (cf. Mt 26: 14-25). For his part, John concludes the narrative announcing Judas’ betrayal with a few portentous words: ‘It was night’ (Jn 13: 30). When the traitor left the Upper Room, thick darkness gathered in his heart. (Benedict XVI. General audience, April 4, 2007)

  • Peter’s repentance led to pardon, Judas’ degenerated into desperation

Let us remember that Peter also wanted to oppose him and what awaited him at Jerusalem, but he received a very strong reproval: ‘You are not on the side of God, but of men’ (Mk 8:33)! After his fall Peter repented and found pardon and grace. Judas also repented, but his repentance degenerated into desperation and thus became self-destructive. (Benedict XVI. General audience, October18, 2006)

  • The two kinds of mourning: after their sin, Judas lost hope, but Peter underwent conversion

Let us go back to the second Beatitude: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Mt 5:4). Is it good to mourn and to declare mourning blessed? There are two kinds of mourning. The first is the kind that has lost hope, that has become mistrustful of love and of truth, and that therefore eats away and destroys man from within. But there is also the mourning occasioned by the shattering encounter with truth, which leads man to undergo conversion and to resist evil. This mourning heals, because it teaches man to hope and to love again. Judas is an example of the first kind of mourning: Struck with horror at his own fall, he no longer dares to hope and hangs himself in despair. Peter is an example of the second kind: Struck by the Lord’s gaze, he bursts into healing tears that plow up the soil of his soul. He begins anew and is himself renewed. (Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth, Doubleday, 2011, Vol. II, pg. 206–207)

  • The very name of Judas raises among Christians an instinctive reaction of criticism and condemnation

Already the very name of Judas raises among Christians an instinctive reaction of criticism and condemnation. The meaning of the name “Judas” is controversial: the more common explanation considers him as a “man from Kerioth”, referring to his village of origin situated near Hebron and mentioned twice in Sacred Scripture (cf. Gn 15: 25; Am 2: 2). Others interpret it as a variant of the term “hired assassin”, as if to allude to a warrior armed with a dagger, in Latin, sica. Lastly, there are those who see in the label a simple inscription of a Hebrew-Aramaic root meaning: ‘the one who is to hand him over’. This designation is found twice in the Gospel: after Peter’s confession of faith (cf. Jn 6: 71), and then in the course of the anointing at Bethany (cf. Jn 12: 4). (Benedict XVI. General audience, October 18, 2006)

  • Judas was no longer capable of conversion

In the case of Judas, we encountered the perennial danger that even those ‘who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit’ (Heb 6:4) can perish spiritually through a series of seemingly small infidelities, ultimately passing from the light into the night, where they are no longer capable of conversion. In Peter we encounter another danger, that of a fall which is not definitive and which can therefore be healed through conversion. (Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth, Doubleday, 2011, Vol. II, pg. 141–142)

  • Repentance is the opening the heart to forgiveness

In one case it is stressed that there is no forgiveness without the desire for forgiveness, without opening the heart to forgiveness; here it is highlighted that only divine forgiveness and divine love received with an open and sincere heart give us the strength to resist evil and ‘to sin no more’, to let ourselves be struck by God’s love so that it becomes our strength. (Benedict XVI. Homily during visit to the Roman Parish of Saint Felicity and her children, martyrs, March 25, 2007)

  • The Pharisees invented their own laws

Jesus’ words against the scribes and Pharisees in today’s Gospel should therefore be food for thought for us as well. Jesus makes his own the very words of the Prophet Isaiah: ‘This People honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men’ (Mk 7:6–7; cf. Is 29:13). And he then concludes: ‘You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men’ (Mk 7:8). (Benedict XVI. Angelus, September 2, 2012)

  • The Pharisees implanted an exteriorized and enslaving system

It is quite a different kind of observance from what we encounter in the Pharisees of the Gospel, who had made it into an exteriorized and enslaving system. (Benedict XVI. Mass with the members of the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis”, the Pope’s former students, August 30, 1999)

  • Practicing secondary customs which merely satisfy the human need to feel in God’s place

Thus religion loses its authentic meaning, which is to live listening to God in order to do his will — that is the truth of our being — and thus we live well, in true freedom, and it is reduced to practicing secondary customs which instead satisfy the human need to feel in God’s place. This is a serious threat to every religion which Jesus encountered in his time. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, September 2, 2012)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Orthodox are no longer schismatics

  • If schism is a sin against charity, how can its adepts proclaim the truth of the Gospel?

The witness of charity, practised here in a special way, is part of the Church’s mission, together with the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel. (Benedict XVI. Address for the visit to the hostel of Caritas in the Termini station of Rome, February 14, 2010

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s mercy aimed at religious syncretism

  • Love for the sinner and love for the person who has been harmed are correctly balanced if I punish the sinner

The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but, rather, a Church of love: she must not punish. Thus the awareness that punishment can be an act of love ceased to exist. This led to an odd hardening of the mind, even in very good people. Today we have to learn all over again that love for the sinner and love for the person who has been harmed are correctly balanced if I punish the sinner in the form that is possible and appropriate. In this respect there was in the past a change of mentality, in which the law and the need for punishment were obscured. Ultimately this also narrowed the concept of love, which in fact is not just being nice or courteous, but is found in the truth. And another component of truth is that I must punish the one who has sinned against real love. (Benedict XVI. Light of the world. The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. A Conversation with Peter Seewald, pg. 17)

  • Even when God’s plans pass through punishment, they aim at an outcome of mercy

In the text we have heard, the anger and mercy of the Lord alternate in a dramatic sequence, but love triumphs in the end, for God is love. How can we fail to grasp from the memory of those distant events a message valid for all times, including our own? In thinking of the past centuries, we can see that God continues to love us even when he punishes us. Even when God’s plans pass through trial and punishment, they always aim at an outcome of mercy and forgiveness. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the IV Sunday of Lent, March 26, 2006)

  • According to Islam, nothing would oblige Allah to reveal the truth

Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s [Allah’s] will, we would even have to practise idolatry. (R. Arnaldez, Grammaire et théologie chez Ibn Hazm de Cordoue, Paris 1956, p. 13; cf. Khoury, p. 144) (Benedict XVI. Address in the University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on zeal for the liturgy, doctrine and prestige of the Church

  • It is necessary to redouble efforts for the appropriate celebration of the Liturgy

Among the various forms of prayer, the Liturgy deserves a special place. In Poland, many young people take an active part in Holy Mass on Sundays. It is necessary to redouble efforts so that the concern of priests for the appropriate celebration of the Liturgy, for the beauty of its words, gestures and music, may increasingly be the legible sign of the saving Mysterium that is fulfilled in them. It is also necessary for youth to be integrated into liturgical action through active participation in the preparation of the Liturgy, through their involvement in Liturgies of the Word, in altar service or in the context of music. They will then feel that they are part of the mystery that introduces them into the world of God, and at the same time directs them to the world of people attracted by Christ’s love. (Benedict XVI. Address to the bishops of Poland on their ad limina visit, no. 1, November 26, 2005)

  • The beauty of the liturgy is not mere aestheticism, but the concrete way in which the truth of God’s love in Christ encounters us

This relationship between creed and worship is evidenced in a particular way by the rich theological and liturgical category of beauty. Like the rest of Christian Revelation, the liturgy is inherently linked to beauty: it is veritatis splendor. The liturgy is a radiant expression of the paschal mystery, in which Christ draws us to himself and calls us to communion. As Saint Bonaventure would say, in Jesus we contemplate beauty and splendour at their source. This is no mere aestheticism, but the concrete way in which the truth of God’s love in Christ encounters us, attracts us and delights us, enabling us to emerge from ourselves and drawing us towards our true vocation, which is love. […] The beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery; it is a sublime expression of God’s glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth. The memorial of Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice contains something of that beauty which Peter, James and John beheld when the Master, making his way to Jerusalem, was transfigured before their eyes (cf. Mk 9:2). Beauty, then, is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation. These considerations should make us realize the care which is needed, if the liturgical action is to reflect its innate splendour. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 35, February 22, 2007)

  • The simplicity of the liturgy’s gestures communicates and inspires more than any contrived and inappropriate additions

Equally important for a correct ars celebrandi is an attentiveness to the various kinds of language that the liturgy employs: words and music, gestures and silence, movement, the liturgical colours of the vestments. By its very nature the liturgy operates on different levels of communication which enable it to engage the whole human person. The simplicity of its gestures and the sobriety of its orderly sequence of signs communicate and inspire more than any contrived and inappropriate additions. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 40, February 22, 2007)

  • Young people seek organized groups to grow in the faith and the experience of God

Furthermore, it is essential to see the many positive phenomena that support and help education in the faith. Young people who show a profound sensitivity to the needs of others, especially the poor, the sick, the lonely and the disabled, are very numerous. Thus, they undertake various projects to bring aid to the needy. There is also a genuine interest in matters of faith and religion, the need to be with others in organized and informal groups, and the strong desire for an experience of God. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Bishops of Poland on their ad limina visit, no. 1, November 26, 2005)

  • Redouble your efforts to organize catechesis based on Scripture and on the Magisterium

I fervently urge you Bishops to redouble your efforts to organize adult catechesis wherever it is lacking, and to support the contexts that already undertake this type of teaching. Such catechesis must be based on Scripture and on the Magisterium. In carrying it out, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church or the recently published Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church can prove helpful. The abundant Magisterium of my venerable Predecessor, John Paul II, may be particularly helpful in the catechesis of adults. In his numerous pilgrimages to Poland he left a rich patrimony of the wisdom that stems from faith, which it seems has not yet been entirely assimilated. In this context, how can we fail to remember his Encyclicals, Exhortations, Letters and the many other Interventions that constitute an inexhaustible source of Christian wisdom? (Benedict XVI. Address to the Bishops of Poland on their ad limina visit, no. 3, November 26, 2005)

  • The testimonies of charitable religious orders are true lights in Church history

Yet in the history of the Church, how many other testimonies to charity could be quoted! In particular, the entire monastic movement, from its origins with Saint Anthony the Abbot († 356), expresses an immense service of charity towards neighbour. In his encounter ‘face to face’ with the God who is Love, the monk senses the impelling need to transform his whole life into service of neighbour, in addition to service of God. This explains the great emphasis on hospitality, refuge and care of the infirm in the vicinity of the monasteries. It also explains the immense initiatives of human welfare and Christian formation, aimed above all at the very poor, who became the object of care firstly for the monastic and mendicant orders, and later for the various male and female religious institutes all through the history of the Church. The figures of saints such as Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, John of God, Camillus of Lellis, Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Giuseppe B. Cottolengo, John Bosco, Luigi Orione, Teresa of Calcutta to name but a few – stand out as lasting models of social charity for all people of good will. The saints are the true bearers of light within history, for they are men and women of faith, hope and love. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 40, December 25, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church having defects

  • I must punish the one who has sinned against real love

The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but, rather, a Church of love: she must not punish. Thus the awareness that punishment can be an act of love ceased to exist. This led to an odd hardening of the mind, even in very good people. Today we have to learn all over again that love for the sinner and love for the person who has been harmed are correctly balanced if I punish the sinner in the form that is possible and appropriate. In this respect there was in the past a change of mentality, in which the law and the need for punishment were obscured. Ultimately this also narrowed the concept of love, which in fact is not just being nice or courteous, but is found in the truth. And another component of truth is that I must punish the one who has sinned against real love. (Benedict XVI. Light of the world. The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. A Conversation with Peter Seewald, pg. 17)

  • Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin

The Scriptures tell us: ‘Rebuke the wise and he will love you for it. Be open with the wise, he grows wiser still, teach the upright, he will gain yet more’ (Prov 9:8ff). Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin (cf. Mt 18:15). […] The Church’s tradition has included ‘admonishing sinners’ among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. (Benedict XVI. Message for Lent 2012, no. 1, November 3, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on the role of women in the Church

  • The heavenly Jerusalem is the icon of the Church utterly holy and glorious

The heavenly Jerusalem is the icon of the Church, utterly holy and glorious, without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph 5:27), permeated at her heart and in every part of her by the presence of the God who is Love. She is called a ‘bride’, ‘the bride of the Lamb’ (Rev 20:9), because in her is fulfilled the nuptial figure which pervades biblical revelation from beginning to end. The City and Bride is the locus of God’s full communion with humanity; she has no need of a temple or of any external source of light, because the indwelling presence of God and of the Lamb illuminates her from within. (Benedict XVI. Holy Mass for the inauguration of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, May 13, 2007)

  • Nothing will substitute the priestly ministry

Nothing will ever substitute the ministry of priests in the life of the Church. (Benedict XVI. Greetings to the Portuguese speaking priests at the end of the Eucaristic celebration at the Conclusion of the year for priests, June 11, 2010)

  • The priest does something which no human being can do of his own power

The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation – words which make Christ himself present, the Risen One, his Body and Blood – words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite it to him. (Benedict XVI. Homily at the conclusion of the Year for Priests, June 11, 2010)

  • Christ tends his flock through the pastors of the Church

Christ tends his flock through the Pastor of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter and the priests, their most precious collaborators, to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community (Benedict XVI. General audience, May 26, 2010)

  • No man on his own, relying on his own power, can put another in touch with God; yet an essential part of the priest’s grace is the gift of creating this contact

No man on his own, relying on his own power, can put another in touch with God. An essential part of the priest’s grace is the gift, the task of creating this contact. This is achieved in the proclamation of God’s word in which his light comes to meet us. It is achieved in a particularly concentrated manner in the Sacraments. Immersion in the Paschal Mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ takes place in Baptism, is reinforced in Confirmation and Reconciliation and is nourished by the Eucharist, a sacrament that builds the Church as the People of God, Body of Christ, Temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. John Paul II, Pastores Gregis, no. 32). Thus it is Christ himself who makes us holy, that is, who draws us into God’s sphere. However, as an act of his infinite mercy, he calls some ‘to be’ with him (cf. Mk 3:14) and to become, through the Sacrament of Orders, despite their human poverty, sharers in his own priesthood, ministers of this sanctification, stewards of his mysteries, ‘bridges’ to the encounter with him and of his mediation between God and man and between man and God (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, no. 5). (Benedict XVI. General audience, May 5, 2010)

  • Like Mary, the Church is the mediator of God’s blessing for the world

The first to be swept up by this blessing was Mary the virgin, the spouse of Joseph, chosen by God from the first moment of her existence to be the mother of his incarnate Son. She is the ‘blessed among women’ (Lk 1:42) – in the words of Saint Elizabeth’s greeting. Her whole life was spent in the light of the Lord, within the radius of his name and of the face of God incarnate in Jesus, the ‘blessed fruit of her womb’. […] Mary is the mother and model of the Church, who receives the divine Word in faith and offers herself to God as the ‘good soil’ in which he can continue to accomplish his mystery of salvation. The Church also participates in the mystery of divine motherhood, through preaching, which sows the seed of the Gospel throughout the world, and through the sacraments, which communicate grace and divine life to men. The Church exercises her motherhood especially in the sacrament of Baptism, when she generates God’s children from water and the Holy Spirit, who cries out in each of them: ‘Abba, Father!’ (Gal 4:6). Like Mary, the Church is the mediator of God’s blessing for the world: she receives it in receiving Jesus and she transmits it in bearing Jesus. He is the mercy and the peace that the world, of itself, cannot give, and which it needs always, at least as much as bread. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, January 1, 2012)

  • The maternal vocation of the Virgin towards those who believe in Christ began when Jesus said to her: ‘Woman, behold your son!’

John, the only one of the Apostles to remain at Golgotha with the Mother of Jesus and the other women. Mary’s motherhood, which began with her fiat in Nazareth, is fulfilled at the foot of the Cross. Although it is true – as Saint Anselm says – that ‘from the moment of her fiat Mary began to carry all of us in her womb’, the maternal vocation and mission of the Virgin towards those who believe in Christ actually began when Jesus said to her: ‘Woman, behold your son!’ (Jn 19:26). […] The Son of God thus fulfilled his mission: born of the Virgin in order to share our human condition in everything but sin, at his return to the Father he left behind in the world the sacrament of the unity of the human race (cf. Lumen Gentium, 1): the family ‘brought into unity from the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit’ (Saint Cyprian, De Orat. Dom., 23:), at whose heart is this new bond between the Mother and the disciple. Mary’s divine motherhood and her ecclesial motherhood are thus inseparably united. (Benedict XVI. Homily before the shrine of Meryem Ana Evì, Ephesus, November 29, 2006)

  • Only the Virgin Mary is the Mother of that mystery of unity which Christ and the Church signify

Like Christ himself, the Church is not only the instrument of unity, but also its efficacious sign. And the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, is the Mother of that mystery of unity which Christ and the Church inseparably signify and build up, in the world and throughout history. (Benedict XVI. Homily before the shrine of Meryem Ana Evì, Ephesus, November 29, 2006)

  • Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church, Patroness of Missions: by leading a very simple and hidden life she lived to the full the grace of Baptism

Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, who lived in this world for only 24 years, at the end of the 19th century, leading a very simple and hidden life but who, after her death and the publication of her writings, became one of the best-known and best-loved saints. ‘Little Thérèse’ has never stopped helping the simplest souls, the little, the poor and the suffering who pray to her. However, she has also illumined the whole Church with her profound spiritual doctrine to the point that Venerable Pope John Paul II chose, in 1997, to give her the title ‘Doctor of the Church’, in addition to that of Patroness of Missions, which Pius XI had already attributed to her in 1939. My beloved Predecessor described her as an ‘expert in the scientia amoris’ (Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 42). […] Thus Thérèse points out to us all that Christian life consists in living to the full the grace of Baptism in the total gift of self to the Love of the Father, in order to live like Christ, in the fire of the Holy Spirit, his same love for all the others. (Benedict XVI. General audience, April 6, 2011)

  • Through contemplative prayer St Thérèse of Lisieux lived an authentic missionary spirit in her own way

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who never left her Carmel, through contemplative prayer and the correspondence she maintained with priests – the Abbé Bellière and Fr. Roulland – lived an authentic missionary spirit in her own way, accompanying every person in her Gospel service and giving the world a new spiritual orientation. Only 10 years ago, this obtained for her the title: ‘Doctor of the Church’. From Pius XI to our day, the Popes have not omitted to recall the connection between prayer, charity and action in the Church’s mission, so that, as the Second Vatican Council further emphasizes, ‘the entire world may become the People of God, the Body of the Lord and the Temple of the Holy Spirit’ (Lumen Gentium, no. 17). (Benedict XVI. Message for the 80th anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux as Patroness of Missions, September 12, 2007)

  • Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church, shone through obedience, simplicity, charity and hospitality

In Saint Hildegard of Bingen there is a wonderful harmony between teaching and daily life. In her, the search for God’s will in the imitation of Christ was expressed in the constant practice of virtue, which she exercised with supreme generosity and which she nourished from biblical, liturgical and patristic roots in the light of the Rule of Saint Benedict. Her persevering practice of obedience, simplicity, charity and hospitality was especially visible. In her desire to belong completely to the Lord, this Benedictine Abbess was able to bring together rare human gifts, keen intelligence and an ability to penetrate heavenly realities. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic letter proclaiming Saint Hildegard of Bingen, professed nun of the Order of Saint Benedict, a Doctor of the Universal Church, no. 1, October 7, 2012)

…judges Francis’ idea on renouncing our own culture to receive the refugees

  • Monasticism involves a culture without which the emergence of Europe would be unthinkable

I would like to speak with you this evening of the origins of western theology and the roots of European culture. I began by recalling that the place in which we are gathered is in a certain way emblematic. It is in fact a placed tied to monastic culture, insofar as young monks came to live here in order to learn to understand their vocation more deeply and to be more faithful to their mission. We are in a place that is associated with the culture of monasticism. Does this still have something to say to us today, or are we merely encountering the world of the past? In order to answer this question, we must consider for a moment the nature of Western monasticism itself. What was it about? From the perspective of monasticism’s historical influence, we could say that, amid the great cultural upheaval resulting from migrations of peoples and the emerging new political configurations, the monasteries were the places where the treasures of ancient culture survived, and where at the same time a new culture slowly took shape out of the old. […] Monasticism involves not only a culture of the word, but also a culture of work, without which the emergence of Europe, its ethos and its influence on the world would be unthinkable. (Benedict XVI. Meeting with representatives of World culture in the Collège des Bernardins, Paris, September 12, 2008)

  • The Christian image of the human being is the leaven of European civilization also in the future

The building of Europe as a common home can only be successful if this continent is aware of its Christian roots and if the Gospel values, as well as the Christian image of the human being, are the leaven of European civilization also in the future. Faith lived in Christ and active love for one’s neighbour, marked by Christ’s word and life and by the Saints’ example, carry more weight than Western Christian culture. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Ambassador of Austria to the Holy See, February 3, 2011)

  • Saint Augustine is known even by those who ignore Christianity for he left a very deep mark on the cultural life of the West

Saint Augustine. This man of passion and faith, of the highest intelligence and tireless in his pastoral care, a great Saint and Doctor of the Church is often known, at least by hearsay, even by those who ignore Christianity or who are not familiar with it, because he left a very deep mark on the cultural life of the West and on the whole world. Because of his special importance Saint Augustine’s influence was widespread. It could be said on the one hand that all the roads of Latin Christian literature led to Hippo (today Annaba, on the coast of Algeria), the place where he was Bishop from 395 to his death in 430, and, on the other, that from this city of Roman Africa, many other roads of later Christianity and of Western culture itself branched out.

A civilization has seldom encountered such a great spirit who was able to assimilate Christianity’s values and exalt its intrinsic wealth, inventing ideas and forms that were to nourish the future generations. (Benedict XVI. General audience, January 9, 2008)

  • Have vigilance to not substitute the faith with a moralism without deep foundations, that seeks a praxis to better the world

Today we can note the many good fruit yielded by ecumenical dialogue. However, we must also recognize that the risk of a false irenism and of indifferentism – totally foreign to the thinking of the Second Vatican Council – demands our vigilance. This indifferentism is caused by the increasingly widespread opinion that truth is not accessible to man; hence it is necessary to limit oneself to finding rules for a praxis that can better the world. And like this, faith becomes substituted by a moralism without deep foundations. The centre of true ecumenism is, on the contrary, the faith in which the human being finds the truth which is revealed in the Word of God. Without faith the entire ecumenical movement would be reduced to a form of ‘social contract’ to which to adhere out of common interest, a ‘praxeology’, in order to create a better world. The logic of the Second Vatican Council is quite different: the sincere search for the full unity of all Christians is a dynamic inspired by the Word of God, by the divine Truth who speaks to us in this word. The crucial problem which marks ecumenical dialogue transversally is therefore the question of the structure of revelation – the relationship between Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in Holy Church and the Ministry of the Successors of the Apostles as a witness of true faith. And in this case the problem of ecclesiology which is part of this problem is implicit: how God’s truth reaches us. Fundamental here is the discernment between Tradition with a capital “T” and traditions. I do not want to go into detail but merely to make an observation. An important step in this discernment was made in the preparation and application of the provisions for groups of the Anglican Communion who wish to enter into full communion with the Church, in the unity of our common and essential divine Tradition, maintaining their own spiritual, liturgical and pastoral traditions which are in conformity with the Catholic faith (cf. Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, art. III). Indeed, a spiritual richness exists in the different Christian denominations which is an expression of the one faith and a gift to share and to seek together in the Tradition of the Church. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the Plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, January 27, 2012)

  • We cannot let ourselves be led by the ‘dictatorship of relativism’, or let ourselves be carried about by every wind of doctrine

Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true. Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Homily for the ‘Pro eligendo romano Pontifice’, April 18, 2005)

  • Even before the right to migrate, there is need to reaffirm the right not to emigrate

In the current social and political context, however, even before the right to migrate, there is need to reaffirm the right not to emigrate, that is, to remain in one’s homeland; as Blessed John Paul II stated: ‘It is a basic human right to live in one’s own country’. (Benedict XVI. Message for the World day of migrants and refugees, October 12, 2012)

  • States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers

States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. (Benedict XVI. Message for the 97th World day of migrants and refugees, One human family, September 27, 2010)

…judges Francis’ attitude towards public sinners, changing Vatican protocol

  • For Jesus, good is good, and evil is evil

To avoid any misunderstanding, it should be noted that Jesus’ mercy was not expressed by putting moral law in parentheses. For Jesus, good is good and evil is evil. Mercy does not change the connotations of sin but consumes it in a fire of love. This purifying and healing effect is achieved if within the person there is a corresponding love which implies recognition of God’s law, sincere repentance and the resolution to start a new life. (Benedict XVI. Homily in Assisi on the eighth centenary of the conversion of Saint Francis, June 17, 2007)

  • Jesus Christ aims always at saving the sinner, at offering him the possibility of converting

So when Jesus was passing through Jericho and stopped at the house of Zacchaeus, he caused a general scandal. The Lord, however, knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted, so to speak, to gamble, and he won the bet: Zacchaeus, deeply moved by Jesus’ visit, decided to change his life, and promised to restore four times what he had stolen. […] God […] sees in everyone a soul to save and is especially attracted to those who are judged as lost and who think themselves so. Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of God, has demonstrated this immense mercy, which takes nothing away from the gravity of sin, but aims always at saving the sinner, at offering him the possibility of redemption, of starting again from the beginning, of converting. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, October 31, 2010)

  • The sinner must be made to perceive that he has cut himself off by separating himself from the communion of the Church

The Gospel text […] tells us that brotherly love also involves a sense of mutual responsibility. For this reason if my brother commits a sin against me I must treat him charitably and first of all, speak to him privately, pointing out that what he has said or done is wrong. This approach is known as ‘fraternal correction’: it is not a reaction to the offence suffered but is motivated by love for one’s brethren. Saint Augustine comments: ‘Whoever has offended you, in offending you, has inflicted a serious injury upon himself; and would you not care for a brother’s injury? You must forget the offence you have received but not the injury of one of your brethren (Discourse 82, 7). And what if my brother does not listen to me? In today’s Gospel Jesus points to a gradual approach: first, speak to him again with two or three others, the better to help him realize what he has done; if, in spite of this, he still refuses to listen, it is necessary to tell the community; and if he refuses to listen even to the community, he must be made to perceive that he has cut himself off by separating himself from the communion of the Church. All this demonstrates that we are responsible for each other in the journey of Christian life; each person, aware of his own limitations and shortcomings, is called to accept fraternal correction and to help others with this specific service. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, September 4, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christ was stained by sin

  • God himself wished to share in our human condition, but not in the corruption of sin

St Paul has summed it for us in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, today’s Second Reading: ‘For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Cor 5:11). Our possibility of receiving divine forgiveness depends essentially on the fact that God himself, in the person of his Son, wished to share in our human condition, but not in the corruption of sin. (Benedict XVI. Homily on Ash Wednesday, February 12, 2012)

…judges Francis’ idea on John the Baptist doubting the Messiah

  • St. John the Baptist denied himself to make room for the Savior

St. John the Baptist, the greatest among the prophets of Christ, who was able to deny himself to make room for the Saviour and who suffered and died for the truth. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, August 29, 2010)

  • For love of the truth Saint John the Baptist did not stoop to compromises

In the Roman Calendar, he is the only saint whose birth and death, through martyrdom, are celebrated on the same day (in his case, 24 June). […] His role in relation to Jesus stands out clearly in the Gospels. St Luke in particular recounts his birth, his life in the wilderness and his preaching, while in today’s Gospel St Mark tells us of his dramatic death. […] John the Baptist did not limit himself to teaching repentance or conversion. Instead, in recognizing Jesus as the “Lamb of God” who came to take away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29), he had the profound humility to hold up Jesus as the One sent by God, drawing back so that he might take the lead, and be heard and followed. As his last act the Baptist witnessed with his blood to faithfulness to God’s commandments, without giving in or withdrawing, carrying out his mission to the very end. […] And he did not keep silent about the truth and thus died for Christ who is the Truth. Precisely for love of the truth he did not stoop to compromises and did not fear to address strong words to anyone who had strayed from God’s path. (Benedict XVI. General audience, August 29, 2012)

  • John denounced transgressions of God’s commandments, even when it was the powerful who were responsible for them

As an authentic prophet, John bore witness to the truth without compromise. He denounced transgressions of God´s commandments, even when it was the powerful who were responsible for them. Thus, when he accused Herod and Herodias of adultery, he paid with his life, sealing with martyrdom his service to Christ who is Truth in person. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, June 24, 2007)

  • Commemorating the birth of Saint John the Baptist actually means celebrating Christ

John the Baptist was the forerunner, the “voice” sent to proclaim the Incarnate Word. Thus, commemorating his birth actually means celebrating Christ, the fulfilment of the promises of all the prophets, among whom the greatest was the Baptist, called to “prepare the way” for the Messiah (cf. Mt 11: 9–10). (Benedict XVI. Angelus, June 24, 2007)

  • John the Baptist: the prophet who concludes the Old Testament and inaugurates the New

The four Gospels place great emphasis on the figure of John the Baptist, the prophet who concludes the Old Testament and inaugurates the New, by identifying Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the Anointed One of the Lord. In fact, Jesus himself was to speak of John in these terms: “This is he of whom it is written ‘Behold I send my messenger before your face, who shall prepare your way before you. Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he!” (Mt 11:10–11). (Benedict XVI. Angelus, June 24, 2012)

…judges Francis’ idea on confession

  • The priest acts and speaks ‘in persona Christi’

Just as in Baptism an ‘exchange of clothing’ is given, an exchanged destination, a new existential communion with Christ, so also in priesthood there is an exchange: in the administration of the sacraments, the priest now acts and speaks ‘in persona Christi’. In the sacred mysteries, he does not represent himself and does not speak expressing himself, but speaks for the Other, for Christ. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Chrism Mass, April 5, 2007)

  • Christ brings about what the priest would be incapable of: the absolution of sins

In order to understand what it means for the priest to act in persona Christi Capitis in the person of Christ the Head and to realize what consequences derive from the duty of representing the Lord, especially in the exercise of these three offices, it is necessary first of all to explain what ‘representation’ means. The priest represents Christ. What is implied by ‘representing’ someone? In ordinary language it usually means being delegated by someone to be present in his place, to speak and act in his stead because the person he represents is absent from the practical action. Let us ask ourselves: does the priest represent the Lord in this way? The answer is no, because in the Church Christ is never absent, the Church is his living Body and he is the Head of the Church, present and active within her. […] Therefore the priest, who acts in persona Christi Capitis and representing the Lord, never acts in the name of someone who is absent but, rather, in the very Person of the Risen Christ, who makes himself present with his truly effective action. He really acts today and brings about what the priest would be incapable of: the consecration of the wine and the bread so that they may really be the Lord’s presence, the absolution of sins. (Benedict XVI. General audience, April 14, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on reforming the Church

  • The Church’s structure should be oriented to the criterion of the truth of faith…

Naturally, the Church needs institutional and structural planning. Ecclesial institutions, pastoral planning and other juridical structures are, to a certain extent, simple needs. At times, however, they are presented as the essential, which makes it impossible to discern what is truly essential. They correspond to their authentic meaning only if they are assessed and oriented to the criterion of the truth of faith. In short, it must and will be faith itself in all its greatness, clarity and beauty that defines the rhythm of reform, which is fundamental and which we need. […] Above all, you will give your approval only to those structural reforms that are in full harmony with the Church’s teaching […]. (Benedict XVI. Address to the second group of German Bishops on their ad limina visit, November 18, 2008)

  • Missionary zeal: dispel the darkness of a world overwhelmed by the contradictory messages of ideologies!

I therefore say to you, dear friends of the Movements: act so as to ensure that they are always schools of communion, groups journeying on in which one learns to live in the truth and love that Christ revealed and communicated to us through the witness of the Apostles, in the heart of the great family of his disciples. May Jesus’ exhortation ceaselessly re-echo in your hearts: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’ (Mt 5: 16). Bring Christ’s light to all the social and cultural milieus in which you live. Missionary zeal is proof of a radical experience of ever renewed fidelity to one’s charism that surpasses any kind of weary or selfish withdrawal. Dispel the darkness of a world overwhelmed by the contradictory messages of ideologies! There is no valid beauty if there is not a truth to recognize and follow, if love gives way to transitory sentiment, if happiness becomes an elusive mirage or if freedom degenerates into instinct. (Benedict XVI. Message to the participants of the Second World Congress on Ecclesial Movements, May 22, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on switching Christ for interconfessionalism

  • Being a Bishop means knowing how to resist the wolves

Jesus, the ‘Bishop of souls’, is the prototype of every episcopal and presbyteral ministry. To be a Bishop, to be a priest, means in this perspective to assume the position of Christ. It means thinking, seeing and acting from his exalted vantage point. It means starting from Christ in order to be available to human beings so that they find life. Thus the word ‘Bishop’, is very close to the term ‘Shepherd’; indeed the two concepts become interchangeable. It is the shepherd’s task to feed and tend his flock and take it to the right pastures. Grazing the flock means taking care that the sheep find the right nourishment, that their hunger is satisfied and their thirst quenched. The metaphor apart, this means: the word of God is the nourishment that the human being needs. Making God’s word ever present and new and thereby giving nourishment to people is the task of the righteous Pastor. And he must also know how to resist the enemies, the wolves. He must go first, point out the way, preserve the unity of the flock. (Benedict XVI. Mass for the imposition of the sacred pallium on the new metropolitan Archbishops, June 29, 2009)

  • Jesus did not proclaim a grace without conditions

Next let us reflect further on this verse: Christ, the Saviour, gave to Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins (v. 31) in the Greek text the term is metanoia he gave repentance and pardon for sins. This to me is a very important observation: repentance is a grace. There is an exegetical trend that states that in Galilee Jesus would have proclaimed a grace without conditions, absolutely unconditional, therefore also without penitence, grace as such, without human preconditions. But this is a false interpretation of grace. Repentance is grace; it is a grace that we recognize our sin; it is a grace that we realize the need for renewal, for change, for the transformation of our being. Repentance the capacity to be penitent, is a gift of grace. (Benedict XVI. Eucharistic Concelebration with members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, April 15, 2010)

  • Be careful lest Christ become just one more name to adorn our theories

The contribution of Christians in Africa will only be decisive if their understanding of the faith shapes their understanding of the world. For that to happen, education in the faith is indispensable, lest Christ become just one more name to adorn our theories. The word of God and the testimony of life go together. But testimony on its own is not enough either, for “even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained and justified – what Peter called always having ‘your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have’ – and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus” (1Pet 3:15). (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Africae Munus, no. 32, November 19, 2011)

  • Christians are called to swim against the tide

The principal concern of the Synod members, as they looked to the situation of the continent, was to seek ways of inspiring in Christ’s disciples in Africa the will to become effectively committed to living out the Gospel in their daily lives and in society. Christ calls constantly for metanoia, conversion. Christians are affected by the spirit and customs of their time and place. But by the grace of their Baptism they are called to reject harmful prevailing currents and to swim against the tide. This kind of witness demands unswerving commitment in ‘ongoing conversion to the Father, the source of true life, who alone is capable of delivering us from evil and all temptations, and keeping us in his Spirit, in the very heart of the struggle against the forces of evil.’ Such conversion is possible only if one is sustained by the convictions of faith, supported by a genuine catechesis. It is right, then, to ‘maintain a living connection between memorized catechism and lived catechesis, which leads to a profound and permanent conversion of life.’ Conversion is experienced in a unique way through the sacrament of Reconciliation, which calls for particular attention so that it can serve as a genuine ‘school of the heart’. At this school, the disciple of Christ gradually forges an adult Christian life marked by an attention to the spiritual and moral dimensions of his actions, and thus becomes capable of ‘confronting the difficulties of social, political, economic and cultural life’ through a life permeated with the spirit of the Gospel. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Africae Munus, no. 32, November 19, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church called to dialogue

  • The preacher must proclaim the whole of God’s will in its totality

This is important; the Apostle did not preach an ‘à la carte’ Christianity to suit his own inclinations, he did not preach a Gospel to suit his own favourite theological ideas; he did not shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will, even an inconvenient will and even topics of which he was personally not so enamoured. It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But it is important that we teach and preach – as St Paul says here – and really propose the will of God in its entirety. […] Thus we must make known and understood – as far as we are able – the content of the Church’s Creed, from the Creation until the Lord’s return, until the new world. Doctrine, liturgy, morals, prayer – the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church – indicate this totality of God’s will. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina given at the meeting with the parish priests of the Rome Diocese, March 10, 2011)

  • People today need to be helped to establish and nurture a living relationship with God

People today need to be reminded of the ultimate purpose of their lives. They need to recognize that implanted within them is a deep thirst for God. They need to be given opportunities to drink from the wells of his infinite love. It is easy to be entranced by the almost unlimited possibilities that science and technology place before us; it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we can obtain by our own efforts the fulfillment of our deepest needs. This is an illusion. Without God, who alone bestows upon us what we by ourselves cannot attain (cf. Spe Salvi, 31), our lives are ultimately empty. People need to be constantly reminded to cultivate a relationship with him who came that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work, the object of our preaching, and the focus of our sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship with ‘Christ Jesus, our hope’ (1Tim 1:1). (Benedict XVI. Address for the celebration of vespers and meeting with the Bishops of the United States of America, April 16, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church’s fault for the Anglican schism

  • The Apostolic See has responded favourably and made available the means necessary to bring groups of Anglicans to full communion with the universal Church

In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be The Apostolic See has responded favourably individually as well as corporately.The Apostolic See has responded favourably to such petitions. Indeed, the successor of Peter, mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all the Churches, could not fail to make available the means necessary to bring this holy desire to realization. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, November 4, 2009)

  • Creation of Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans desiring to return to full communion with the Catholic Church

In the light of these ecclesiological principles, this Apostolic Constitution provides the general normative structure for regulating the institution and life of Personal Ordinariates for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner. This Constitution is completed by Complementary Norms issued by the Apostolic See.
1. §1 Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same Conference. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, November 4, 2009)

  • Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church

    § 1. Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfil the requisites established by canon law [cf. CIC, cann. 1026–1032] and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments [cf. CIC, cann. 1040–1049] may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus, n. 42 and in the Statement In June are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, November 4, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on Ecumenical dialogue

  • Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism

How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4: 14) comes true. Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Homily for the Pro eligendo Pontifice, April 18, 2005)

  • The first service that Christians can render to humanity: the proclamation and witness to the Gospel

Actually, the proclamation of and witness to the Gospel are the first service that Christians can render to every person and to the entire human race, called as they are to communicate to all God’s love, which was fully manifested in Jesus Christ, the one Redeemer of the world. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of the International Conference on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Conciliar decree Ad gentes, March 11, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on God judging us by loving us

  • Conversion without repentance is a false interpretation of grace

Next let us reflect further on this verse: Christ, the Savior, gave to Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins (v. 31) in the Greek text the term is metanoia he gave repentance and pardon for sins. This to me is a very important observation: repentance is a grace. There is an exegetical trend that states that in Galilee Jesus would have proclaimed a grace without conditions, absolutely unconditional, therefore also without penitence, grace as such, without human preconditions. But this is a false interpretation of grace. Repentance is grace; it is a grace that we recognize our sin; it is a grace that we realize the need for renewal, for change, for the transformation of our being. Repentance, the capacity to be penitent, is a gift of grace. And I must say that we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word penitence it seemed to us too difficult. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Eucharistic Concelebration with the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, April 15, 2010)

  • God is justice and creates justice

The image of the Last Judgement is not primarily an image of terror, but an image of hope; for us it may even be the decisive image of hope. Is it not also a frightening image? I would say: it is an image that evokes responsibility, an image, therefore, of that fear of which Saint Hilary spoke when he said that all our fear has its place in love. God is justice and creates justice. This is our consolation and our hope. And in his justice there is also grace. This we know by turning our gaze to the crucified and risen Christ. Both these things–justice and grace–must be seen in their correct inner relationship. Grace does not cancel out justice. It does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 44, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on Jesus asking forgiveness from his parents

  • Jesus’ answer shows that he had done nothing unusual or disobedient in staying at the Temple

In the episode of the 12-year-old Jesus, the first words of Jesus are also recorded: ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ (Lk 2:49). After three days spent looking for him his parents found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions (Lk 2:46). His answer to the question of why he had done this to his father and mother was that he had only done what the Son should do, that is, to be with his Father. Thus he showed who is the true Father, what is the true home, and that he had done nothing unusual or disobedient. He had stayed where the Son ought to be, that is, with the Father, and he stressed who his Father was. (Benedict XVI. General audience, December 28, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on Grace

  • In Saint Paul the power of God’s grace served as an inner ‘lever’ with which God could propel him onwards

Paul experienced in an extraordinary way the power of God’s grace […] All of his preaching and even more his entire missionary existence was sustained by an inner urge that can be traced back to the fundamental experience of ‘grace’. ‘By the grace of God I am what I am’, he writes to the Corinthians, ‘…I worked harder than any of them [the Apostles], though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me’ (1Cor 15:10). It is a question of an awareness that surfaces in all his writings and that served as an inner ‘lever’ with which God could propel him onwards, toward ever further boundaries, not only geographical but also spiritual. (Benedict XVI. Homily on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on Faith

  • Faith demands to be passed on: it was not given to us merely for ourselves

Faith demands to be passed on: it was not given to us merely for ourselves, for the personal salvation of our own souls, but for others, for this world and for our time. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Episcopal ordination of five new Bishops, September 12, 2009)

  • We do not ‘have’ faith in the sense that it must not be invented by us

‘How do we acquire a living faith, a truly Catholic faith, a faith that is practical, lively and effective?’ Faith, ultimately, is a gift. Consequently, the first condition is to let ourselves be given something, not to be self-sufficient or do everything by ourselves – because we cannot -, but to open ourselves in the awareness that the Lord truly gives. It seems to me that this gesture of openness is also the first gesture of prayer: being open to the Lord’s presence and to his gift. This is also the first step in receiving something that we do not have, that we cannot have with the intention of acquiring it all on our own. We must make this gesture of openness, of prayer – give me faith, Lord! – with our whole being. We must enter into this willingness to accept the gift and let ourselves, our thoughts, our affections and our will, be completely immersed in this gift. Here, I think it is very important to stress one essential point: no one believes purely on his own. . The Creed is always a shared act, it means letting ourselves be incorporated into a communion of progress, life, words and thought. We do not ‘have’ faith, in the sense that it is primarily God who gives it to us. Nor do we ‘have’ it either, in the sense that it must not be invented by us. We must let ourselves fall, so to speak, into the communion of faith, of the Church. Believing is in itself a Catholic act. It is participation in this great certainty, which is present in the Church as a living subject. (Benedict XVI. Meeting with the members of the Roman clergy, March 2. 2006)

  • We believe together with the Church

The other thing concerns the fact that we ourselves cannot invent faith, composing it with ‘sustainable’ pieces, but we believe together with the Church. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Bishops of Switzerland, November 7, 2006)

  • Faith is a gift, not a product of our thought or reflection

Faith is not a product of our thought or our reflection; it is something new that we cannot invent but only receive as a gift, as a new thing produced by God. (Benedict XVI. General audience, December 10, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on Catholic Faith and Lutheran belief

  • The Eucharist is found at the root of the Church as a mystery of communion

This is why Christian antiquity used the same words, Corpus Christi, to designate Christ’s body born of the Virgin Mary, his eucharistic body and his ecclesial body. This clear datum of the tradition helps us to appreciate the inseparability of Christ and the Church. The Lord Jesus, by offering himself in sacrifice for us, in his gift effectively pointed to the mystery of the Church. It is significant that the Second Eucharistic Prayer, invoking the Paraclete, formulates its prayer for the unity of the Church as follows: ‘may all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.’ These words help us to see clearly how the res of the sacrament of the Eucharist is the unity of the faithful within ecclesial communion. The Eucharist is thus found at the root of the Church as a mystery of communion. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, no. 15, February 22, 2007)

  • Faith is a gift – it is God who gives us faith; it is not invented by us

‘How do we acquire a living faith, a truly Catholic faith, a faith that is practical, lively and effective?’ Faith, ultimately, is a gift. […] We do not ‘have’ faith, in the sense that it is primarily God who gives it to us. Nor do we ‘have’ it either, in the sense that it must not be invented by us. (Benedict XVI. Meeting with the members of the Roman Clergy, March 2, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel only with gentleness

  • It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity – even when inconvenient

This is important; the Apostle did not preach an ‘à la carte’ Christianity to suit his own inclinations, he did not preach a Gospel to suit his own favourite theological ideas; he did not shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will, even an inconvenient will and even topics of which he was personally not so enamoured. It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But it is important that we teach and preach, as St Paul says here, and really propose the will of God in its entirety. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina given at the meeting with the parish priests of the Rome diocese, March 10, 2011)

  • Christian admonishment is always moved by love and mercy

I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. (Benedict XVI. Message for lent, 2012, no. 1, November 3, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on proclaiming the Gospel

  • The hermeneutic of discontinuity: a split between the pre-conciliar and the post-conciliar Church. This is to fundamentally misunderstand what a Council is

What has been the result of the Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? […] The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult? Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or – as we would say today – on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarreled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit. On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call ‘a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture’; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the ‘hermeneutic of reform’, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God. The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. […] The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way, it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005)

  • We must see the Council in this perspective of continuity

This point is also important with regard to the Council. We need not, as I said to the Roman Curia before Christmas, live the hermeneutic of discontinuity, but rather the hermeneutic of renewal, which is the spirituality of continuity, of going ahead in continuity. […] We must accept newness but also love continuity, and we must see the Council in this perspective of continuity. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Roman clergy, March 2, 2006)

  • The Church, both before and after the Council, was and is the same Church

The Church, both before and after the Council, was and is the same Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic, journeying on through time; she continues ‘her pilgrimage amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God’, proclaiming the death of the Lord until he comes (cf. Lumen Gentium, no. 8). (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005)

  • Proclaim the Gospel without fear or reticence, never yielding to the conditioning of the world

The truth about Gospel love concerns every person and the whole person, and involves the Pastor in proclaiming it without fear or reticence, and never yielding to the conditioning of the world in season and out of season (cf. 2Tim 4:2). Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, in a time such as our own, marked by the growing phenomenon of globalization, it is ever more necessary to make the truth about Christ and his Gospel of salvation reach everyone. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the 11th Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, June 1, 2006)

  • The Church of love is also the Church of truth and fidelity to the Gospel

The Church of love is also the Church of truth, understood primarily as fidelity to the Gospel entrusted by the Lord Jesus to his followers. It was being made children of the same Father by the Spirit of truth that gave rise to Christian brotherhood: ‘For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God’ (Rom 8:14). However, if the family of God’s children is to live in unity and peace, it needs someone to keep it in the truth and guide it with wise and authoritative discernment: this is what the ministry of the Apostles is required to do. (Benedict XVI. General audience, April 5, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on new forms of poverty

  • …but there are those who have totally destroyed their desire for truth

There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people for whom everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 45, November 30, 2007)

  • It is not enough to care for the body, we must adorn the soul with the divine gifts acquired through Baptism

Through treatment, which includes medical, psychological and educational assistance, and through much prayer, manual work and discipline, many people – especially young people –have already succeeded in freeing themselves from alcohol and drug dependency, thereby recovering meaning in their lives. I wish to express my appreciation for this work, which has the charism of Saint Francis and the spirituality of the Focolare Movement as its spiritual foundation. Reintegration in society undoubtedly demonstrates the effectiveness of your initiative. Yet it is the conversions, the rediscovery of God and active participation in the life of the Church which attract even greater attention and which confirm the importance of your work. It is not enough to care for the body, we must adorn the soul with the most precious divine gifts acquired through Baptism. Let us thank God for all those who have set out along the path of renewed hope, with the help of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the celebration of the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Community of Fazenda da Esperança, no. 4, May 25, 2007)

  • The Church’s charitable activity is not just another form of social assistance

For this reason, it is very important that the Church’s charitable activity maintains all of its splendour and does not become just another form of social assistance. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 31, December 25, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on the ‘Bread of Life’

  • In the Eucharist Jesus offers his own body and pours out his own blood

In the Eucharist Jesus does not give us a ‘thing,’ but himself; he offers his own body and pours out his own blood. He thus gives us the totality of his life and reveals the ultimate origin of this love. He is the eternal Son, given to us by the Father. In the Gospel we hear how Jesus, after feeding the crowds by multiplying the loaves and fishes, says to those who had followed him to the synagogue of Capernaum: ‘My Father gives you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world’ (Jn 6:32-33), and even identifies himself, his own flesh and blood, with that bread: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh’ (Jn 6:51). Jesus thus shows that he is the bread of life which the eternal Father gives to mankind. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 7, February 22, 2007)

  • By receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ we become sharers in the divine life in a more conscious way

The Lord Jesus, who became for us the food of truth and love, speaks of the gift of his life and assures us that ‘if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever’ (Jn 6:51). This ‘eternal life’ begins in us even now, thanks to the transformation effected in us by the gift of the Eucharist: ‘He who eats me will live because of me’ (Jn 6:57). These words of Jesus make us realize how the mystery ‘believed’ and ‘celebrated’ contains an innate power making it the principle of new life within us and the form of our Christian existence. By receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ we become sharers in the divine life in an ever more adult and conscious way. Here too, we can apply Saint Augustine’s words, in his Confessions, about the eternal Logos as the food of our souls. Stressing the mysterious nature of this food, Augustine imagines the Lord saying to him: ‘I am the food of grown men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you change me, like the food of your flesh, into yourself, but you shall be changed into me’ (VII, 10, 16: PL 32, 742). It is not the eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we who are mysteriously transformed by it. Christ nourishes us by uniting us to himself; ‘he draws us into himself’. (Benedict XVI, Homily at Marienfeld Esplanade, 21 August 2005 (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 70, February 22, 2007)

  • With the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus announces the Eucharistic Bread

Afterwards, the people, seeing this miracle [the multiplication of the loaves], that seemed to be the much-awaited renewal of a new ‘manna’, of the gift of bread from heaven, wanted to make him king. But Jesus does not accept and withdraws into the hills by himself to pray. The following day, on the other side of the lake in the Synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus explained the miracle – not in the sense of a kingship over Israel with a worldly power in the way the crowds hoped, but in the sense of the gift of self: ‘The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh’ (Jn 6: 51). Jesus announces the Cross and with the Cross the true multiplication of the loaves, the Eucharistic bread his absolutely new way of kingship, a way completely contrary to the expectations of the people. (Benedict XVI. General audience, May 24, 2006)

  • The Eucharist is nourishment for the soul

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of bread; for the Eucharist, nourishment of the soul, as well as for our daily bread, nourishment for the body. May God bless the harvest of this year and all of those working for it. (Benedict XVI. General audience, greeting to the Polish pilgrims, August 19, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus is only mercy

  • Justice and charity coincide in God

Justice and mercy, justice and charity on which the Church’s charity is hinged, are two different realities only for the human person. For we distinguish carefully between a just act and an act of love. For us ‘just’ means ‘what is due to the other’, while ‘merciful’ is what is given out of kindness. One seems to exclude the other. Yet for God it is not like this: justice and charity coincide in him; there is no just action that is not also an act of mercy and pardon, and at the same time, there is no merciful action that is not perfectly just. How far God’s logic is from our own! And how different is his way of acting from ours! (Benedict XVI. Address in the Rebibbia district prison, Rome, December 18, 2011)

  • The parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus shows how earthly wickedness is overturned by divine justice

Today, Luke’s Gospel presents to us the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus (Lk 16: 19-31). […] The story shows how earthly wickedness is overturned by divine justice: after his death, Lazarus was received ‘in the bosom of Abraham’, that is, into eternal bliss; whereas the rich man ended up ‘in Hades, in torment’. This is a new and definitive state of affairs against which no appeal can be made, which is why one must mend one’s ways during one’s life; to do so after serves no purpose. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, September 30, 2007)

  • God is the one who proclaims justice forcefully

Dear brothers and sisters, human justice and divine justice differ greatly. People are unable of course to apply divine justice. However they must at least look at it, seeking to understand the profound spirit that motivates it so that it may also illumine human justice and thereby prevent the inmate from becoming an outcast, which unfortunately happens all too often. […] God is the one who proclaims justice forcefully but at the same time heals wounds with the balm of mercy. The parable in Matthew’s Gospel of the laborers, called to work by day in the vineyard (Mt 20:1-16), enables us to understand the difference between human and divine justice because it makes the delicate relationship between justice and mercy explicit. The parable describes a farmer who hired laborers to work in his vineyard. But he did so at different times of day so that some of them worked all day and others only for an hour. When the time came to pay their wages the owner of the vineyard elicited amazement and started a discussion among the laborers. The matter concerned the generosity — considered unfair by those present — of the vineyard owner who decided to give the same remuneration to the workers hired in the morning as to those hired in the afternoon. In the human perspective this decision was an authentic form of unfairness, from God’s viewpoint an act of kindness, because divine justice gives to each what he is due and includes in addition mercy and forgiveness. (Benedict XVI. Address in the Rebibbia district prison, Rome, December 18, 2011)

  • Injustice: its origin lies in the human heart in a mysterious cooperation with evil

The Evangelist Mark reports the following words of Jesus, which are inserted within the debate at that time regarding what is pure and impure: ‘There is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him … What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts (Mk 7:14-15, 20-21). Beyond the immediate question concerning food, we can detect in the reaction of the Pharisees a permanent temptation within man: to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause. Many modern ideologies deep down have this presupposition: since injustice comes ‘from outside,’ in order for justice to reign, it is sufficient to remove the exterior causes that prevent it being achieved. This way of thinking – Jesus warns – is ingenuous and shortsighted. Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots; its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious cooperation with evil. (Benedict XVI. Message for Lent 2010, October 30, 2009)

  • Justice signifies full acceptance of the will of the God, and equity in relation to one’s neighbor

At the heart of the wisdom of Israel, we find a profound link between faith in God who ‘lifts the needy from the ash heap’ (Ps 113:7) and justice towards one’s neighbor. The Hebrew word itself that indicates the virtue of justice, sedaqah, expresses this well. Sedaqah, in fact, signifies on the one hand full acceptance of the will of the God of Israel; on the other hand, equity in relation to one’s neighbour (cf. Ex 20:12-17). (Benedict XVI. Message for Lent 2010, October 30, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on the poor being the heart of the Gospel

  • Christ lives in the Sacred Scriptures

The Church knows well that Christ lives in the Sacred Scriptures. For this very reason – as the Constitution stresses – she has always venerated the divine Scriptures in the same way as she venerates the Body of the Lord (cf. Dei Verbum, no. 21). (Benedict XVI. Address for the 40th anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine revelation Dei Verbum, September 16, 2005)

  • God’s love for man is the heart of the Gospel

The Letter to the Hebrews has set us before Christ, the eternal High Priest, exalted to the Father’s glory after offering himself as the one perfect sacrifice of the New Covenant in which the work of Redemption was accomplished. St Augustine fixed his gaze on this mystery and in it he found the Truth he was so ardently seeking. Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, the Sacrificed and Risen Lamb, is the Face of God-Love for every human being on his journey along the paths of time towards eternity. The Apostle John writes in a passage that can be considered parallel to the one just proclaimed in the Letter to the Hebrews: ‘In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins’ (I Jn 4: 10). Here is the heart of the Gospel, the central nucleus of Christianity. (Benedict XVI. Homily during the pastoral visit to Vigevano and Pavia, Italy, April 22, 2007)

  • The Gospel transmits a universal message: ‘Make disciples of all nations’

The Church, in other words, must constantly rededicate herself to her mission. The three Synoptic Gospels highlight various aspects of the missionary task. The mission is built first of all upon personal experience: ‘You are witnesses’ (Lk 24:48); it finds expression in relationships: ‘Make disciples of all nations’ (Mt 28:19); and it spreads a universal message: ‘Preach the Gospel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15). Through the demands and constraints of the world, however, this witness is constantly obscured, the relationships are alienated and the message is relativized. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Catholics engaged in the life of the Church and society, September 25, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea that Koran is a book of peace

  • There is no peace without justice

You know, as I do, that authentic peace is only possible when justice reigns. Our world is thirsting for peace and justice. (Benedict XVI. Address to the new ambassadors to the Holy See, December 18, 2008)

  • Peace is a heavenly gift and a divine grace that demands conforming human history to the divine order

Seen in this way, peace appears as a heavenly gift and a divine grace which demands at every level the exercise of the highest responsibility: that of conforming human history–in truth, justice, freedom and love–to the divine order. Whenever there is a loss of fidelity to the transcendent order, and a loss of respect for that ‘grammar’ of dialogue which is the universal moral law written on human hearts, whenever the integral development of the person and the protection of his fundamental rights are hindered or denied, whenever countless people are forced to endure intolerable injustices and inequalities, how can we hope that the good of peace will be realized? The essential elements which make up the truth of that good are missing. Saint Augustine described peace as tranquillitas Ordinis (De Civitate Dei, XIX, 13) the tranquillity of order. By this, he meant a situation which ultimately enables the truth about man to be fully respected and realized. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, no. 4, January 1, 2006)

  • Peace also demands of everyone a personal response consistent with God’s plan – according to the ‘grammar’ written on human hearts

The transcendent ‘grammar’, that is to say the body of rules for individual action and the reciprocal relationships of persons in accordance with justice and solidarity, is inscribed on human consciences, in which the wise plan of God is reflected. As I recently had occasion to reaffirm: ‘we believe that at the beginning of everything is the Eternal Word, Reason and not Unreason’ (Homily at Regensburg, 12 September 2006). Peace is thus also a task demanding of everyone a personal response consistent with God’s plan. The criterion inspiring this response can only be respect for the ‘grammar’ written on human hearts by the divine Creator. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

  • Recognition and respect for natural law: fundamental presupposition for authentic peace

Recognition and respect for natural law represents the foundation for a dialogue between the followers of the different religions and between believers and non-believers. As a great point of convergence, this is also a fundamental presupposition for authentic peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

  • Peace on earth cannot be found without reconciliation with God

Peace on earth cannot be found without reconciliation with God, without harmony between Heaven and earth. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Roman Curia, December 22. 2006)

  • Sin: a progressive rejection of peace

Mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLVI World Day of Peace, no. 3, January 1. 2013)

  • It is only through the Redemption that man can overcome the progressive rejection of peace, and be an authentic peacemaker

To become authentic peacemakers, it is fundamental to keep in mind our transcendent dimension and to enter into constant dialogue with God, the Father of mercy, whereby we implore the redemption achieved for us by his only-begotten Son. In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLVI World Day of Peace, no. 3, January 1. 2013)

  • True peace comes from Christ

True peace comes from Christ (cf. Jn 14:27). It cannot be compared with the peace that the world gives. It is not the fruit of negotiations and diplomatic agreements based on particular interests. It is the peace of a humanity reconciled with itself in God, a peace of which the Church is the sacrament. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Africae munus, no. 30, November 30, 2011)

  • Wherever Christ is welcomed, islands of peace develop

Et erit iste pax’ – this will be peace, the Prophet Micah says (Mic 5:4) about the future ruler of Israel, whose birth in Bethlehem he announces. The Angels said to the shepherds grazing their flocks in the fields around Bethlehem: ‘on earth peace among men’, the expected One has arrived (Lk 2:14). He himself, Christ, the Lord, said to his disciples: ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you’ (Jn 14:27). It is from these words that the liturgical greeting developed: ‘Peace be with you’. This peace that is communicated in the liturgy is Christ himself. He gives himself to us as peace, as reconciliation beyond all frontiers. Wherever he is welcomed, islands of peace develop. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006)

  • Peace in this world always remains weak and fragile for it implies opening our hearts to God

We human beings would have liked Christ to banish all wars once and for all, to destroy weapons and establish universal peace. But we have to learn that peace cannot be attained only from the outside with structures, and that the attempt to establish it with violence leads only to ever new violence. We must learn that peace – as the Angel of Bethlehem said – is connected with eudokia, with the opening of our hearts to God. We must learn that peace can only exist if hatred and selfishness are overcome from within. The human being must be renewed from within, must become new and different. Thus, peace in this world always remains weak and fragile. We suffer from this. For this very reason we are called especially to let ourselves be penetrated within by God’s peace and to take his power into the world. All that was wrought in and through the Sacrament of Baptism must be fulfilled in our lives: the dying of the former self, hence, the rebirth of the new. And we will pray to the Lord insistently over and over again: Please move hearts! Make us new people! Help the reason of peace to overcome the irrationality of violence! Make us bearers of your peace! (Benedict XVI. Address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2006)

  • Jesus builds the great new community of new men who place their will in his

The stable becomes a palace – and setting out from this starting-point, Jesus builds the great new community, whose key-word the angels sing at the hour of his birth: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those whom he loves’ – those who place their will in his, in this way becoming men of God, new men, a new world. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, December 25, 2007)

  • Christ is our true peace: in him there is but one family reconciled in love

‘Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity’. We Christians believe that Christ is our true peace: in him, by his Cross, God has reconciled the world to himself and has broken down the walls of division that separated us from one another (cf. Eph 2:14 – 18); in him, there is but one family, reconciled in love. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLV World Day of Peace, no. 5, January 1, 2012)

  • If peace is to be authentic and lasting it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man

For her part, the Church, in fidelity to the mission she has received from her Founder, is committed to proclaiming everywhere ‘the Gospel of peace’. In the firm conviction that she offers an indispensable service to all those who strive to promote peace, she reminds everyone that, if peace is to be authentic and lasting, it must be built on the bedrock of the truth about God and the truth about man. This truth alone can create a sensitivity to justice and openness to love and solidarity, while encouraging everyone to work for a truly free and harmonious human family. The foundations of authentic peace rest on the truth about God and man. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, no. 15, January 1, 2006)

  • Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman

Who and what, then, can prevent the coming of peace? Sacred Scripture, in its very first book, Genesis, points to the lie told at the very beginning of history by the animal with a forked tongue, whom the Evangelist John calls ‘the father of lies’ (Jn 8:44). Lying is also one of the sins spoken of in the final chapter of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, which bars liars from the heavenly Jerusalem: ‘outside are… all who love falsehood’ (Jn 22:15). Lying is linked to the tragedy of sin and its perverse consequences, which have had, and continue to have, devastating effects on the lives of individuals and nations. […] Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman; it is decisive for the peaceful future of our planet. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XXXIX World Day of Peace, January 1, 2006)

  • A fundamental presupposition for authentic peace: respect for the Natural Law– to carry out the divine plan inscribed in the nature of human beings

From this standpoint, the norms of the natural law should not be viewed as externally imposed decrees, as restraints upon human freedom. Rather, they should be welcomed as a call to carry out faithfully the universal divine plan inscribed in the nature of human beings. Guided by these norms, all peoples – within their respective cultures – can draw near to the greatest mystery, which is the mystery of God. Today too, recognition and respect for natural law represents the foundation for a dialogue between the followers of the different religions and between believers and non-believers. As a great point of convergence, this is also a fundamental presupposition for authentic peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XL World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

  • Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara – by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. […] The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur’an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between – as they were called – three ‘Laws’ or ‘rules of life’: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur’an. […] In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’. According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the ‘Book’ and the ‘infidels’, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’ The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. ‘God’, he says, ‘is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…’. The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this; not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practice idolatry. (Benedict XVI. Address in the University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • Sufferings of the Christian community in Iraq

Sadly, the year now ending has again been marked by persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence and religious intolerance. My thoughts turn in a special way to the beloved country of Iraq, which continues to be a theatre of violence and strife as it makes its way towards a future of stability and reconciliation. I think of the recent sufferings of the Christian community, and in particular the reprehensible attack on the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baghdad, where on 31 October two priests and over fifty faithful were killed as they gathered for the celebration of Holy Mass. In the days that followed, other attacks ensued, even on private homes, spreading fear within the Christian community and a desire on the part of many to emigrate in search of a better life. I assure them of my own closeness and that of the entire Church, a closeness which found concrete expression in the recent Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. The Synod encouraged the Catholic communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East to live in communion and to continue to offer a courageous witness of faith in those lands. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XLIV World Day of Peace, no. 1, January 1, 2011)

  • Numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East

Consequently, if the glorification of God and earthly peace are closely linked, it seems evident that peace is both God’s gift and a human task, one which demands our free and conscious response. For this reason, I wished my annual Message for the World Day of Peace to bear the title: Blessed are the Peacemakers. Civil and political authorities before all others have a grave responsibility to work for peace. They are the first called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East. I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins. Your Excellencies, allow me to ask you to continue to make your Governments aware of this, so that essential aid will urgently be made available to face this grave humanitarian situation. I now turn with deep concern towards the Holy Land. Following Palestine’s recognition as a Non-Member Observer State of the United Nations, I again express the hope that, with the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians will commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the framework of two sovereign states, where respect for justice and the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples will be preserved and guaranteed. Jerusalem, become what your name signifies! A city of peace and not of division; a prophecy of the Kingdom of God and not a byword for instability and opposition!

As I turn my thoughts towards the beloved Iraqi people, I express my hope that they will pursue the path of reconciliation in order to arrive at the stability for which they long.

In Lebanon, where last September I met the various groups which make up society, may the many religious traditions there be cultivated by all as a true treasure for the country and for the whole region, and may Christians offer an effective witness for the building of a future of peace, together with all men and women of good will!

In North Africa too, cooperation between all the members of society is of primary concern, and each must be guaranteed full citizenship, the liberty publicly to profess their religion and the ability to contribute to the common good. I assure all Egyptians of my closeness and my prayers at this time when new institutions are being set in place.

Turning to sub-Saharan Africa, I encourage the efforts being made to build peace, especially in those places where the wounds of war remain open and where their grave humanitarian consequences are being felt. I think particularly of the Horn of Africa, and the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where new of acts of violence have erupted, forcing many people to abandon their homes, families and surroundings. Nor can I fail to mention other threats looming on the horizon. Nigeria is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap victims above all among the Christian faithful gathered in prayer, as if hatred intended to turn temples of prayer and peace into places of fear and division. I was deeply saddened to learn that, even in the days when we celebrated Christmas, some Christians were barbarously put to death. Mali is also torn by violence and marked by a profound institutional and social crisis, one which calls for the effective attention of the international community. In the Central African Republic, I hope that the talks announced as taking place shortly will restore stability and spare the people from reliving the throes of civil war. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, January 7, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea that Jesus came into the world to learn how to be a man

  • From the splendor of divinity, Christ chose to descend to the humiliation of ‘death on a cross’ to then manifest Himself in the splendor of his divine majesty

Already in the past we have underlined that this text contains a two-way movement: descent and ascent. In the first, Christ Jesus, from the splendour of divinity which by nature belongs to him, chooses to descend to the humiliation of ‘death on a cross’. In this way he shows himself to be truly man and our Redeemer, with an authentic and full participation in our human reality of suffering and death. The second movement, upwards, reveals the paschal glory of Christ, who manifests himself once more after death in the splendour of his divine majesty. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, no. 1-2, October 26, 2005)

  • Jesus’ death stems from his free choice of obedience to the Father’s plan of salvation

This radical and true sharing in the human condition, with the exception of sin (cf. Heb 4:15), leads Jesus to the boundary that is a sign of our finite condition and transience: death. However, it is not the product of an obscure mechanism or a blind fatalism. It stems from his free choice of obedience to the Father’s plan of salvation (cf. Phil 2: 8). (Benedict XVI. General Audience, no. 3, June 1, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea that spiritual direction is a charism of the laity

  • Priests have the munus docendi, the task of teaching – they must answer the fundamental questions about what we must do in order to do good

The first duty of which I wish to speak today is the munus docendi, that is, the task of teaching. Today, in the midst of the educational emergency, the munus docendi of the Church, exercised concretely through the ministry of each priest, is particularly important. We are very confused about the fundamental choices in our life and question what the world is, where it comes from, where we are going, what we must do in order to do good, how we should live and what the truly pertinent values are. Regarding all this, there are numerous contrasting philosophies that come into being and disappear, creating confusion about the fundamental decisions on how to live; because collectively we no longer know from what and for what we have been made and where we are going. […] This is the function in persona Christi of the priest: making present, in the confusion and bewilderment of our times, the light of God’s Word, the light that is Christ himself in this our world. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, April 14, 2010)

  • An essential part of the priest’s grace is the task of putting others in touch with God

No man on his own, relying on his own power, can put another in touch with God. An essential part of the priest’s grace is the gift, the task of creating this contact. This is achieved in the proclamation of God’s word in which his light comes to meet us. It is achieved in a particularly concentrated manner in the Sacraments. Immersion in the Paschal Mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ takes place in Baptism, is reinforced in Confirmation and Reconciliation and is nourished by the Eucharist, a sacrament that builds the Church as the People of God, Body of Christ, Temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. John Paul II, Pastores Gregis, no. 32). Thus it is Christ himself who makes us holy, that is, who draws us into God’s sphere. However, as an act of his infinite mercy, he calls some ‘to be’ with him (cf. Mk 3:14) and to become, through the Sacrament of Orders, despite their human poverty, sharers in his own priesthood, ministers of this sanctification. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, May 5, 2010)

  • Christ tends his flock through the Pastors of the Church

Christ tends his flock through the Pastor of the Church, in fact: it is he who guides, protects and corrects them, because he loves them deeply. But the Lord Jesus, the supreme Shepherd of our souls, has willed that the Apostolic College, today the Bishops, in communion with the Successor of Peter and the priests, their most precious collaborators, to participate in his mission of taking care of God’s People, of educating them in the faith and of guiding, inspiring and sustaining the Christian community. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, May 26, 2010)

  • Every priest is called to help the penitent to walk on the demanding path of holiness

‘Spiritual direction’ also contributes to forming consciences. Today there is a greater need than in the past for wise and holy ‘spiritual teachers’: an important ecclesial service. This of course requires an inner vitality which must be implored as a gift from the Holy Spirit in intense and prolonged prayer and with a special training that must be acquired with care. Every priest moreover is called to administer divine mercy in the sacrament of Penance, through which he forgives sins in the name of Christ and helps the penitent to walk on the demanding path of holiness with an upright and informed conscience. To be able to carry out this indispensable ministry, every priest must tend to his own spiritual life and take care to keep himself pastorally and theologically up to date. (Benedict XVI. Message to participants in the course organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, March 12, 2009)

  • Listening to the confessor’s advice is important for the spiritual journey of the penitent

Dear priests, do not neglect to allow enough room for the exercise of the ministry of Penance in the confessional: to be welcomed and heard is also a human sign of God’s welcoming kindness to his children. Moreover the integral confession of sins teaches the penitent humility, recognition of his or her own frailty and, at the same time, an awareness of the need for God’s forgiveness and the trust that divine Grace can transform his life. Likewise, listening to the confessor’s recommendations and advice is important for judging actions, for the spiritual journey and for the inner healing of the penitent. (Benedict XVI. Address to participants in the course on the internal forum organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, March 25, 2011)

  • In the saintly priest, the Christian People recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd

May Saint John Mary Vianney be an example to all priests. He was a man of great wisdom and heroic fortitude in resisting the cultural and social pressures of his time in order to lead souls to God: simplicity, fidelity and immediacy were the essential features of his preaching, the transparency of his faith and of his holiness. The Christian People was edified by him and as happens for genuine teachers in every epoch recognized in him the light of the Truth. In him it recognized, ultimately, what should always be recognizable in a priest: the voice of the Good Shepherd. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, April 14, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on adulterine unions

  • The trials of Christians are indeed numerous, but they must be faithful to God in their marriage

Overcoming the temptation to subject God to oneself and one’s own interests, or to put him in a corner and be converted to the correct order of priorities, giving God first place, is a journey that each and every Christian must make over and over again. […] The trials to which society today subjects Christians are indeed numerous and affect their personal and social life. It is far from easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, to practice mercy in daily life, to make room for prayer and inner silence; it is far from easy to oppose publicly the decisions that many take for granted, such as abortion in the case of unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in the case of serious illness and embryo selection in order to prevent hereditary diseases. The temptation to set faith aside is always present and conversion becomes a response to God that must be strengthened several times in life. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, February 13, 2013)

  • Materialistic ideologies tell us it is absurd to observe God’s commandments

Today too, the dragon exists in new and different ways. It exists in the form of materialistic ideologies that tell us it is absurd to think of God; it is absurd to observe God’s commandments: they are a leftover from a time past. Life is only worth living for its own sake. Take everything we can get in this brief moment of life. Consumerism, selfishness and entertainment alone are worthwhile. This is life. This is how we must live. And once again, it seems absurd, impossible, to oppose this dominant mindset with all its media and propagandist power. Today too, it seems impossible to imagine a God who created man and made himself a Child and who was to be the true ruler of the world. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15, 2007)

  • The only joy that fills the human heart comes from God: the cross of Christ

Can true happiness exist when God is left out of consideration? Experience shows that we are not happy because our material expectations and needs are satisfied. In fact, the only joy that fills the human heart is that which comes from God: indeed, we stand in need of infinite joy. Neither daily concerns nor life’s difficulties succeed in extinguishing the joy that is born from friendship with God. Jesus’ invitation to take up one’s cross and follow him may at first sight seem harsh and contrary to what we hope for, mortifying our desire for personal fulfilment. At a closer look, however, we discover that it is not like this: the witness of the saints shows that in the Cross of Christ, in the love that is given, in renouncing the possession of oneself, one finds that deep serenity which is the source of generous dedication to our brethren, especially to the poor and the needy, and this also gives us joy. The Lenten journey of conversion on which we are setting out today together with the entire Church thus becomes a favourable opportunity, ‘the acceptable time’ (2Cor 6:2) for renewing our filial abandonment in the hands of God and for putting into practice what Jesus continues to repeat to us: ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mk 8: 34) and this is how one ventures forth on the path of love and true happiness. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, February 6, 2008)

  • The Church has received from its Founder the mission of showing people the way to true happiness: fidelity to the words of Christ

My dear young friends […] Love and follow the Church, for it has received from its Founder the mission of showing people the way to true happiness. It is not easy to recognise and find authentic happiness in this world in which we live, where people are often held captive by the current ways of thinking. They may think they are ; ‘free’, but they are being led astray and become lost amid the errors or illusions of aberrant ideologies. ‘Freedom itself needs to be set free’ (cf. Veritatis Splendor, 86), and the darkness in which humankind is groping needs to be illuminated. Jesus taught us how this can be done: ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’ (Jn 8:31-32). The incarnate Word, Word of Truth, makes us free and directs our freedom towards the good. (Benedict XVI. Message to the youth of the 21st World Youth Day, April 9, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on good-will replacing theological investigation

  • We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church

It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society. In reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied. Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people. We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (cf. Mt 5:13-16). The people of today can still experience the need to go to the well, like the Samaritan woman, in order to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within him (cf. Jn 4:14). We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples (cf. Jn 6:51). Indeed, the teaching of Jesus still resounds in our day with the same power: ‘Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life’ (Jn 6:27). (Benedict XVI. Apostolic letter ‘motu proprio dataPorta fidei, no. 2-3, October 11.2011)

  • A type of dialogue totally foreign to the thinking of the Second Vatican Council: irenism and indifferentism

The coherence of the ecumenical endeavour with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and with the entire Tradition, has been one of the areas to which the Congregation has always paid attention, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Today we can note the many good fruit yielded by ecumenical dialogue. However, we must also recognize that the risk of a false irenism and of indifferentism totally foreign to the thinking of the Second Vatican Council demands our vigilance. This indifferentism is caused by the increasingly widespread opinion that truth is not accessible to man; hence it is necessary to limit oneself to finding rules for a praxis that can better the world. And like this, faith becomes substituted by a moralism without deep foundations. The centre of true ecumenism is, on the contrary, the faith in which the human being finds the truth which is revealed in the Word of God. Without faith the entire ecumenical movement would be reduced to a form of ‘social contract’ to which to adhere out of common interest, a ‘praxeology’, in order to create a better world. The logic of the Second Vatican Council is quite different: the sincere search for the full unity of all Christians is a dynamic inspired by the Word of God, by the divine Truth who speaks to us in this word. The crucial problem which marks ecumenical dialogue transversally is therefore the question of the structure of revelation the relationship between Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in Holy Church and the Ministry of the Successors of the Apostles as a witness of true faith. And in this case the problem of ecclesiology which is part of this problem is implicit: how God’s truth reaches us. Fundamental here is the discernment between Tradition with a capital ‘T’ and traditions. (Benedict XVI. Address to participants in the plenary meeting of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, January 27, 2012)

  • The principle of unity, the Holy Spirit, is manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety

It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion. He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer. The Church, however, analogous to the mystery of the Incarnate Word, is not only an invisible spiritual communion, but is also visible; in fact, ‘the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, the visible society and the spiritual community, the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches, are not to be thought of as two realities. On the contrary, they form one complex reality formed from a two-fold element, human and divine’ (Lumen gentium, 8). The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, November 4, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on family

  • An institution of natural law based on the marriage between a man and woman

These rights are inalienable precisely because man possesses them by his very nature, and consequently, they are not at the service of other interests. Among them should be mentioned first of all the right to life at every stage of its development and in all circumstances. Mention should also be made of the right to form a family, based on bonds of love and faithfulness and established in marriage between a man and a woman, which must be given protection and assistance if it is to fulfil its incomparable task as a source of successful coexistence and as the basic cell of all society. Moreover, the primary right to educate children in accordance with the ideals with which their parents have desired to enrich them by joyfully welcoming them into their lives is implicit in the family as a natural institution. (Benedict XVI. Address to H.E. Mr. Pedro Pablo Cabrera Gaete, new Ambassador of Chile to the Holy See, no. 3, September 8, 2006)

  • Marriage has value as a natural institution and as a Sacrament

Your duty as Pastors consists in presenting in its full richness the extraordinary value of marriage, which as a natural institution is a ‘patrimony of humanity’. Moreover, its elevation to the loftiest dignity of a Sacrament must be seen with gratitude and wonder, as I recently said, affirming: ‘The Sacramental quality that marriage assumes in Christ therefore means that the gift of creation has been raised to the grace of redemption. Christ’s grace is not an external addition to human nature, it does not do violence to men and women but sets them free and restores them, precisely by raising them above their own limitations’ (Address to the Ecclesial Diocesan Convention of Rome, June 6, 2005; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, June 15, p. 6). (Benedict XVI. Address at a meeting on family and life issues in Latin America, no. 3, December 3, 2005)

  • Raised to the dignity of a Sacrament, marriage confers greater splendor and depth to the conjugal bond

In the Christian vision, moreover, marriage, which Christ raised to the most exalted dignity of a Sacrament, confers greater splendour and depth on the conjugal bond and more powerfully binds the spouses who, blessed by the Lord of the Covenant, promise each other faithfulness until death in love that is open to life. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 13, 2006)

  • The Lord is the centre and heart of the family

For them, the Lord is the centre and heart of the family. He accompanies them in their union and sustains them in their mission to raise children to maturity. In this way the Christian family not only cooperates with God in generating natural life, but also in cultivating the seeds of divine life given in Baptism. These are the well-known principles of the Christian view of marriage and the family. I recalled them once again last Thursday, when I spoke to the members of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 13, 2006)

  • The family is a necessary good, fruit of the love and total self-giving within marriage

The family is a necessary good for peoples, an indispensable foundation for society and a great and lifelong treasure for couples. It is a unique good for children, who are meant to be the fruit of the love, of the total and generous self-giving of their parents. To proclaim the whole truth about the family, based on marriage as a domestic Church and a sanctuary of life, is a great responsibility incumbent upon all. Father and mother have said a complete ‘yes’ in the sight of God, which constitutes the basis of the Sacrament which joins them together. Likewise, for the inner relationship of the family to be complete, they also need to say a ‘yes’ of acceptance to the children whom they have given birth to or adopted, and each of which has his or her own personality and character. In this way, children will grow up in a climate of acceptance and love, and upon reaching sufficient maturity, will then want to say ‘yes’ in turn to those who gave them life. (Benedict XVI. Address for the Fifth World Meeting of Families, Valencia (Spain), July 8, 2006)

  • Today the essential characteristics of Sacramental marriage are misunderstood

The family, a divine institution founded on marriage as willed by the Creator himself (cf. Gen 2:18-24; Mt 19:5), is nowadays exposed to a number of threats. The Christian family in particular is faced more than ever before with the issue of its deepest identity. The essential properties of Sacramental marriage – unity and indissolubility (cf. Mt 19:6) – and the Christian model of family, sexuality and love, are in our day, if not called into question, at least misunderstood by some of the faithful. There is a temptation to adopt models contrary to the Gospel, under the influence of a certain contemporary culture that has spread throughout the world. Conjugal love is part of the definitive covenant between God and his people, fully sealed in the sacrifice of the cross. Its character as mutual self-giving, even to the point of martyrdom, is clearly expressed in some of the Eastern Churches, where each spouse receives the other as a ‘crown’ during the marriage ceremony, which is rightly called a ‘liturgy of coronation’. Conjugal love is not a fleeting event, but the patient project of a lifetime. Called to live a Christ-like love each day, the Christian family is a privileged expression of the Church’s presence and mission in the world. As such, it needs to be accompanied pastorally and supported in its problems and difficulties, especially in places where social, familial and religious bearings tend to grow weak or to be lost. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, no. 58, September 14, 2012)

  • Today the crisis of the family impresses upon children an erroneous typology of the family

The Church cannot be indifferent to the separation of spouses and to divorce, facing the break-up of homes and the consequences for the children that divorce causes. If they are to be instructed and educated, children need extremely precise and concrete reference points, in other words parents who are determined and reliable who contribute in quite another way to their upbringing. Nor, it is this principle that the practice of divorce is undermining and jeopardizing with the so-called ‘extended’ family that multiplies ‘father’ and ‘mother’ figures and explains why today the majority of those who feel ‘orphans’ are not children without parents but children who have too many. This situation, with the inevitable interference and the intersection of relationships, cannot but give rise to inner conflict and confusion, contributing to creating and impressing upon children an erroneous typology of the family, which in a certain sense can be compared to cohabitation, because of its precariousness. (Benedict XVI. Address to the third group of Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil (North East Regions I and IV) on their ad limina visit, September 25, 2009)

  • The natural structure of marriage is the union of a man and a woman – this principle comes from human nature itself and not only from faith

There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the XVLI World Day of Peace, no. 4, January 1, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • For God, justice and charity are not two different realities – they coincide in him

Justice and mercy, justice and charity on which the Church’s charity is hinged, are two different realities only for the human person. For we distinguish carefully between a just act and an act of love. For us ‘just’ means ‘what is due to the other’, while ‘merciful’ is what is given out of kindness. One seems to exclude the other. Yet for God it is not like this: justice and charity coincide in him; there is no just action that is not also an act of mercy and pardon, and at the same time, there is no merciful action that is not perfectly just. How far God’s logic is from our own! And how different is his way of acting from ours! (Benedict XVI. Address in the Rebiddia District Prison, December 18, 2011)

  • Jesus showed how justice and mercy come together perfectly

In God, justice and mercy come together perfectly, as Jesus showed us through the testimony of his life. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, 45th World Day of Peace, January 1, 2012)

…judges Francis’ idea on the social doctrine of the Church

  • Charity, which is the synthesis of the entire Law, is at the heart of the Church’s Social Doctrine

Charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine. Every responsibility and every commitment spelt out by that doctrine is derived from charity which, according to the teaching of Jesus, is the synthesis of the entire Law (cf. Mt 22:36-40). It gives real substance to the personal relationship with God and with neighbour; it is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends, with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones). (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 2, June 29, 2009)

  • The Social Doctrine of the Church is the proclamation of Christ’s love in society

This dynamic of charity received and given is what gives rise to the Church’s social teaching, which is caritas in veritate in re sociali: the proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society. This doctrine is a service to charity, but its locus is truth. Truth preserves and expresses charity’s power to liberate in the ever-changing events of history. It is at the same time the truth of faith and of reason, both in the distinction and also in the convergence of those two cognitive fields. Development, social well-being, the search for a satisfactory solution to the grave socio-economic problems besetting humanity, all need this truth. What they need even more is that this truth should be loved and demonstrated. Without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation, especially in a globalized society at difficult times like the present. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 5, June 29, 2009)

  • The Social Doctrine of the Church argues on the basis of reason and natural law: it aims to purify reason and to attain what is just

Faith enables reason to do its work more effectively and to see its proper object more clearly. This is where Catholic social doctrine has its place: it has no intention of giving the Church power over the State. Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith. Its aim is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just. The Church’s social teaching argues on the basis of reason and natural law, namely, on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being. It recognizes that it is not the Church’s responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 28, December 25, 2005)

  • The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church helps to perceive the rich wisdom that comes from the experience with God, with Christ and from sincere acceptance of the Gospel

The commitment to build the city needs consciences that are led to God by love and for this reason are naturally oriented to the goal of a good life, structured on the primacy of transcendence. ‘Caritas in veritate in re sociali’: I thus felt it appropriate to describe the social doctrine of the Church (cf. ibid., n. 5), in accordance with its most authentic root — in Jesus Christ, the Trinitarian life that he gives us — and, with its full force, it can transfigure reality. We are in need of this social teaching, to help our civilizations and our own human reason to grasp all the complexity of reality and the grandeur of the dignity of every person. Precisely in this regard, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is a help in perceiving the richness of the wisdom that comes from the experience of communion with the Spirit of God and of Christ and from sincere acceptance of the Gospel. (Benedict XVI. Message to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, November 3, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on studying theology

  • Theology is essentially the interpretation of Scripture

In a word, ‘where exegesis is not theology, Scripture cannot be the soul of theology, and conversely, where theology is not essentially the interpretation of the Church’s Scripture, such a theology no longer has a foundation’ (Benedict XVI, Intervention at the Fourteenth General Congregation of the Synod – 14 October 2008). (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, September 30, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on the formation of youth

  • It is absurd to think that we can truly live by removing God, the source of life, from the picture!

Men and women were created for something great, for infinity. […]So we can see how absurd it is to think that we can truly live by removing God from the picture! God is the source of life. To set God aside is to separate ourselves from that source and, inevitably, to deprive ourselves of fulfilment and joy: ‘without the Creator, the creature fades into nothingness’ (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 36). In some parts of the world, particularly in the West, today’s culture tends to exclude God, and to consider faith a purely private issue with no relevance for the life of society. Even though the set of values underpinning society comes from the Gospel – values like the sense of the dignity of the person, of solidarity, of work and of the family –, we see a certain ‘eclipse of God’ taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity. (Benedict XVI. Message for the Twenty-Sixth World Youth Day, August 6, 2010)

  • The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work: to help people establish and nurture a living relationship with Christ

People today need to be reminded of the ultimate purpose of their lives. They need to recognize that implanted within them is a deep thirst for God. They need to be given opportunities to drink from the wells of his infinite love. It is easy to be entranced by the almost unlimited possibilities that science and technology place before us; it is easy to make the mistake of thinking we can obtain by our own efforts the fulfillment of our deepest needs. This is an illusion. Without God, who alone bestows upon us what we by ourselves cannot attain (cf. Spe Salvi, 31), our lives are ultimately empty. People need to be constantly reminded to cultivate a relationship with him who came that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). The goal of all our pastoral and catechetical work, the object of our preaching, and the focus of our sacramental ministry should be to help people establish and nurture that living relationship with ‘Christ Jesus, our hope’ (1Tim 1:1). (Benedict XVI. Address for the celebration of Vespers and meeting with the Bishops of the United States of America, April 16, 2008)

  • Without discipline, youth cannot be prepared to face the trials of the future

Suffering is also part of the truth of our life. So, by seeking to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk raising brittle and ungenerous people, despite our good intentions: indeed, the capacity for loving corresponds to the capacity for suffering and for suffering together. We thus arrive, dear friends of Rome, at what is perhaps the most delicate point in the task of education: finding the right balance between freedom and discipline. If no standard of behaviour and rule of life is applied even in small daily matters, the character is not formed and the person will not be ready to face the trials that will come in the future. The educational relationship, however, is first of all the encounter of two kinds of freedom, and successful education means teaching the correct use of freedom. As the child gradually grows up, he becomes an adolescent and then a young person; we must therefore accept the risk of freedom and be constantly attentive in order to help him to correct wrong ideas and choices. However, what we must never do is to support him when he errs, to pretend we do not see the errors or worse, that we share them as if they were the new boundaries of human progress. (Benedict XVI. Letter to the faithful of the diocese of Rome on the urgent task of educating young people, January 21, 2008)

  • What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy

I hope that among those of you listening to me today there are some of the future saints of the twenty-first century. What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy. He loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine, and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness. Perhaps some of you have never thought about this before. Perhaps some of you think being a saint is not for you. Let me explain what I mean. When we are young, we can usually think of people that we look up to, people we admire, people we want to be like. It could be someone we meet in our daily lives that we hold in great esteem. Or it could be someone famous. We live in a celebrity culture, and young people are often encouraged to model themselves on figures from the world of sport or entertainment. My question for you is this: what are the qualities you see in others that you would most like to have yourselves? What kind of person would you really like to be? When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts. (Benedict XVI. Address to pupils for the Celebration of Catholic Education, September 17, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea that catholics and muslims adore the same God

  • To believe in God and to believe in Jesus are not two separate acts but one single act of faith

A twofold commandment of faith: to believe in God and to believe in Jesus. In fact, the Lord said to his disciples: ‘Believe in God, believe also in me’ (Jn 14:1). They are not two separate acts but one single act of faith, full adherence to salvation wrought by God the Father through his Only-begotten Son. The New Testament puts an end to the Father’s invisibility. God has shown his face, as Jesus’ answer to the Apostle Philip confirms: ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father’ (Jn 14:9). (Benedict XVI. Regina Caeli, May 22, 2001)

  • Believing in God means accepting Jesus of Nazareth

Believing in God means giving up our own prejudices and accepting the actual face in which he revealed himself: Jesus of Nazareth the man. And this process also leads to recognizing him and to serving him in others. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, February 3, 2013)

  • Acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature

Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true? I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God. Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, the first verse of the whole Bible, John began the prologue of his Gospel with the words: ‘In the beginning was the λόγος’. This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts, σὺν λόγω, with logos. Logos means both reason and word – a reason which is creative and capable of self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance. […] A profound encounter of faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was able to say: Not to act ‘with logos’ is contrary to God’s nature. (Benedict XVI. Address at the University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • Allah’s will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on – perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara – by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. […] The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. (Benedict XVI. Address at the University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • This extreme voluntarism leads to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness

There arose a voluntarism which […] led to the claim that we can only know God’s voluntas ordinata. Beyond this is the realm of God’s freedom, in virtue of which he could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done. This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazm and might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to truth and goodness. God’s transcendence and otherness are so exalted that our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and hidden behind his actual decisions. As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there exists a real analogy, in which – as the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 stated – unlikeness remains infinitely greater than likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language. God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer, impenetrable voluntarism. (Benedict XVI. Meeting with the representatives of Science, University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • Allah can contradict himself, as he does with regard to ‘holy war’

In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις – controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’. According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur’an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the ‘Book’ and the ‘infidels’, he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” (Benedict XVI. Meeting with the representatives of Science, University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • Allah is not bound even by his own word. He can even order sin. Were it his will, he could even command us to practice idolatry…

Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God [Allah] is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have to practise idolatry. (Benedict XVI. Meeting with the representatives of Science, University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • In face of the ways that God’s image can be destroyed, it is important to state clearly the God in whom we believe

The second section of the Creed tells us more. This creative Reason is Goodness, it is Love. It has a face. God does not leave us groping in the dark. He has shown himself to us as a man. In his greatness he has let himself become small. ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’, Jesus says (Jn 14:9). God has taken on a human face. He has loved us even to the point of letting himself be nailed to the Cross for our sake, in order to bring the sufferings of mankind to the very heart of God. Today, when we have learned to recognize the pathologies and the life-threatening diseases associated with religion and reason, and the ways that God’s image can be destroyed by hatred and fanaticism, it is important to state clearly the God in whom we believe, and to proclaim confidently that this God has a human face. (Benedict XVI. Homily, Islinger Feld, Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • The true God is He who acts in harmony with reason

The truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love, as Saint Paul says, ‘transcends’ knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is Logos. Consequently, Christian worship is, again to quote Paul – ‘λογικη λατρεία’, worship in harmony with the eternal Word and with our reason (cf. Rom 12:1). (Benedict XVI. Meeting with the representatives of Science, University of Regensburg, September 12, 2006)

  • The Lord was prepared to forgive, but the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were locked into a totalizing and paralyzing evil

The first text on which we shall reflect is in chapter 18 of the Book of Genesis. It is recounted that the evil of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah had reached the height of depravity so as to require an intervention of God, an act of justice, that would prevent the evil from destroying those cities. […] Abraham confronts God with the need to avoid a perfunctory form of justice: if the city is guilty it is right to condemn its crime and to inflict punishment, but — the great Patriarch affirms — it would be unjust to punish all the inhabitants indiscriminately. If there are innocent people in the city, they must not be treated as the guilty. God, who is a just judge, cannot act in this way, Abraham says rightly to God. […] Abraham — as we remember — gradually decreases the number of innocent people necessary for salvation: if 50 would not be enough, 45 might suffice, and so on down to 10. […] However, not even 10 just people were to be found in Sodom and Gomorrah so the cities were destroyed; a destruction paradoxically deemed necessary by the prayer of Abraham’s intercession itself. Because that very prayer revealed the saving will of God: the Lord was prepared to forgive, he wanted to forgive but the cities were locked into a totalizing and paralyzing evil, without even a few innocents from whom to start in order to turn evil into good. (Benedict XVI. General audience, May 18, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on sects forming part of the Church

  • If the Movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they must be inserted into the one Church

Since the Church is one, if the Movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they must, naturally, be inserted into the Ecclesial Community and serve it so that, in patient dialogue with the Pastors, they can be elements in the construction of the Church of today and tomorrow. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of Communion and Liberation Movement on the 25th anniversary of its Pontifical Recognition, March 24, 2007)

  • Sects are not stable

And we know that these sects are not very stable: at any given time, it may be all very well to proclaim prosperity, miraculous healings, etc., but after a while, it becomes clear that life is difficult, that a human God, a God who suffers with us is more convincing, more real, and offers greater help for life. It is also important that we have the structure of the Catholic Church. We do not proclaim a small group that after a certain time becomes isolated and lost, but we enter into this great universal network of catholicity, which is not only trans-temporal, but above all, it is present as a great network of friendship that unites us and also helps us to overcome individualism so as to arrive at this unity in diversity, which is the true promise. (Benedict XVI. Interview during the flight to Africa, March 17, 2009)

  • The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: ‘This suffices’

In this atmosphere of a rationalism closing in on itself and that regards the model of the sciences as the only model of knowledge, everything else is subjective. Christian life too, of course, becomes a choice that is subjective, hence, arbitrary and no longer the path of life. It therefore naturally becomes difficult to believe, and if it is difficult to believe it is even more difficult to offer one’s life to the Lord to be his servant. […] On the other hand, the sects that present themselves with the certainty of a minimum of faith are growing, and the human being seeks certainty. Thus, the great Churches, especially the great traditional Protestant Churches, are truly finding themselves in a very deep crisis. The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: ‘This suffices’. (Benedict XVI. Address to diocesan clergy of Aosta in the Parish Church at Introd, July 25, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • Christ, innocent, took upon himself the wounds of injured humanity – Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our pain is worthy of faith

Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test? Paradoxically the disbelief of Thomas is most valuable to us in these cases because it helps to purify all false concepts of God and leads us to discover his true face: the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity. Thomas has received from the Lord, and has in turn transmitted to the Church, the gift of a faith put to the test by the passion and death of Jesus and confirmed by meeting him risen. His faith was almost dead but was born again thanks to his touching the wounds of Christ, those wounds that the Risen One did not hide but showed, and continues to point out to us in the trials and sufferings of every human being. […] These wounds that Christ has received for love of us help us to understand who God is and to repeat: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith. (Benedict XVI. Urbi et Orbi Message, April 8, 2007)

  • Why does the suffering of innocents exist? In the mysterious designs of Providence, God draws a greater good even from evil

If God is supremely good and wise, why do evil and the suffering of innocents exist? And the Saints themselves asked this very question. Illumined by faith, they give an answer that opens our hearts to trust and hope: in the mysterious designs of Providence, God can draw a greater good even from evil. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, December 1, 2010)

  • Through the wounds of Christ, we are able to see the evils that afflict humanity with eyes of hope

Dear sick and suffering, it is precisely through the wounds of Christ that we are able to see, with eyes of hope, all the evils that afflict humanity. In rising again, the Lord did not remove suffering and evil from the world, but he defeated them at their root. […] St. Bernard observed: ‘God cannot suffer but He can suffer with’. God, who is Truth and Love in person, wanted to suffer for us and with us; He became man so that He could suffer with man, in a real way, in flesh and blood. (Benedict XVI. Message for the Nineteenth World Day of the Sick, November 21, 2010)

  • We can try to limit suffering but we cannot eliminate it

Like action, suffering is a part of our human existence. Suffering stems partly from our finitude, and partly from the mass of sin which has accumulated over the course of history, and continues to grow unabated today. […] Indeed, we must do all we can to overcome suffering, but to banish it from the world altogether is not in our power. This is simply because we are unable to shake off our finitude and because none of us is capable of eliminating the power of evil, of sin which, as we plainly see, is a constant source of suffering. Only God is able to do this: only a God who personally enters history by making himself man and suffering within history. We know that this God exists, and hence that this power to “take away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29) is present in the world. […] We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 36, November 30, 2007)

  • What heals us is not fleeing from suffering, but our capacity for accepting it

It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater. It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 37, November 30, 2007)

  • Mary’s self-restraint prevents us from plumbing the depths of her grief

At the foot of the Cross, the prophecy of Simeon is fulfilled: her mother’s heart is pierced through (cf. Lk 2:35) by the torment inflicted on the Innocent One born of her flesh. Just as Jesus cried (cf. Jn 11:35), so too Mary certainly cried over the tortured body of her Son. Her self-restraint, however, prevents us from plumbing the depths of her grief; the full extent of her suffering is merely suggested by the traditional symbol of the seven swords. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions at Lourdes, September 15, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea that man is the center of christian life

  • The Popes of the XX century proclaimed Jesus as the centre of the cosmos, of history, of the Christian faith

The Year of Faith which we launch today is linked harmoniously with the Church’s whole path over the last fifty years: from the Council, through the Magisterium of the Servant of God Paul VI, who proclaimed a Year of Faith in 1967, up to the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, with which Blessed John Paul II re-proposed to all humanity Jesus Christ as the one Saviour, yesterday, today and forever. Between these two Popes, Paul VI and John Paul II, there was a deep and complete convergence, precisely upon Christ as the centre of the cosmos and of history, and upon the apostolic eagerness to announce him to the world. Jesus is the centre of the Christian faith. The Christian believes in God whose face was revealed by Jesus Christ. He is the fulfilment of the Scriptures and their definitive interpreter. Jesus Christ is not only the object of the faith but, as it says in the Letter to the Hebrews, he is ‘the pioneer and the perfecter of our faith’ (Heb 12:2). (Benedict XVI. Homily during the Mass for the opening of the Year of Faith, October 11, 2012)

  • In pierced side of Christ, we deposit our faith

In my first Encyclical on the theme of love, the point of departure was exactly ‘contemplating the pierced side of Christ’, which John speaks of in his Gospel (cf. 19: 37; Deus Caritas Est, n. 12). And this centre of faith is also the font of hope in which we have been saved, the hope that I made the object of my second Encyclical. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, June 1, 2008)

  • To live the faith implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering

The theology of the Cross is not a theory it is the reality of Christian life. To live in the belief in Jesus Christ, to live in truth and love implies daily sacrifice, implies suffering. Christianity is not the easy road, it is, rather, a difficult climb, but one illuminated by the light of Christ and by the great hope that is born of him. St Augustine says: Christians are not spared suffering, indeed they must suffer a little more, because to live the faith expresses the courage to face in greater depth the problems that life and history present. But only in this way, through the experience of suffering, can we know life in its profundity, in its beauty, in the great hope born from Christ crucified and risen again. (Benedict XVI. General audience, November 5, 2008)

  • All the ways of holiness are important in God’s eyes

Hence there is a fundamental will of God for us all, which is identical for us all. However its application is different in every life, for God has a specific project for each person. Saint Francis de Sales once said: perfection, that is, being good, living faith and love, is substantially one but comes in many different forms. The holiness of a Carthusian and of a politician, of a scientist or of a peasant, and so forth, is very different. Thus God has a plan for every person and I must find, in my own circumstances, my way of living this one and, at the same time, common will of God whose great rules are indicated in these explanations of love. […] Thus each person will find different possibilities in his life: he may devote himself to volunteer work in a community of prayer, in a movement or in the activity of his parish, in his own profession. Finding my vocation and living it everywhere is important and fundamental, whether I am a great scientist or a farmer. Everything is important in God’s eyes: life is beautiful if it is lived to the full with that love which really redeems the world. (Benedict XVI. Address during the meeting with the youth in preparation for World Youth Day, March 25, 2010)

  • The Saints’ lives are hymns to God, despite their thousand different tones

In the Encyclical published last Wednesday, by referring to the primacy of charity in the life of Christians and of the Church, I wanted to recall that the privileged witnesses of this primacy are the Saints, who made their lives a hymn to God-Love despite their thousands of different tones. We celebrate them every day of the year in the liturgy. I am thinking, for example, of those whom we are commemorating in these days: the Apostle Paul with his disciples Timothy and Titus, Saint Angela Merici, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John Bosco. These saints are very different: the first belong to the beginnings of the Church and were missionaries of the first evangelization; in the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas is the model of a Catholic theologian who found in Christ the supreme synthesis of truth and love; in the Renaissance, Angela Merici presented a path of holiness also to those who were living in a secular environment; in the modern epoch, Don Bosco, inflamed with love for Jesus the Good Shepherd, cared for the most underprivileged children and became their father and teacher. In truth, the Church’s entire history is a history of holiness, animated by the one Love whose source is God. Indeed, only supernatural love, like the love that flows ever new from Christ’s heart, can explain the miraculous flourishing down the centuries of Orders, male and female religious Institutes and other forms of consecrated life. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, January 29, 2006)

  • Each one receives at baptism a personal vocation in accordance with the Father’s particular plan of love

Today, through the sacrament of Baptism, he consecrates them and calls them to follow Jesus, through the realization of their personal vocation in accordance with that particular plan of love that the Father has in mind for each one of them; the destination of this earthly pilgrimage will be full communion with him in eternal happiness. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 9, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on selling off churches to feed the poor

  • There are many forms of poverty other than material poverty

Fighting poverty requires attentive consideration of the complex phenomenon of globalization […] Yet the reference to globalization should also alert us to the spiritual and moral implications of the question, urging us, in our dealings with the poor, to set out from the clear recognition that we all share in a single divine plan […] This perspective requires an understanding of poverty that is wide-ranging and well articulated. If it were a question of material poverty alone, then the social sciences, which enable us to measure phenomena on the basis of mainly quantitative data, would be sufficient to illustrate its principal characteristics. Yet we know that other, non-material forms of poverty exist which are not the direct and automatic consequence of material deprivation. For example, in advanced wealthy societies, there is evidence of marginalization, as well as affective, moral and spiritual poverty, seen in people whose interior lives are disoriented and who experience various forms of malaise despite their economic prosperity. On the one hand, I have in mind what is known as “moral underdevelopment”, and on the other hand the negative consequences of “superdevelopment”. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the 42nd World Day of Peace, no. 2, January 1, 2009)

  • The witness of charity must go together with the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel

The witness of charity, practiced here in a special way, is part of the Church’s mission, together with the proclamation of the truth of the Gospel. Human beings do not only need to be physically nourished or helped through moments of difficulty; they also need to know who they are and to understand the truth about themselves and their dignity. […] With her service for the poor the Church is committed to proclaiming to all the truth about man who is loved by God, created in his image, redeemed by Christ and called to eternal communion with him. A great many people have thus been able to rediscover and are still rediscovering their dignity, lost at times because of tragic events; they rediscover trust in themselves and hope in the future. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Hostel of the Diocesan Caritas of Rome, February 14, 2010)

  • To change unjust structures we must focus attention on eternal salvation

Yet changing unjust structures is not of itself sufficient to guarantee the happiness of the human person. Moreover, as I affirmed recently to the Bishops gathered in Aparecida, Brazil, the task of politics ‘is not the immediate competence of the Church’ (Address to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, 13 May 2007). Rather, her mission is to promote the integral development of the human person. For this reason, the great challenges facing the world at the present time, such as globalization, human rights abuses, unjust social structures, cannot be confronted and overcome unless attention is focused on the deepest needs of the human person: the promotion of human dignity, well-being and, in the final analysis, eternal salvation. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of the 18th General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis, June 8, 2007)

  • When the so-called paupers’ movement rose up against a rich and beautiful Church, the Mendicant Orders opposed them

Francis of Assisi and Dominic of Guzmán […] were able to read ‘the signs of the times’ intelligently, perceiving the challenges that the Church of their time would be obliged to face. A first challenge was the expansion of various groups and movements of the faithful who, in spite of being inspired by a legitimate desire for authentic Christian life often set themselves outside ecclesial communion. They were profoundly adverse to the rich and beautiful Church which had developed precisely with the flourishing of monasticism. In recent Catecheses I have reflected on the monastic community of Cluny, which had always attracted young people, therefore vital forces, as well as property and riches. Thus, at the first stage, logically, a Church developed whose wealth was in property and also in buildings. The idea that Christ came down to earth poor and that the true Church must be the very Church of the poor clashed with this Church. The desire for true Christian authenticity was thus in contrast to the reality of the empirical Church. These were the so-called paupers’ movements of the Middle Ages. They fiercely contested the way of life of the priests and monks of the time, accused of betraying the Gospel and of not practising poverty like the early Christians, and these movements countered the Bishops’ ministry with their own ‘parallel hierarchy’. Furthermore, to justify their decisions, they disseminated doctrine incompatible with the Catholic faith. For example, the Cathars’ or Albigensians’ movement re-proposed ancient heresies such as the debasement of and contempt for the material world the opposition to wealth soon became opposition to material reality as such, […] Both Franciscans and Dominicans, following in their Founders’ footsteps, showed on the contrary that it was possible to live evangelical poverty, the truth of the Gospel as such, without being separated from the Church. They showed that the Church remains the true, authentic home of the Gospel and of Scripture. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, January 13, 2010)

  • Love does not calculate; Judas’ calculation is a disguise for egoistic lack of dedication

Mary of Bethany ‘took 300 grams [a pound] of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair’ (cf. 12: 3). Mary’s gesture is the expression of great faith and love for the Lord; it is not enough for her to wash the Teacher’s feet with water; she sprinkles on them a great quantity of the precious perfume which as Judas protested it would have been possible to sell for 300 denarii. She did not anoint his head, as was the custom, but his feet: Mary offers Jesus the most precious thing she has and with a gesture of deep devotion. Love does not calculate, does not measure, does not worry about expense, does not set up barriers but can give joyfully; it seeks only the good of the other, surmounts meanness, pettiness, resentment and the narrow-mindedness that human beings sometimes harbour in their hearts. […] Mary’s action is in contrast to the attitude and words of Judas who, under the pretext of the aid to be given to the poor, conceals the selfishness and falsehood of a person closed into himself, shackled by the greed for possession and who does not let the good fragrance of divine love envelop him. Judas calculates what one cannot calculate, he enters with a mean mindset the space which is one of love, of giving, of total dedication. And Jesus, who had remained silent until that moment, intervenes defending Mary’s gesture: ‘Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial’ (Jn 12: 7). (Benedict XVI. Homily, for the Fifth anniversary of the death of John Paul II, March 29, 2010)

  • Evangelization is the proclamation of Jesus as the one Saviour – without a reductive sociological understanding

The more ardent the love for the Eucharist in the hearts of the Christian people, the more clearly will they recognize the goal of all mission: to bring Christ to others. Not just a theory or a way of life inspired by Christ, but the gift of his very person. Anyone who has not shared the truth of love with his brothers and sisters has not yet given enough. The Eucharist, as the sacrament of our salvation, inevitably reminds us of the unicity of Christ and the salvation that he won for us by his blood. The mystery of the Eucharist, believed in and celebrated, demands a constant catechesis on the need for all to engage in a missionary effort centred on the proclamation of Jesus as the one Saviour. This will help to avoid a reductive and purely sociological understanding of the vital work of human promotion present in every authentic process of evangelization. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, no. 86, February 22, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on anticlericalism

  • The priest does something which no human being can do of his own power

The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation – words which make Christ himself present, the Risen One, his Body and Blood – words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite it to him. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Conclusion of the Year for Priests, June 11, 2010)

  • God makes use of us poor men in order to be present to all men and women

The priesthood, then, is not simply “office” but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word “priesthood”. (Benedict XVI. Homily for the Conclusion of the Year for Priests, June 11, 2010)

  • The priest never acts in the name of someone who is absent, but in the very Person of the Risen Christ

The priest represents Christ. What is implied by ‘representing’ someone? In ordinary language it usually means being delegated by someone to be present in his place, to speak and act in his stead because the person he represents is absent from the practical action. Let us ask ourselves: does the priest represent the Lord in this way? The answer is no, because in the Church Christ is never absent, the Church is his living Body and he is the Head of the Church, present and active within her. Christ is never absent, on the contrary he is present in a way that is untrammelled by space and time through the event of the Resurrection that we contemplate in a special way in this Easter Season. Therefore the priest, who acts in persona Christi Capitis and representing the Lord, never acts in the name of someone who is absent but, rather, in the very Person of the Risen Christ, who makes himself present with his truly effective action. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, April 14, 2010)

  • The priest brings God himself to the world

Nne proclaims himself in the first person, but within and through his own humanity every priest must be well aware that he is bringing to the world Another, God himself. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Congregation for the Clergy on the occasion of their Plenary Assembly, March 16, 2009)

  • The priest is removed from worldly bonds and given over to God

The giving over of a person to God, his “sanctification”, is identified with priestly ordination, and this also defines the essence of the priesthood: it is a transfer of ownership, a being taken out of the world and given to God. […] But for this very reason it is not a segregation. Rather, being given over to God means being charged to represent others. The priest is removed from worldly bonds and given over to God, and precisely in this way, starting with God, he must be available for others, for everyone. When Jesus says: “I consecrate myself”, he makes himself both priest and victim. (Benedict XVI. Homily of the Chrism Mass, April 9, 2009)

  • The priest: a bridge that connects human beings to God

The priest needs divine authorization, institution, and only by belonging to both spheres the divine and the human can he be a mediator, can he be a ‘bridge’. This is the priest’s mission: to combine, to link these two realities that appear to be so separate, that is, the world of God far from us, often unknown to the human being and our human world. The priest’s mission is to be a mediator, a bridge that connects, and thereby to bring human beings to God, to his redemption, to his true light, to his true life. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina at the encounter with the Parish Priests of the diocese of Rome, February 18, 2010)

  • Irreplaceable mission

Nothing will ever substitute the ministry of priests in the life of the Church. (Benedict XVI. Greetings to the Portuguese speaking priests at the end of the Eucharist Celebration for the Conclusion of the Year for Priests, June 11, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on material charity

  • Care for the soul is more necessary than material support

The Church is one of those living forces: She is alive with the love enkindled by the Spirit of Christ. This love does not simply offer people material help, but refreshment and care for their souls, something which often is even more necessary than material support. In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Deut 8:3)—a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 28, December 25, 2005)

  • The true labor in God’s field is to set people free from the poverty of truth

It is the moment of mission: the Lord is sending you, dear friends, into his harvest. You must cooperate in this task of which the Prophet Isaiah speaks in the First Reading: ‘The Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted’ (Is 61:1). This is the labour for the harvest in the field of God, in the field of human history: to bring to men and women the light of truth, to set them free from the lack of truth, which is the true sorrow, the true impoverishment of man. It means bringing them the glad tidings that are not only words but an event: God himself has come among us. He takes us by the hand, he uplifts us toward himself and thus the broken heart is healed. Let us thank the Lord for sending out labourers into the harvest of the world’s history. (Benedict XVI. Homily in the Basilica of Saint Peter, February 5, 2011)

  • Without the light of truth, charity degenerates into sentimentalism

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. (Benedict XVI. Caritas in veritate, no. 3, June 29, 2009)

  • The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures in the same way as she venerates the Body of the Lord

The Church does not live on herself but on the Gospel, and in the Gospel always and ever anew finds the directions for her journey. This is a point that every Christian must understand and apply to himself or herself: only those who first listen to the Word can become preachers of it. Indeed, they must not teach their own wisdom but the wisdom of God, which often appears to be foolishness in the eyes of the world (cf. 1Cor 1:23).The Church knows well that Christ lives in the Sacred Scriptures. For this very reason – as the Constitution stresses – she has always venerated the divine Scriptures in the same way as she venerates the Body of the Lord (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 21). (Benedict XVI. Address to the International Congress for the 40th anniversary of the Dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum, September 16, 2005)

  • In order to offer love to our brothers and sisters, we must be afire with it from the furnace of divine charity

In Sacred Scripture, the summons to love of neighbour is tied to the commandment to love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength (cf. Mk 12:29-31). Thus, love of neighbour – if based on a true love for God – corresponds to the commandment and the example of Christ. It is possible, then, for the Christian, through his or her dedication, to bring others to experience the bountiful tenderness of our heavenly Father, through an ever deeper conformation to Christ. In order to offer love to our brothers and sisters, we must be afire with it from the furnace of divine charity: through prayer, constant listening to the word of God, and a life centred on the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, February 9, 2013)

  • We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God

It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society. In reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied. Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people. We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (cf. Mt 5:13-16). The people of today can still experience the need to go to the well, like the Samaritan woman, in order to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within him (cf. Jn 4:14). We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples (cf. Jn 6:51). (Benedict XVI. Motu Proprio Porta fidei no. 2-3, October 11, 2011)

  • It is important for the People of God to be properly taught and trained to approach the Sacred Scriptures

We see clearly, then, how important it is for the People of God to be properly taught and trained to approach the sacred Scriptures in relation to the Church’s living Tradition, and to recognize in them the very word of God. Fostering such an approach in the faithful is very important from the standpoint of the spiritual life. Here it might be helpful to recall the analogy drawn by the Fathers of the Church between the word of God which became ‘flesh’ and the word which became a ‘book’. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini, no. 18, September 30, 2010)

  • The necessity of intellectual charity: as the great mendicant saints and theologians

New issues enlivened the discussion in the universities that came into being at the end of the 12th century. Minors and Preachers did not hesitate to take on this commitment. As students and professors they entered the most famous universities of the time, set up study centres, produced texts of great value, gave life to true and proper schools of thought, were protagonists of scholastic theology in its best period and had an important effect on the development of thought. The greatest thinkers, St Thomas Aquinas and St Bonaventure, were Mendicants who worked precisely with this dynamism of the new evangelization which also renewed the courage of thought, of the dialogue between reason and faith. Today too a ‘charity of and in the truth’ exists, an ‘intellectual charity’ that must be exercised to enlighten minds and to combine faith with culture. The dedication of the Franciscans and Dominicans in the medieval universities is an invitation, dear faithful, how important it is for the People of God to be properly taught and trained to approach the sacred Scriptures, with respect and conviction, on the fundamental questions that concern Man, his dignity and his eternal destiny. Thinking of the role of the Franciscans and the Dominicans in the Middle Ages, of the spiritual renewal they inspired and of the breath of new life they communicated in the world, a monk said: ‘At that time the world was ageing. Two Orders were born in the Church whose youth they renewed like that of an eagle’ (Burchard of Ursperg, Chronicon). (Benedict XVI. General audience, January 13, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on the words of Jesus Christ upon the Cross

  • Jesus identifies himself with the suffering of the just of every age

We sang the second part of the Psalm of the Passion as the Responsorial Psalm. It is the Psalm of the righteous sufferer, in the first place suffering Israel who, before the mute God who abandoned it, cries: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me?… Now I am almost spent… you do not act… you do not answer… why have you forsaken me? (cf. 22). Jesus identifies himself with the suffering Israel, with the suffering just ones of every age abandoned by God, and he cries out at God`s abandonment; the pain of being forgotten he carries to the Heart of God himself, and in this way transforms the world. (Benedict XVI. Homily, Holy Mass with the members of the Bishops’ Conference of Switzerland, November 7, 2006)

  • Christ’s passion is our consolation

It was the Father’s love that permitted the Son to confidently face his last ‘baptism’, which he himself defines as the apex of his mission (cf. Lk 12: 50). Jesus received that baptism of sorrow and love for us, for all of humanity. He has suffered for truth and justice, bringing the Gospel of suffering to human history, which is the other aspect of the Gospel of love. God cannot suffer, but he can and wants to be com-passionate. Through Christ’s passion he can bring his con-solatio to every human suffering, ‘the consolation of God’s compassionate love – and so the star of hope rises’ (Spe Salvi, n. 39). (Benedict XVI. Homily, Basilica of Saint Sabina, Ash Wednesday, February 6, 2008)

  • Prayer requires faith in God’s goodness

If one does not believe in God’s goodness, one cannot pray in a truly appropriate manner. (Benedict XVI. Homily, Papal Mass for the canonization of new Saints, October 17, 2010)

  • We must ask what is worthy of God

When we pray properly we undergo a process of inner purification which opens us up to God and thus to our fellow human beings as well. In prayer we must learn what we can truly ask of God—what is worthy of God. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, November 30, 2007)

  • Prayer does not exempt us from suffering, but permits us to face it with the confidence of Jesus

We understand that with prayer we are not liberated from trials and suffering, but we can live through them in union with Christ, with his suffering, in the hope of also participating in his glory (cf. Rom 8:17). Many times, in our prayer, we ask God to be freed from physical and spiritual evil, and we do it with great trust. However, often we have the impression of not being heard and we may well feel discouraged and fail to persevere. In reality, there is no human cry that is not heard by God and it is precisely in constant and faithful prayer that we comprehend with St Paul that ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us’ (Rom 8:18). Prayer does not exempt us from trial and suffering, indeed — St Paul says — we ‘groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies’ (Rom 8:23). Prayer does not exempt us from trial and suffering, indeed — St Paul says — we ‘groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies’ (Rom 8:23). He says that prayer does not exempt us from suffering but prayer does permit us to live through it and face it with a new strength, with the confidence of Jesus, who — according to the Letter to the Hebrews — ‘In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him [God] who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear’ (Heb 5:7). The answer of God the Father to the Son, to his loud cries and tears, was not freedom from suffering, from the cross, from death, but a much greater fulfillment, an answer much more profound; through the cross and death God responded with the Resurrection of the Son, with new life. Prayer animated by the Holy Spirit leads us too to live every day a journey of life with its trials and sufferings, with the fullness of hope, with trust in God who answers us as he answered the Son. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, May 16, 2012)

…judges Francis’ criteria for the nomination of Bishops

  • Candidates for the episcopate should be models of life in the faith

Finally, as to the choice of candidates for the episcopate, while knowing your difficulties in this regard, I would like to remind you that they should be worthy priests, respected and loved by the faithful, models of life in the faith, and that they should possess a certain experience in the pastoral ministry, so that they are equipped to address the burdensome responsibility of a Pastor of the Church. (Benedict XVI. Letter to members of the Catholic Church in the People’s Republic of China, no. 9, May 27, 2007)

  • The ministry of the Bishop is not human, administrative or sociological

This is a profound perspective of faith and not merely human, administrative or sociological, into which fits the ministry of the Bishop who is not a mere ruler or a bureaucrat or a simple moderator and organizer of diocesan life. It is fatherhood and brotherhood in Christ which give the person in charge the ability to create an atmosphere of trust, of welcome and of affection but also of frankness and justice. (Benedict XVI. Address to recently appointed bishops who took part in the meeting organized by the Congregation for Bishops, September 13, 2010)

  • People listen more willingly to witnesses than to teachers

To you, Pastors of God’s flock, is entrusted the mandate of safeguarding and transmitting faith in Christ, passed on to us through the living tradition of the Church and for which so many have given their lives. To carry out this task, it is essential that first of all you show you are ‘in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity and sound speech that cannot be censured’ (Tit 2: 7-8). ‘Modern man’, wrote my Predecessor of venerable memory, the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, ‘listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses’ (Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 41). For this reason, it is only right that you give priority in your episcopal ministry to prayer and to the constant aspiration to holiness. (Benedict XVI. Address to the bishops taking part in the formation update meeting organized by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, September 23, 2006)

…judges Francis’ prayer in the ecumenical and interreligious Meeting in Sarajevo

  • The Lord said to his disciples: ‘Believe in God, believe also in Me’

The Gospel of this Sunday, the Fifth of Easter, proposes a twofold commandment of faith: to believe in God and to believe in Jesus. In fact, the Lord said to his disciples: ‘Believe in God, believe also in me’ (Jn 14:1). They are not two separate acts but one single act of faith, full adherence to salvation wrought by God the Father through his Only-begotten Son.

The New Testament puts an end to the Father’s invisibility. God has shown his face, as Jesus’ answer to the Apostle Philip confirms: ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father’ (Jn 14:9). With his Incarnation, death and Resurrection, the Son of God has freed us from the slavery of sin to give us the freedom of the children of God and he has shown us the face of God, which is love: God can be seen, he is visible in Christ. […] Therefore, only by believing in Christ, by remaining united to him, may the disciples, among whom we too are, continue their permanent action in history: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you,” says the Lord, “he who believes in me will also do the works that I do’ (Jn 14:12). (Benedict XVI. Regina Coeli, May 22, 2011)

  • Believing in God entails joyful obedience to His revelation…

The opening words of the ‘Creed’ are: ‘I believe in God’. It is a fundamental affirmation, seemingly simple in its essence, but it opens on to the infinite world of the relationship with the Lord and with his mystery. Believing in God entails adherence to him, the acceptance of his word and joyful obedience to his revelation. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, January 23, 2013)

  • …and accepting the actual face in which He revealed himself: Jesus of Nazareth

Believing in God means giving up our own prejudices and accepting the actual face in which he revealed himself: Jesus of Nazareth the man. And this process also leads to recognizing him and to serving him in others. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, February 3, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea that Christians should always humble themselves

  • Before the Crucified Christ every knee should bow

Saint Paul follows this through. Christ came down from Heaven to the Cross, the ultimate obedience. And at this moment what the Prophet said is brought about: before the Crucified Christ every knee should bow: the entire cosmos, in Heaven, on earth and under the earth (cf. Phil 2:10-11). He is really the expression of the true grandeur of God. The humility of God and his love unto the Cross show us that he is God. Let us kneel before him in adoration. (Benedict XVI. Address to the parish priests of Rome, March 10, 2011)

  • Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father with every adversary at his feet

‘The Lord says to my lord ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool’’ (v. 1). […] With regard to the Messiah Jesus himself mentioned this verse in order to show that the Messiah, was greater than David, that he was David’s Lord (cf. Mt 22:41-45; Mk 12:35-37; Lk 20:41-44). And Peter returned to it in his discourse at Pentecost, proclaiming that this enthronement of the king was brought about in the resurrection of Christ and that Christ was henceforth seated at the right hand of the Father, sharing in God’s kingship over the world (cf. Acts 2:29-35). Indeed, Christ is the enthroned Lord, the Son of Man seated at the right hand of God and coming on the clouds of heaven, as Jesus described himself during the trial before the Synedrion (cf. Mt 26:63-64; Mk 14:61-62; cf. also Lk 22:66-69). He is the true King who, with the Resurrection, entered into glory at the right hand of the Father (Rom 8:34; Edh 2:5; Col 3:1; Hob 8:1; 12:2), was made superior to angels, and seated in heaven above every power with every adversary at his feet, until the time when the last enemy, death, to be defeated by him once and for all (cf. 1 Cur 15:24-26; Edh 1:20-23; Hob 1:3-4; 2:5-8; 10:12-13; 1 Pet 3:22)’. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, November 16, 2011)

  • We should learn the correct humility from Christ

Of course there exist caricatures of a misguided humility and a mistaken submissiveness, which we do not want to imitate. But there also exists a destructive pride and a presumption which tear every community apart and result in violence. Can we learn from Christ the correct humility which corresponds to the truth of our being, and the obedience which submits to truth, to the will of God? (Benedict XVI. Homily, Chrism Mass, April 9, 2009)

  • Humility does not mean false modesty

‘I have served the Lord with all humility’. […] Humility does not mean false modesty — we are grateful for the gifts the Lord has given us — yet it indicates our awareness that anything we can do is a gift of God, it is given for the Kingdom of God. We work with this ‘humility’, with this desire not to be noticed. We do seek praise, we do not want to attract attention, it does not matter to us what may be said of us in the newspapers or elsewhere; what matters is what God says. This is true humility, not to appear before men and women but to be in God’s presence, to work humbly for God and thus really to serve humanity and men and women. (Benedict XVI. Meeting With the Parish Priests of the Diocese of Rome, Lectio Divina, March 10, 2011)

  • Humility is not the way of renunciation but that of courage

Dear young people, I seem to perceive in these words of God about humility an important message which is especially current for you who want to follow Christ and belong to his Church. This is the message: do not follow the way of pride but rather that of humility. Go against the tide. […] Those who seem more distant from the mindset and values of the Gospel, are crying out to see someone who dares to live according to the fullness of humanity revealed by Jesus Christ. Therefore, dear friends, the way of humility is not the way of renunciation but that of courage. It is not the result of a defeat but the result of a victory of love over selfishness and of grace over sin. In following Christ and imitating Mary, we must have the courage of humility; we must entrust ourselves humbly to the Lord, because only in this way will we be able to become docile instruments in his hands and allow him to do great things in us. […] As you see, dear young people, the humility the Lord has taught us and to which the Saints have borne witness, each according to the originality of his or her own vocation, is quite different from a renunciatory way of life. It is true, the challenges you must face are many and important. The first however, is always that of following Christ to the very end without reservations and compromises. (Benedict XVI. Homily in the pastoral visit to Loreto, on the occasion of the Agorà of Italian Youth, September 2, 2007)

  • The joy of belonging to the Church is not triumphalism but humility, being grateful for the gift of the Lord

The Church is not an organization that was formed gradually; the Church was born from the Cross. The Son acquired the Church on the Cross and not only the Church of that moment, but the Church of all the epochs. He acquired with his Blood this portion of the people, of the world, for God. And this, it seems to me, should make us think. Christ, God, created the Church, the new Eve, with his Blood. Thus he loves us and loved us and this is true at every moment. And this must also enable us to understand that the Church is a gift; being happy that we are called to the Church of God; feeling joy in belonging to the Church. Of course, there are also always negative and difficult aspects, but basically this must remain: it is a very beautiful gift that I can live out in the Church of God, in the Church that the Lord purchased with his Blood. Being called to know truly the face of God, to know his will, to know his Grace, to know this supreme love, this Grace that guides us and takes us by the hand. Happiness in being Church, joy in being Church. I think we must relearn this. The fear of triumphalism has perhaps caused us to forget a little that it is beautiful to be in the Church and that this is not triumphalism but humility, being grateful for the gift of the Lord. (Benedict XVI. Meeting With the Parish Priests of the Diocese of Rome, March 10, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on a horizontal Church

  • The Church is not a place of confusion and anarchy; it is an organism, with an articulated structure that is derived ultimately from God himself

The Church, in fact, is not a place of confusion and anarchy where one can do what one likes all the time: each one in this organism, with an articulated structure, exercises his ministry in accordance with the vocation he has received. […] The norms that regulate it derive ultimately from God himself. The Father sent Jesus Christ, who in turn sent the Apostles. They then sent the first heads of communities and established that they would be succeeded by other worthy men. Everything, therefore, was made ‘in an orderly way, according to the will of God.’ (St. Clement of Rome, 42). (Benedict XVI. General Audience, March 7, 2007)

…judges Francis’ vision on the divorced who re-marry

  • Today more than ever the witness of the family founded on the marriage of a man and a woman is necessary

Today more than ever the witness and public commitment of all the baptized is necessary to reaffirm the dignity and the unique, irreplaceable value of the family founded on the marriage of a man and a woman open to life, and also of human life in all of its stages. Legal and administrative measures must be promoted that support families with their inalienable rights, necessary if they are to continue to carry out their extraordinary mission. The witnesses given at yesterday’s celebration show that today too the family can stand firm in the love of God and renew humanity in the new millennium. I wish to express my closeness and to assure my prayers for all the families that bear witness to fidelity in especially difficult circumstances. I encourage the many families who, at times living in the midst of setbacks and misunderstandings, set an example of generosity and trust in God, in the hope that they will not lack the assistance they need. I am also thinking of the families who are suffering because of poverty, sickness, marginalization or emigration and, most especially, of Christian families that are being persecuted for their faith. The Pope is very close to all of you and accompanies you in your daily efforts. (Benedict XVI. Address at the Closing Mass of the Sixth World Day of Families held in Mexico City, January 18, 2009)

  • The sinner must be made to perceive that he has cut himself off from the communion of the Church

The Gospel text […] tells us that brotherly love also involves a sense of mutual responsibility. For this reason if my brother commits a sin against me I must treat him charitably and first of all, speak to him privately, pointing out that what he has said or done is wrong. This approach is known as ‘fraternal correction’: it is not a reaction to the offence suffered but is motivated by love for one’s brethren. St Augustine comments: ‘Whoever has offended you, in offending you, has inflicted a serious injury upon himself; and would you not care for a brother’s injury?…You must forget the offence you have received but not the injury of one of your brethren (Discourse 82, 7). And what if my brother does not listen to me? In today’s Gospel Jesus points to a gradual approach: first, speak to him again with two or three others, the better to help him realize what he has done; if, in spite of this, he still refuses to listen, it is necessary to tell the community; and if he refuses to listen even to the community, he must be made to perceive that he has cut himself off by separating himself from the communion of the Church. All this demonstrates that we are responsible for each other in the journey of Christian life; each person, aware of his own limitations and shortcomings, is called to accept fraternal correction and to help others with this specific service. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, September 4, 2011)

  • The Church’s tradition has included ‘admonishing sinners’ among the spiritual works of mercy; we must not remain silent before evil

The Scriptures tell us: ‘Rebuke the wise and he will love you for it. Be open with the wise, he grows wiser still, teach the upright, he will gain yet more’ (Prov 9:8ff). Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin (cf. Mt 18:15). The verb used to express fraternal correction – elenchein – is the same used to indicate the prophetic mission of Christians to speak out against a generation indulging in evil (cf. Eph 5:11). The Church’s tradition has included ‘admonishing sinners’ among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. As the Apostle Paul says: ‘If one of you is caught doing something wrong, those of you who are spiritual should set that person right in a spirit of gentleness; and watch yourselves that you are not put to the test in the same way’ (Gal 6:1). In a world pervaded by individualism, it is essential to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so that together we may journey towards holiness. […]The Apostle Paul encourages us to seek ‘the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another’ (Rom 14:19) for our neighbour’s good, ‘so that we support one another’ (15:2), seeking not personal gain but rather ‘the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved’ (1 Cor 10:33). This mutual correction and encouragement in a spirit of humility and charity must be part of the life of the Christian community. (Benedict XVI. Message for Lent 2012, no. 1-3, November 3, 2011)

  • For Jesus, good is good and evil is evil

To avoid any misunderstanding, it should be noted that Jesus’ mercy was not expressed by putting moral law in parentheses. For Jesus, good is good and evil is evil. Mercy does not change the connotations of sin but consumes it in a fire of love. This purifying and healing effect is achieved if within the person there is a corresponding love which implies recognition of God’s law, sincere repentance and the resolution to start a new life. The sinful woman in the Gospel was pardoned greatly because she loved greatly. In Jesus, God comes to give love to us and to ask love of us. (Benedict XVI. Homily during the Pastoral Visit to Assisi on the Eighth Centenary of the Conversion of Saint Francis, June 17, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the indissolubility of marriage

  • The trial’s aim with respect to matrimonial nullity is to declare the truth about the validity or invalidity of an actual marriage

At this point the second observation spontaneously arises: no trial is against the other party, as though it were a question of inflicting unjust damage. The purpose is not to take a good away from anyone but rather to establish and protect the possession of goods by people and institutions. In addition to this point, valid in every trial, there is another, more specific point in the hypothesis of matrimonial nullity. Here, the parties are not contending for some possession that must be attributed to one or the other. The trial’s aim is rather to declare the truth about the validity or invalidity of an actual marriage, in other words, about a reality that establishes the institution of the family and deeply concerns the Church and civil society. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, January 28, 2006)

  • Avoid pseudo-pastoral claims aimed at satisfying subjective requests to arrive at a declaration of nullity

Charity without justice is not charity, but a counterfeit, because charity itself requires that objectivity which is typical of justice and which must not be confused with inhuman coldness. In this regard, as my Predecessor, Venerable Pope John Paul II, said in his Address on the relationship between pastoral care and the law: “The judge… must always guard against the risk of misplaced compassion, which could degenerate into sentimentality, itself pastoral only in appearance” (18 Jan 1990). One must avoid pseudo-pastoral claims that would situate questions on a purely horizontal plane, in which what matters is to satisfy subjective requests to arrive at a declaration of nullity at any cost, so that the parties may be able to overcome, among other things, obstacles to receiving the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. The supreme good of readmission to Eucharistic Communion after sacramental Reconciliation demands, instead, that due consideration be given to the authentic good of the individuals, inseparable from the truth of their canonical situation. It would be a false “good” and a grave lack of justice and love to pave the way for them to receive the sacraments nevertheless, and would risk causing them to live in objective contradiction to the truth of their own personal condition. (Benedict XVI. Address on the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Judicial Year of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, January 29, 2010)

  • The Roman Pontiff’s discourses to the Roman Rota authoritatively teach the essential aspects of the reality of marriage

Thanks to this work, the concrete reality in causes of matrimonial nullity is objectively judged in light of criteria that constantly reaffirm the reality of matrimonial indissolubility, open to every man and woman in accordance with the plan of God, Creator and Saviour. Constant effort is needed to attain that unity of the criteria of justice which essentially characterizes the notion of jurisprudence itself and is a fundamental presupposition for its activity. In the Church, precisely because of her universality and the diversity of the juridical cultures in which she is called to operate, there is always a risk that “local forms of jurisprudence” develop, sensim sine sensu, ever more distant from the common interpretation of positive law and also from the Church’s teaching on matrimony. I hope that appropriate means may be studied to make rotal jurisprudence more and more manifestly unitive as well as effectively accessible to all who exercise justice, in order to ensure its uniform application in all Church tribunals. The value of interventions of the Ecclesiastical Magisterium on matrimonial and juridical issues, including the Roman Pontiff’s Discourses to the Roman Rota, should also be seen in this realistic perspective. They are a ready guide for the work of all Church tribunals, since they authoritatively teach the essential aspects of the reality of marriage. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, January 26, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on divorcees as Godparents

  • The renunciation of sin by the godfathers and godmothers constitutes the necessary premises for the Church to confer Baptism

Already at the outset the rite of Baptism recalls insistently the theme of faith when the Celebrant reminds parents that in requesting Baptism for their children, they assume the commitment to ‘training them in the practice of the faith’. The parents and godparents are reminded more forcefully of this task in the third part of the celebration that begins with the words addressed to them: ‘on your part, you must make it your constant care to bring them up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life which God gives them is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in their hearts. If your faith makes you ready to accept this responsibility… […] These words of the Rite suggest that, in a certain way, the profession of faith and the renunciation of sin by the parents, godfathers and godmothers constitute the necessary premises for the Church to confer Baptism upon their children. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 10, 2010)

  • Helped by the example of their godparents, the baptized must walk in this light of faith

It is the role of Baptism to illumine those being baptized with the light of Christ, to open their eyes to Christ’s splendour and to introduce them to the mystery of God through the divine light of faith. The children who are about to be baptized must walk in this light throughout their lives, helped by the words and example of their parents and their godparents. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 10, 2010)

  • A demanding mission that requires drawing from the good springs

The parents’ task, helped by the godfather and godmother, is to raise their son or daughter. Raising children is very demanding and at times taxes our human capability, which is always limited. However, educating becomes a marvelous mission if it is carried out in collaboration with God who is the first and true educator of every human being. […] As adults, we have striven to draw from the good springs for our own good and for the good of those entrusted to our responsibility, and you in particular, dear parents and godparents, for the good of these children. And what are ‘the springs of salvation’? They are the Word of God and the sacraments. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 8, 2012)

  • Godparents must offer good example openly and without compromises

Dear godparents, it is your important duty to sustain and help the parents in their educational task […] May you always be able to offer them your good example, through the practice of the Christian virtues. It is not easy to express what one believes in openly and without compromises. This is especially true in the context in which we live, in the face of a society that all too often considers those who live by faith in Jesus as out of fashion and out of time. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 13, 2013)

  • To carry a baby to the baptismal font is a gift and a joy, but also a responsibility

Dear friends, how great is the gift of Baptism! If we were to take this fully into account our lives would become a continual ‘thank you’. What a joy for Christian parents, who have seen a new creature come into being from their love, to carry the baby to the baptismal font and see him or her reborn from the womb of the Church, for a life without end! It is a gift, a joy, but also a responsibility! Parents, in fact, together with godparents, must educate their children in accordance with the Gospel. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, January 11, 2009)

  • The so-called ‘extended’ family impresses upon children an erroneous typology of the family

The Church cannot be indifferent to the separation of spouses and to divorce, facing the break-up of homes and the consequences for the children that divorce causes. If they are to be instructed and educated, children need extremely precise and concrete reference points, in other words parents who are determined and reliable who contribute in quite another way to their upbringing. Nor, it is this principle that the practice of divorce is undermining and jeopardizing with the so-called ‘extended’ family that multiplies ‘father’ and ‘mother’ figures and explains why today the majority of those who feel ‘orphans’ are not children without parents but children who have too many. This situation, with the inevitable interference and the intersection of relationships, cannot but give rise to inner conflict and confusion, contributing to creating and impressing upon children an erroneous typology of the family, which in a certain sense can be compared to cohabitation, because of its precariousness. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Bishops of Brazil on their ad limina visit, September 25, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on offering rosaries

  • God is thirsts for our prayer – It is necessary to remember God more often than one breathes

Gregory [Saint Gregory Nazianzus] teaches us first and foremost the importance and necessity of prayer. He says: ‘It is necessary to remember God more often than one breathes’ (Orationes 27, 4), because prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with our thirst. God is thirsting for us to thirst for him (cf. Orationes 40, 27). In prayer, we must turn our hearts to God, to consign ourselves to him as an offering to be purified and transformed. In prayer we see all things in the light of Christ, we let our masks fall and immerse ourselves in the truth and in listening to God, feeding the fire of love. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, August 22, 2007)

  • The Holy Rosary, a prayer of meditation: in repeating the Hail Mary we reflect on the Mystery

In our time we are taken up with so many activities and duties, worries and problems: we often tend to fill all of the spaces of the day, without leaving a moment to pause and reflect and to nourish our spiritual life, contact with God.
Mary teaches us how necessary it is to find in our busy day, moments for silent recollection, to meditate on what the Lord wants to teach us. […] To meditate, therefore, means to create within us a situation of recollection, of inner silence, in order to reflect upon and assimilate the mysteries of our faith and what God is working within us; and not merely on the things that come and go. We may undertake this “rumination” in various ways: for example, by taking a brief passage of Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles or the Letters of the Apostles. […] The Holy Rosary is also a prayer of meditation: in repeating the Hail Mary we are asked to think about and reflect on the Mystery which we have just proclaimed. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, August 17, 2011)

  • This cadent repetition of the Hail Mary does not disturb inner silence, but indeed both demands and nourishes it

The Rosary is a school of contemplation and silence. At first glance, it could seem a prayer that accumulates words, therefore difficult to reconcile with the silence that is rightly recommended for meditation and contemplation. In fact, this cadent repetition of the Hail Mary does not disturb inner silence but indeed both demands and nourishes it. (Benedict XVI. Meditation, Pontifical Shrine of Pompeii, October 19, 2008)

…judges Francis’ words that it was not an offense accepting the Cross in the form of a communist symbol

  • Marxism’s great deception: change becomes destruction

God’s glory and peace on earth are inseparable. Where God is excluded, there is a breakdown of peace in the world; without God, no orthopraxis can save us. In fact, there does not exist an orthopraxis which is simply just, detached from a knowledge of what is good. The will without knowledge is blind and so action, orthopraxis, without knowledge is blind and leads to the abyss. Marxism’s great deception was to tell us that we had reflected on the world long enough, that now it was at last time to change it. But if we do not know in what direction to change it, if we do not understand its meaning and its inner purpose, then change alone becomes destruction – as we have seen and continue to see. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Lecture at the Bishops’ Conference in Benevento (Italy) on the topic: “Eucharist, Communion and Solidarity”, June 2, 2002)

  • Marx and communism: a road towards all-encompassing change

The nineteenth century held fast to its faith in progress as the new form of human hope, and it continued to consider reason and freedom as the guiding stars to be followed along the path of hope. Nevertheless, the increasingly rapid advance of technical development and the industrialization connected with it soon gave rise to an entirely new social situation: there emerged a class of industrial workers and the so-called “industrial proletariat”, whose dreadful living conditions Friedrich Engels described alarmingly in 1845. For his readers, the conclusion is clear: this cannot continue; a change is necessary. Yet the change would shake up and overturn the entire structure of bourgeois society. After the bourgeois revolution of 1789, the time had come for a new, proletarian revolution: progress could not simply continue in small, linear steps. A revolutionary leap was needed. Karl Marx took up the rallying call, and applied his incisive language and intellect to the task of launching this major new and, as he thought, definitive step in history towards salvation—towards what Kant had described as the “Kingdom of God”. Once the truth of the hereafter had been rejected, it would then be a question of establishing the truth of the here and now. The critique of Heaven is transformed into the critique of earth, the critique of theology into the critique of politics. Progress towards the better, towards the definitively good world, no longer comes simply from science but from politics—from a scientifically conceived politics that recognizes the structure of history and society and thus points out the road towards revolution, towards all-encompassing change. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 20, November 30, 2007)

  • Marx’s real error is materialism

With great precision, albeit with a certain onesided bias, Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution—and not only theoretically: by means of the Communist Party that came into being from the Communist Manifesto of 1848, he set it in motion. His promise, owing to the acuteness of his analysis and his clear indication of the means for radical change, was and still remains an endless source of fascination. Real revolution followed, in the most radical way in Russia. Together with the victory of the revolution, though, Marx’s fundamental error also became evident. He showed precisely how to overthrow the existing order, but he did not say how matters should proceed thereafter. He simply presumed that with the expropriation of the ruling class, with the fall of political power and the socialization of means of production, the new Jerusalem would be realized. Then, indeed, all contradictions would be resolved, man and the world would finally sort themselves out. Then everything would be able to proceed by itself along the right path, because everything would belong to everyone and all would desire the best for one another. Thus, having accomplished the revolution, Lenin must have realized that the writings of the master gave no indication as to how to proceed. True, Marx had spoken of the interim phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessity which in time would automatically become redundant. This ‘intermediate phase’ we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction. Marx not only omitted to work out how this new world would be organized—which should, of course, have been unnecessary. His silence on this matter follows logically from his chosen approach. His error lay deeper. He forgot that man always remains man. He forgot man and he forgot man’s freedom. He forgot that freedom always remains also freedom for evil. He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe salvi, no. 20-21, November 30, 2007)

  • Marxism: illusory panacea that promised the remedy for all social problems

Marxism had seen world revolution and its preliminaries as the panacea for the social problem: revolution and the subsequent collectivization of the means of production, so it was claimed, would immediately change things for the better. This illusion has vanished. In today’s complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the Church’s social doctrine has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are valid even beyond the confines of the Church: in the face of ongoing development these guidelines need to be addressed in the context of dialogue with all those seriously concerned for humanity and for the world in which we live. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 27, December 25, 2005)

  • John Paul II reclaimed for Christianity the impulse of hope which had faltered before Marxism

When Karol Wojtyła ascended to the throne of Peter, he brought with him a deep understanding of the difference between Marxism and Christianity, based on their respective visions of man. This was his message: man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man. With this message, which is the great legacy of the Second Vatican Council and of its “helmsman”, the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, John Paul II led the People of God across the threshold of the Third Millennium, which thanks to Christ he was able to call “the threshold of hope”. Throughout the long journey of preparation for the great Jubilee he directed Christianity once again to the future, the future of God, which transcends history while nonetheless directly affecting it. He rightly reclaimed for Christianity that impulse of hope which had in some sense faltered before Marxism and the ideology of progress. He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope, to be lived in history in an ‘Advent’ spirit, in a personal and communitarian existence directed to Christ, the fullness of humanity and the fulfillment of all our longings for justice and peace. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the Beatification of the Servant of God John Paul II, May 1, 2011)

  • Liberation Theology: an experience of facile millenarianisms

[Journalist]: As regards my colleague’s question, there are still many exponents of liberation theology in various parts of Brazil. What is the specific message to these exponents of liberation theology?
[Benedict XVI]: I would say that with the changes in the political situation, the situation of liberation theology is also profoundly different. It is now obvious that these facile millenarianisms – which as a consequence of the revolution promised the full conditions for a just life immediately – were mistaken. Everyone knows this today
. The question now concerns how the Church must be present in the fight for the necessary reforms, in the fight for fairer living conditions. Theologians are divided on this, especially the exponents of political theology. With the Instruction published at that time by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, we sought to carry out a task of discernment. In other words, we tried to rid ourselves of false millenarianisms and of an erroneous combination of Church and politics, of faith and politics; and to show that the Church’s specific mission is precisely to come up with a response to the thirst for God and therefore also to teach the personal and social virtues that are the necessary conditions for the development of a sense of lawfulness. (Benedict XVI. Interview during the flight to Brazil, for the occasion of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, May 9, 2007)

…judges Francis’ pro-communist ideas expressed in the Meetings with Popular Movements

  • Marxists reject true charity since they consider it a means of preserving the status quo and slowing down a potential revolution

Christian charitable activity must be independent of parties and ideologies. It is not a means of changing the world ideologically, and it is not at the service of worldly stratagems, but it is a way of making present here and now the love which man always needs. The modern age, particularly from the nineteenth century on, has been dominated by various versions of a philosophy of progress whose most radical form is Marxism. Part of Marxist strategy is the theory of impoverishment: in a situation of unjust power, it is claimed, anyone who engages in charitable initiatives is actually serving that unjust system, making it appear at least to some extent tolerable. This in turn slows down a potential revolution and thus blocks the struggle for a better world. Seen in this way, charity is rejected and attacked as a means of preserving the status quo. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus Caritas est, December 25, 2005)

  • Marxist panacea: collectivization of the means of production as the remedy for all social problems

Marxism had seen world revolution and its preliminaries as the panacea for the social problem: revolution and the subsequent collectivization of the means of production, so it was claimed, would immediately change things for the better. This illusion has vanished. In today’s complex situation, not least because of the growth of a globalized economy, the Church’s social doctrine has become a set of fundamental guidelines offering approaches that are valid even beyond the confines of the Church: in the face of ongoing development these guidelines need to be addressed in the context of dialogue with all those seriously concerned for humanity and for the world in which we live. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 27, December 25, 2005)

  • Marx’s real error is materialism – it was and still remains an endless source of fascination. But it is not possible to redeem man only through the economy

With great precision, albeit with a certain onesided bias, Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution—and not only theoretically: by means of the Communist Party that came into being from the Communist Manifesto of 1848, he set it in motion. His promise, owing to the acuteness of his analysis and his clear indication of the means for radical change, was and still remains an endless source of fascination. Real revolution followed, in the most radical way in Russia. Together with the victory of the revolution, though, Marx’s fundamental error also became evident. He showed precisely how to overthrow the existing order, but he did not say how matters should proceed thereafter. He simply presumed that with the expropriation of the ruling class, with the fall of political power and the socialization of means of production, the new Jerusalem would be realized. Then, indeed, all contradictions would be resolved, man and the world would finally sort themselves out. Then everything would be able to proceed by itself along the right path, because everything would belong to everyone and all would desire the best for one another. Thus, having accomplished the revolution, Lenin must have realized that the writings of the master gave no indication as to how to proceed. True, Marx had spoken of the interim phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessity which in time would automatically become redundant. This ‘intermediate phase’ we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction. Marx not only omitted to work out how this new world would be organized—which should, of course, have been unnecessary. His silence on this matter follows logically from his chosen approach. His error lay deeper. He forgot that man always remains man. He forgot man and he forgot man’s freedom. He forgot that freedom always remains also freedom for evil. He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spes salve, no. 20-21, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ ideas on faith being revolutionary

  • Christians should deepen their knowledge of the faith and live consistently with it

For the future of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean it is important that Christians have a deeper knowledge and adopt an appropriate lifestyle as Jesus’ disciples, simple and joyful with a firm faith rooted in the depths of their heart and nourished by prayer and the sacraments. In fact, the Christian faith is nourished above all by the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, in which is brought about a unique and special community encounter with Christ, his life and his Word. […] In a special way, the frequently recurring phenomena of exploitation and injustice, corruption and violence, are a pressing appeal to Christians to live their faith consistently and to strive to receive a firm doctrinal and spiritual formation, thereby helping to build a more just, more human and more Christian society. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Commission For Latin America, January 20, 2007)

…judges Francis’ ideas on the Church closed and ailing

  • You cannot be a good servant to others if you neglect your soul

‘Take heed to yourselves’ (Acts 20:28): this too is a word to the priests of all times. A well-intentioned activism exists but in which a person forgets his own soul, his own spiritual life, his own being with Christ. In the Breviary Reading for his liturgical Memorial, St Charles Borromeo tells us every year anew: you cannot be a good servant to others if you neglect your soul. ‘Watch over yourselves.’ Let us also be attentive to our spiritual life, to our being with Christ. As I have often said, prayer and meditation on the Word of God is not time wasted for the care of souls, but is the condition for us to be able to be really in touch with the Lord, and thus to speak of the Lord to others from experience. ‘Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the Church of the Lord’ (Acts 20:28). (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina, meeting with the Parish Priests of the Rome Diocese, March 10, 2011)

  • Missionary zeal is proof of a radical experience of ever renewed fidelity

I therefore say to you, dear friends of the Movements: act so as to ensure that they are always schools of communion, groups journeying on in which one learns to live in the truth and love that Christ revealed and communicated to us through the witness of the Apostles, in the heart of the great family of his disciples. May Jesus’ exhortation ceaselessly re-echo in your hearts: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’ (Mt 5: 16). Bring Christ’s light to all the social and cultural milieus in which you live. Missionary zeal is proof of a radical experience of ever renewed fidelity to one’s charism that surpasses any kind of weary or selfish withdrawal. Dispel the darkness of a world overwhelmed by the contradictory messages of ideologies! There is no valid beauty if there is not a truth to recognize and follow, if love gives way to transitory sentiment, if happiness becomes an elusive mirage or if freedom degenerates into instinct. (Benedict XVI. Message to the participants of the Second World Congress on Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, May 22, 2006)

  • A Pastor supervises not as a bureaucrat but as one who sees from God’s viewpoint

Perhaps these are the two central concepts for this office of ‘shepherd’: to nourish by making the Word of God known, not only with words but by testifying to it for God’s will and to protect it with prayer, with the full commitment of one’s life. Pastors, the other meaning which the Fathers saw in the Christian word ‘episkopoi’ is: someone who supervises not as a bureaucrat but as one who sees from God’s viewpoint, who walks towards the heights of God and in the light of God sees this small community of the Church. This is also important for a pastor of the Church, for a priest, an ‘episkopos’ who sees from the viewpoint of God, who tries to see from on high with God’s criterion, not according to his own preferences, but rather as God judges; to see from God’s heights and thus loving with God and through God. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina, meeting with the parish priests of the Rome Diocese, March 10, 2011)

  • Pastors must make themselves examples to the flock, knowing how to resist enemies

It is the shepherd’s task to feed and tend his flock and take it to the right pastures. Grazing the flock means taking care that the sheep find the right nourishment, that their hunger is satisfied and their thirst quenched. The metaphor apart, this means: the word of God is the nourishment that the human being needs. Making God’s word ever present and new and thereby giving nourishment to people is the task of the righteous Pastor. And he must also know how to resist the enemies, the wolves. He must go first, point out the way, preserve the unity of the flock. Peter, in his discourse to priests, highlights another very important thing. It is not enough to speak. Pastors must make themselves ‘examples to the flock’ (5: 3). When it is lived, the word of God is brought from the past into the present. It is marvellous to see how in saints the word of God becomes a word addressed to our time. […] This is what being a Pastor means a model for the flock: living the word now, in the great community of holy Church. (Benedict XVI. Homily, June 29, 2009)

 …judges Francis’ words in his first appearance

  • The indissoluble bond between romanum and petrinum implies and requires universal concern

Thus, humbly attached to Christ, our One Lord, together we can and must encourage that ‘exemplarity’ of the Church of Rome which is genuine service to our Sister Churches across the world. The indissoluble bond between romanum and petrinum implies and indeed requires the Church of Rome’s participation in the universal concern of her Bishops. […] Rome is a very large Diocese and truly a very special one, because of the universal concern that the Lord has entrusted to his Bishop. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Clergy of Rome, May 13, 2005)

…judges Francis’ ideas on the norms of the Church

  • The Code of Canon Law contains the norms for the good of the person and of the communities of the whole Mystical Body

The Congress that is being celebrated on this important anniversary treats a theme of great interest because it highlights the close link that exists between canon law and Church life in accordance with the desire of Jesus Christ. On this occasion I am therefore anxious to reaffirm a fundamental concept that imbues canon law. The ius ecclesiae is not only a body of norms formulated by the Ecclesial Legislator for this special people who form the Church of Christ. It is, in the first place, the authoritative declaration on the part of the Ecclesial Legislator of the duties and rights that are based in the sacraments and are therefore born from the institution by Christ himself. This series of juridical realties treated by the Code forms a wonderful mosaic in which are portrayed the faces of all the faithful, lay people and Pastors and all the communities, from the universal Church to the particular Churches. […] Moreover, the Code of Canon Law contains the norms formulated by the Ecclesial Legislator for the good of the person and of the communities of the whole Mystical Body which is the Holy Church. […] The Church thus recognizes in her laws the nature as well as the means and pastoral function for pursuing her own end, which – as is well known – is the achievement of the ‘salus animarum’. (Benedict XVI. Address on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law, January 25, 2008)

  • The laws of the Church set us free to adhere to Jesus

Since canon law outlines the rules necessary for the People of God to orient themselves effectively to their own end, one understands how important it is that this law be loved and observed by all the faithful. Church law is first and foremost lex libertatis: a law that sets us free to adhere to Jesus. It is therefore necessary to be able to present to the People of God, to the new generations and to all who are called to make canon law respected, its concrete bond with the life of the Church, in order to safeguard the delicate interests of the things of God and to protect the rights of the weakest, of those who have no other means by which to make their presence felt, and also in defence of those delicate ‘goods’ which every member of the faithful has freely received – the gift of faith, of God’s grace, first of all -, which the Church cannot allow to be deprived of adequate protection on the part of the Law. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the Study Congress on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law, January 25, 2008)

…judges Francis’ ideas present in Laudate Si

  • Respecting the environment means respecting the hierarchy within creation and not considering nature selfishly

We need to care for the environment: it has been entrusted to men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the good of all as a constant guiding criterion. Human beings, obviously, are of supreme worth vis-à-vis creation as a whole. Respecting the environment does not mean considering material or animal nature more important than man. Rather, it means not selfishly considering nature to be at the complete disposal of our own interests, for future generations also have the right to reap its benefits and to exhibit towards nature the same responsible freedom that we claim for ourselves. (Benedict XVI. Message for the 41st World Day for Peace, January 1, 2007)

  • The idea of evolutionary determinism leads to considering nature an untouchable taboo or to abusing it. To view nature as something more important than the human person leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism — human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense

Today the subject of development is also closely related to the duties arising from our relationship to the natural environment. The environment is God’s gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. When nature, including the human being, is viewed as the result of mere chance or evolutionary determinism, our sense of responsibility wanes. In nature, the believer recognizes the wonderful result of God’s creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation. If this vision is lost, we end up either considering nature an untouchable taboo or, on the contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is consonant with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God’s creation. Nature expresses a design of love and truth. It is prior to us, and it has been given to us by God as the setting for our life. Nature speaks to us of the Creator (cf. Rom 1:20) and his love for humanity. It is destined to be ‘recapitulated’ in Christ at the end of time (cf. Eph 1:9-10; Col 1:19-20). Thus it too is a ‘vocation’ (John Paul II, Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 6). Nature is at our disposal not as ‘a heap of scattered refuse’(Heraclitus of Ephesus, Fragment 22B124), but as a gift of the Creator who has given it an inbuilt order, enabling man to draw from it the principles needed in order ‘to till it and keep it’ (Gen 2:15). But it should also be stressed that it is contrary to authentic development to view nature as something more important than the human person. This position leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism — human salvation cannot come from nature alone, understood in a purely naturalistic sense. This having been said, it is also necessary to reject the opposite position, which aims at total technical dominion over nature, because the natural environment is more than raw material to be manipulated at our pleasure; it is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a ‘grammar’ which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in veritate, no. 48, June 29, 2009)

  • So-called integral ecology: egalitarian vision of the ‘dignity’ of living creatures that abolishes the superior role of human beings, opening the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism. Man must not abuse nature, but also may not abdicate his role of steward and administrator with responsibility over creation

There exists a certain reciprocity: as we care for creation, we realize that God, through creation, cares for us. On the other hand, a correct understanding of the relationship between man and the environment will not end by absolutizing nature or by considering it more important than the human person. If the Church’s magisterium expresses grave misgivings about notions of the environment inspired by ecocentrism and biocentrism, it is because such notions eliminate the difference of identity and worth between the human person and other living things. In the name of a supposedly egalitarian vision of the ‘dignity’ of all living creatures, such notions end up abolishing the distinctiveness and superior role of human beings. They also open the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone, understood in purely naturalistic terms. The Church, for her part, is concerned that the question be approached in a balanced way, with respect for the ‘grammar’ which the Creator has inscribed in his handiwork by giving man the role of a steward and administrator with responsibility over creation, a role which man must certainly not abuse, but also one which he may not abdicate. (Benedict XVI. Message for the 43rd World Day of Peace, no. 13, January 1, 2010)

  • Authentic human development must include not just material but also spiritual growth, as the saints accomplished, since the human person is a ‘unity of body and soul’, born of God’s creative love and destined for eternal life

One aspect of the contemporary technological mindset is the tendency to consider the problems and emotions of the interior life from a purely psychological point of view, even to the point of neurological reductionism. In this way man’s interiority is emptied of its meaning and gradually our awareness of the human soul’s ontological depths, as probed by the saints, is lost. The question of development is closely bound up with our understanding of the human soul, insofar as we often reduce the self to the psyche and confuse the soul’s health with emotional well-being. These over-simplifications stem from a profound failure to understand the spiritual life, and they obscure the fact that the development of individuals and peoples depends partly on the resolution of problems of a spiritual nature. Development must include not just material growth but also spiritual growth, since the human person is a ‘unity of body and soul’ (GS, 14), born of God’s creative love and destined for eternal life. The human being develops when he grows in the spirit, when his soul comes to know itself and the truths that God has implanted deep within, when he enters into dialogue with himself and his Creator. When he is far away from God, man is unsettled and ill at ease. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in veritate, no. 76, June 29, 2009)

  • Human beings interpret and shape the natural environment through culture, which in turn is given direction by the responsible use of freedom, in accordance with the dictates of the moral law

Today much harm is done to development precisely as a result of these distorted notions. Reducing nature merely to a collection of contingent data ends up doing violence to the environment and even encouraging activity that fails to respect human nature itself. Our nature, constituted not only by matter but also by spirit, and as such, endowed with transcendent meaning and aspirations, is also normative for culture. Human beings interpret and shape the natural environment through culture, which in turn is given direction by the responsible use of freedom, in accordance with the dictates of the moral law. Consequently, projects for integral human development cannot ignore coming generations, but need to be marked by solidarity and inter-generational justice, while taking into account a variety of contexts: ecological, juridical, economic, political and cultural. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in veritate, no. 48, June 29, 2009)

  • Fragments of Caritas in Veritate omitted in the citations of Laudato Si’: The ecological system is based not only on a good relationship with nature, but also on respect for a plan that affects the health of society – the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society

The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. […] Just as human virtues are interrelated, such that the weakening of one places others at risk, so the ecological system is based on respect for a plan that affects both the health of society and its good relationship with nature. In order to protect nature, it is not enough to intervene with economic incentives or deterrents; not even an apposite education is sufficient. These are important steps, but the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in veritate, no. 51, June 29, 2009)

  • If the relationship between human creatures and the Creator is forgotten, matter is reduced to a selfish possession; man becomes the ‘last word’

The Earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us bearings that guide us as stewards of his creation. Precisely from within this framework, the Church considers matters concerning the environment and its protection intimately linked to the theme of integral human development. In my recent Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, I referred more than once to such questions, recalling the ‘pressing moral need for renewed solidarity’ (n. 49) not only between countries but also between individuals, since the natural environment is given by God to everyone, and our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole, and in particular towards the poor and towards future generations (cf. n. 48). Bearing in mind our common responsibility for creation (cf. n. 51), the Church is not only committed to promoting the protection of land, water and air as gifts of the Creator destined to everyone but above all she invites others and works herself to protect mankind from self-destruction. In fact, ‘when ‘human ecology’ is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits’ (ibid.). Is it not true that an irresponsible use of creation begins precisely where God is marginalized or even denied? If the relationship between human creatures and the Creator is forgotten, matter is reduced to a selfish possession, man becomes the ‘last word’, and the purpose of human existence is reduced to a scramble for the maximum number of possessions possible. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, August 26, 2009)

  • There is a need to safeguard the human patrimony of society that originates in and is part of the natural moral law, which is the foundation of respect for the human person and creation

The Church has a responsibility towards creation, and she considers it her duty to exercise that responsibility in public life, in order to protect earth, water and air as gifts of God the Creator meant for everyone, and above all to save mankind from the danger of self-destruction. The degradation of nature is closely linked to the cultural models shaping human coexistence: consequently, ‘when ‘human ecology’ is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits’ (Caritas in Veritate, 51). Young people cannot be asked to respect the environment if they are not helped, within families and society as a whole, to respect themselves. The book of nature is one and indivisible; it includes not only the environment but also individual, family and social ethics (cf. ibid., 15, 51). Our duties towards the environment flow from our duties towards the person, considered both individually and in relation to others. Hence I readily encourage efforts to promote a greater sense of ecological responsibility which, as I indicated in my Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, would safeguard an authentic ‘human ecology’ and thus forcefully reaffirm the inviolability of human life at every stage and in every condition, the dignity of the person and the unique mission of the family, where one is trained in love of neighbour and respect for nature (cf. ibid., 28, 51, 61; John Paul II. Centesimus Annus, 38,- 39). There is a need to safeguard the human patrimony of society. This patrimony of values originates in and is part of the natural moral law, which is the foundation of respect for the human person and creation. (Benedict XVI. Message for the 43rd World Day of Peace, no. 12, January 1, 2010)

  • Prerequisite for saving the ecology: saving our spiritual ozone layer and especially saving our spiritual rainforests – a real conversion, as faith understands it, toward the will of God

We have acknowledged the problem of environmental destruction. However, the fact that saving our spiritual ozone layer and especially saving our spiritual rainforests is the prerequisite for saving the ecology seems to penetrate our consciousness only very slowly. Shouldn’t we have asked long ago: What about the contamination of our thinking, the pollution of our souls? Many things that we permit in this media-and-commerce-driven society are basically the equivalent of a toxic load that almost inevitably must lead to a spiritual poisoning. There is no overlooking the fact that there is a poisoning of thought, which in advance leads us into false perspectives. To free ourselves again from it by means of a real conversion – to use that fundamental word of the Christian faith – is one of the challenges that by now are becoming obvious to everyone. In our modern world, which is so scientifically oriented, such concepts no longer had any meaning. A conversion, as faith understands it, toward the will of God who shows us a way was considered old-fashioned and outmoded. I believe, though, that gradually it is becoming evident that there is something to it when we say that we must reconsider all this. (Benedict XVI. Light of the World. The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 26)

  • Goodwill alone is not enough…Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. The strength to fight and suffer for the common good comes from the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’

Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5) and then encourages us: ‘I am with you always, to the close of the age’ (Mt 28:20). As we contemplate the vast amount of work to be done, we are sustained by our faith that God is present alongside those who come together in his name to work for justice. Paul VI recalled in Populorum Progressio that man cannot bring about his own progress unaided, because by himself he cannot establish an authentic humanism. Only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God’s family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism. The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism (Populorum Progressio) that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God. Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity. On the other hand, ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today. A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism. Only a humanism open to the Absolute can guide us in the promotion and building of forms of social and civic life — structures, institutions, culture and ethos — without exposing us to the risk of becoming ensnared by the fashions of the moment. Awareness of God’s undying love sustains us in our laborious and stimulating work for justice and the development of peoples, amid successes and failures, in the ceaseless pursuit of a just ordering of human affairs. God’s love calls us to move beyond the limited and the ephemeral, it gives us the courage to continue seeking and working for the benefit of all, even if this cannot be achieved immediately and if what we are able to achieve, alongside political authorities and those working in the field of economics, is always less than we might wish (Spe Salvi, 35). God gives us the strength to fight and to suffer for love of the common good, because he is our All, our greatest hope. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in veritate, no. 78, June 29, 2009)

  • It becomes more and more evident that there is an inseparable link between peace with creation and peace among men. Both of these presuppose peace with God

By responding to this charge, entrusted to them by the Creator, men and women can join in bringing about a world of peace. Alongside the ecology of nature, there exists what can be called a ‘human’ ecology, which in turn demands a ‘social’ ecology. All this means that humanity, if it truly desires peace, must be increasingly conscious of the links between natural ecology, or respect for nature, and human ecology. Experience shows that disregard for the environment always harms human coexistence, and vice versa. It becomes more and more evident that there is an inseparable link between peace with creation and peace among men. Both of these presuppose peace with God. (Benedict XVI. Message for the 40th World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

  • Without a transcendent foundation founded on moral values – which are Christian values – society is a mere aggregation of neighbors, not a community of brothers and sisters called to form one great family

The social community, if it is to live in peace, is also called to draw inspiration from the values on which the family community is based. This is as true for local communities as it is for national communities; it is also true for the international community itself, for the human family which dwells in that common house which is the earth. Here, however, we cannot forget that the family comes into being from the responsible and definitive ‘yes’ of a man and a women, and it continues to live from the conscious ‘yes’ of the children who gradually join it. The family community, in order to prosper, needs the generous consent of all its members. This realization also needs to become a shared conviction on the part of all those called to form the common human family. We need to say our own ‘yes’ to this vocation which God has inscribed in our very nature. We do not live alongside one another purely by chance; all of us are progressing along a common path as men and women, and thus as brothers and sisters. Consequently, it is essential that we should all be committed to living our lives in an attitude of responsibility before God, acknowledging him as the deepest source of our own existence and that of others. By going back to this supreme principle we are able to perceive the unconditional worth of each human being, and thus to lay the premises for building a humanity at peace. Without this transcendent foundation society is a mere aggregation of neighbours, not a community of brothers and sisters called to form one great family. (Benedict XVI. Message for the 41st World Day of Peace, January 1, 2008)

…judges Francis’ ideas present in Laudate Si

  • Man has an incomparable dignity: God did not hesitate to give his own Son for him

Man, created in the image of God, has an incomparable dignity; man, who is so worthy of love in the eyes of his Creator that God did not hesitate to give his own Son for him. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the traditional exchange of New Year Greetings, January 8, 2007)

  • More than defending the earth, water and air, the Church must above all protect mankind from self-destruction

The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction. There is need for what might be called a human ecology, correctly understood. The deterioration of nature is in fact closely connected to the culture that shapes human coexistence: when ‘human ecology’ is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in veritate, no. 51, June 29, 2009)

  • Social doctrine is built on the foundation handed on by the Apostles to the Fathers of the Church

The Church’s social doctrine illuminates with an unchanging light the new problems that are constantly emerging. This safeguards the permanent and historical character of the doctrinal ‘patrimony’ (John Paul II. Laborem Exercens) which, with its specific characteristics, is part and parcel of the Church’s ever-living Tradition (John Paul II. Centesimus Annus). Social doctrine is built on the foundation handed on by the Apostles to the Fathers of the Church, and then received and further explored by the great Christian doctors. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in veritate, no. 12, June 29, 2009)

  • Christians have their own contribution to make – in light of divine Revelation and in fidelity to Tradition

If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation. The quest for peace by people of good will surely would become easier if all acknowledge the indivisible relationship between God, human beings and the whole of creation. In the light of divine Revelation and in fidelity to the Church’s Tradition, Christians have their own contribution to make. They contemplate the cosmos and its marvels in light of the creative work of the Father and the redemptive work of Christ, who by his death and resurrection has reconciled with God ‘all things, whether on earth or in heaven’ (Col 1:20). (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the 43rd World Day of Peace, no. 14, January 1, 2010)

  • Without the Tradition of the Apostolic Faith, social doctrine is reduced to merely sociological data

A fresh reading of Populorum Progressio, more than forty years after its publication, invites us to remain faithful to its message of charity and truth, viewed within the overall context of Paul VI’s specific magisterium and, more generally, within the tradition of the Church’s social doctrine. Moreover, an evaluation is needed of the different terms in which the problem of development is presented today, as compared with forty years ago. The correct viewpoint, then, is that of the Tradition of the Apostolic Faith [13], a patrimony both ancient and new, outside of which Populorum Progressio would be a document without roots — and issues concerning development would be reduced to merely sociological data. (Note 13: Cf. Benedict XVI. Address at the Inauguration of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, Aparecida, 13 May 2007). (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in veritate, no. 10, June 29, 2009)

  • We cannot work well for the earth unless we take into account the Last Judgement, Purgatory, Hell and Heaven

In the Encyclical Spe Salvi I wanted to speak precisely about the Last Judgement, judgement in general, and in this context also about Purgatory, Hell and Heaven. I think we have all been struck by the Marxist objection that Christians have only spoken of the afterlife and have ignored the earth. […] Now, although it is right to show that Christians work for the earth – and we are all called to work to make this earth really a city for God and of God – we must not forget the other dimension. Unless we take it into account, we cannot work well for the earth: to show this was one of my fundamental purposes in writing the Encyclical. When one does not know the judgement of God one does not know the possibility of Hell, of the radical and definitive failure of life, one does not know the possibility of and need for purification. Man then fails to work well for the earth because he ultimately loses his criteria, he no longer knows himself – through not knowing God – and destroys the earth. All the great ideologies have promised: we will take things in hand, we will no longer neglect the earth, we will create a new, just, correct and brotherly world. But they destroyed the world instead. We see it with Nazism, we also see it with Communism which promised to build the world as it was supposed to be and instead destroyed it. In the ad limina visits of Bishops from former Communist countries, I always see anew that in those lands, not only the planet and ecology, but above all and more seriously, souls have been destroyed. Rediscovering the truly human conscience illuminated by God’s presence is our first task for the re-edification of the earth. This is the common experience of those countries. The re-edification of the earth, while respecting this planet’s cry of suffering, can only be achieved by rediscovering God in the soul with the eyes open to God. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Parish Priests and the Clergy of the Diocese of Rome, February 7, 2008)

  • The relationship between humans and the environment ultimately stems from their relationship with God

The relationship between individuals or communities and the environment ultimately stems from their relationship with God. When ‘man turns his back on the Creator’s plan, he provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order’ (Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 5). (Benedict XVI. Message to the participants of the Seventh Symposium of the Religion, Science and the Environment Movement, September 1, 2007)

  • Creation awaits God’s children, who treat it according to God’s perspective

Rather, wherever the Creator’s Word was properly understood, wherever life was lived with the redeeming Creator, people strove to save creation and not to destroy it. Chapter 8 of the Letter to the Romans also fits into this context. It says that the whole of Creation has been groaning in travail because of the bondage to which it has been subjected, awaiting the revelation of God’s sons: it will feel liberated when creatures, men and women who are children of God, treat it according to God’s perspective. I believe that we can establish exactly this as a reality today. Creation is groaning – we perceive it, we almost hear it – and awaits human beings who will preserve it in accordance with God. […] And the wasting of creation begins when we no longer recognize any need superior to our own, but see only ourselves. It begins when there is no longer any concept of life beyond death, where in this life we must grab hold of everything and possess life as intensely as possible, where we must possess all that is possible to possess. I think, therefore, that true and effective initiatives to prevent the waste and destruction of Creation can be implemented and developed, understood and lived only where creation is considered as beginning with God; where life is considered as beginning with God and has greater dimensions – in responsibility before God – and one day will be given to us by God in fullness and never taken away from us: in giving life we receive it. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Clergy of the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone, August 6, 2008)

  • The mendicant orders were called to confont such heresies by their adhesion to the doctrine of the Church – In this context, Saint Francis’admiration for nature can be understood as a testimony of the goodness of creation

These two great saints [Francis of Assisi and Dominic de Guzmán] were able to read ‘the signs of the times’ intelligently, perceiving the challenges that the Church of their time would be obliged to face. A first challenge was the expansion of various groups and movements of the faithful who, in spite of being inspired by a legitimate desire for authentic Christian life often set themselves outside ecclesial communion. […] Furthermore, to justify their decisions, they disseminated doctrine incompatible with the Catholic faith. For example, the Cathars’ or Albigensians’ movement reproposed ancient heresies such as the debasement of and contempt for the material world the opposition to wealth soon became opposition to material reality as such, the denial of free will and, subsequently, dualism, the existence of a second principle of evil equivalent to God. […] This personal and community style of the Mendicant Orders, together with total adherence to the teaching and authority of the Church, was deeply appreciated by the Pontiffs of the time, such as Innocent III and Honorious III, who gave their full support to the new ecclesial experiences, recognizing in them the voice of the Spirit. And results were not lacking: the groups of paupers that had separated from the Church returned to ecclesial communion or were gradually reduced until they disappeared. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, January 13, 2010)

  • Saint Francis’ gazing at nature was a contemplation of the Creator; to understand it otherwise is to make Francis unrecognizable

Francis himself suffers a sort of mutilation when he is cast as a witness of albeit important values appreciated by contemporary culture, which overlooks the fact that his profound decision, we might say the heart of his life, was his choice for Christ. […] In Francis everything started from God and returned to God. His Praises of God Most High reveal his constantly enraptured heart in conversation with the Trinity. […] His gazing at nature was actually contemplation of the Creator in the beauty of his creatures. His actual hope of peace is thus modulated as a prayer, since the way in which he was to express it was revealed to him: ‘May the Lord give you peace’ (2 Testament 23). Francis was a man for others because he was a man of God through and through. To seek to separate the ‘horizontal’ dimension of his message from the ‘vertical’ would make Francis unrecognizable. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Clergy and men and women Religious, Cathedral of San Rufino, June 17, 2007)

  • The ‘Canticle of the Creatures’ before being an invitation to respect creation, is a prayer, praise addressed to the Creator – Francis’ canticle, of obvious biblical inspiration, aspires towards the Creator, not at environment protection  

In a word, Francis was truly in love with Jesus. He met him in the Word of God, in the brethren, in nature, but above all in the Eucharistic Presence. […] As with concentric circles, the love of Francis for Jesus extends not only to the Church but to all things seen in Christ and for Christ. Here the Canticle of the Creatures is born in which the eye rests on the splendour of creation: from brother sun to sister moon, from sister water to brother fire. His interior gaze became so pure and penetrating as to perceive the beauty of creation in the beauty of creatures. The Canticle of Brother Sun, before being a great work of poetry and an implicit invitation to respect creation, is a prayer, praise addressed to the Lord, Creator of all. (Benedict XVI. Address during the meeting with youth in the square in front of the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels, June 17, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Pope should not judge

  • The Pope bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity

But the invitation to give this address was extended to me as Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, who bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity. In issuing this invitation you are acknowledging the role that the Holy See plays as a partner within the community of peoples and states. Setting out from this international responsibility that I hold, I should like to propose to you some thoughts on the foundations of a free state of law. (Benedict XVI. Address, Visit to the Federal Parliament, the Budenstag, in the Reichstag Building, Berlin, September 22, 2011)

  • Christian faith and ethics do not wish to stifle love, but to make it healthy

Christian faith and ethics do not wish to stifle love but to make it healthy, strong and truly free: this is the exact meaning of the Ten Commandments, which are not a series of ‘noes’ but a great ‘yes’ to love and to life. Human love, in fact, needs to be purified, to mature and also to surpass itself if it is to be able to become fully human, to be the beginning of true and lasting joy, to respond, that is, to the question of eternity which it bears within it and which it cannot renounce without betraying itself.

This is the principal reason why love between a man and a woman is only completely fulfilled in marriage. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of the Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome, June 5, 2006)

  • There is a biological basis of the difference between the sexes

Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes. I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America. Saint Columban stated that: ‘If you take away freedom, you take away dignity’ (Ep. 4 ad Attela, in S. Columbani Opera, Dublin, 1957, p. 34). Yet freedom cannot be absolute, since man is not himself God, but the image of God, God’s creation. For man, the path to be taken cannot be determined by caprice or willfulness, but must rather correspond to the structure willed by the Creator. (Benedict XVI. Address to the the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the Traditional Exchange of New Year Greetings, January 11, 2010)

  • Profound falsehood of the ‘anthropological revolution’ in the new philosophy of sexuality of our times

While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: ‘one is not born a woman, one becomes so’ (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. (Benedict XVI. Address, Christmas Greetings to the members of the Roman Curia, December 21, 2012)

  • Denying the natural structure of marriage between a man and a woman brings serious harm to justice and peace

There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the 46th World Day of Peace, January 1, 2013)

  • A radical denial of the nature of the creature

The most dangerous snare of this current of thought is in fact the absolutization of man: man wants to be ab-solutus, freed from every bond and from every natural constitution. He claims to be independent and thinks that his happiness lies in his own self-affirmation. ‘Man calls his nature into question…. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be’ (Discourse to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2012). This is a radical denial of the nature of the creature and child in man, which ends in tragic loneliness. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, January 19, 2013)

… judges Francis’ ideas on the evangelization of the Americas

  • The priceless treasure of Latin America is faith in God – not a political ideology

This is the priceless treasure that is so abundant in Latin America, this is her most precious inheritance: faith in the God who is Love, who has shown us his face in Jesus Christ. You believe in the God who is Love: this is your strength, which overcomes the world, the joy that nothing and no one can ever take from you, the peace that Christ won for you by his Cross! This is the faith that has made America the ‘Continent of Hope.’ Not a political ideology, not a social movement, not an economic system: faith in the God who is Love—who took flesh, died and rose in Jesus Christ—is the authentic basis for this hope which has brought forth such a magnificent harvest from the time of the first evangelization until today… (Benedict XVI. Holy Mass for the inauguration of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida – Homily, May 13, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church reduced to a minority

  • The principal task of the Church is evangelization

The Church is missionary by nature and her principal task is evangelization, which aims to proclaim and to witness to Christ and to promote his Gospel of peace and love in every environment and culture. […] The Church is also called in the military world to be ‘salt’, ‘light’ and ‘leaven’, to use the images to which Jesus himself refers, so that mindsets and structures may be ever more fully oriented to building peace, in other words, to that ‘order planned and willed by the love of God’ (Message for World Day of Peace, 1 January 2006), in which people and peoples can develop to the full and see their own fundamental rights recognized (ibid., n.4). (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the Fifth National congress of Military Ordinariates, October 26, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on Communism

  • The wounds of Communism have not yet completely healed

Venerable Brothers, the Lord has chosen you to work in his vineyard in a society that only recently emerged from the sad winter of persecution. While the wounds that Communism inflicted on your peoples have not yet completely healed, the influence of a secularism that exalts the mirages of consumerism and makes man the measure of himself is growing. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Bishops of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia on their ad limina visit, June 23, 2006)

  • A hardened regime, but it could not make the Church bow down

Blessed Alojzije Stepinac responded with his priesthood, with the episcopate, with the sacrifice of his life: a unique ‘yes’ united to that of Christ. His martyrdom signals the culmination of the violence perpetrated against the Church during the terrible period of communist persecution. Croatian Catholics, and in particular the clergy, were objects of oppression and systematic abuse, aimed at destroying the Catholic Church, beginning with its highest Authority in this place. That particularly difficult period was characterized by a generation of Bishops, priests and Religious who were ready to die rather than to betray Christ, the Church and the Pope. The people saw that the priests never lost faith, hope and charity, and thus they remained always united. This unity explains what is humanly inexplicable: that such a hardened regime could not make the Church bow down. (Benedict XVI. Celebration of Vespers with Bishops, Priests, Religious and Seminarians and prayer at the tomb of Blessed Alojzije Viktor Stepinac, June 5, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on equality as the source of justice and happiness

  • The Marxist reproach of charity in the name of ‘justice’ is mistaken

Since the nineteenth century, an objection has been raised to the Church’s charitable activity, subsequently developed with particular insistence by Marxism: the poor, it is claimed, do not need charity but justice. Works of charity—almsgiving—are in effect a way for the rich to shirk their obligation to work for justice and a means of soothing their consciences, while preserving their own status and robbing the poor of their rights. Instead of contributing through individual works of charity to maintaining the status quo, we need to build a just social order in which all receive their share of the world’s goods and no longer have to depend on charity. There is admittedly some truth to this argument, but also much that is mistaken. It is true that the pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of the State and that the aim of a just social order is to guarantee to each person, according to the principle of subsidiarity, his share of the community’s goods. This has always been emphasized by Christian teaching on the State and by the Church’s social doctrine. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 26, December 25, 2005)

  • The socialization of means of production left behind a trail of appalling destruction

He [Marx] simply presumed that with the expropriation of the ruling class, with the fall of political power and the socialization of means of production, the new Jerusalem would be realized. Then, indeed, all contradictions would be resolved, man and the world would finally sort themselves out. Then everything would be able to proceed by itself along the right path, because everything would belong to everyone and all would desire the best for one another. […] True, Marx had spoken of the interim phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessity which in time would automatically become redundant. This ‘intermediate phase’ we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction. Marx not only omitted to work out how this new world would be organized—which should, of course, have been unnecessary. […] He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe Salvi, no. 21, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the immortality of the soul

  • A distinguishing mark of Christians: they know that their lives will not end in emptiness

You must not ‘grieve as others do who have no hope’ (1Thess 4:13). Here too we see as a distinguishing mark of Christians the fact that they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well. So now we can say: Christianity was not only ‘good news’—the communication of a hitherto unknown content. In our language we would say: the Christian message was not only ‘informative’ but ‘performative’. That means: the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spes salvi, no. 2, November 30, 2007)

  • The Judge has entrusted talents to us – now we must work so that the world may be open to Christ

The Judge who returns at the same time as Judge and Saviour has left us the duty to live in this world in accordance with his way of living. He has entrusted his talents to us. Our third conviction, therefore, is responsibility before Christ for the world, for our brethren and at the same time also for the certainty of his mercy. Both these things are important. Since God can only be merciful we do not live as if good and evil were the same thing. This would be a deception. In reality, we live with a great responsibility. We have talents, and our responsibility is to work so that this world may be open to Christ, that it be renewed. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, November 12, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s omnipotence

  • We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution

We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. (Benedict XVI. Homily of the Mass of the Imposition of the Pallium and conferral of the Fisherman’s Ring at the beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome, April 24, 2005)

  • The notion of creation must transcend our naturalistic ways of thinking and speaking about the evolution of the world

Thomas Aquinas taught that the notion of creation must transcend the horizontal origin of the unfolding of events, which is history, and consequently all our purely naturalistic ways of thinking and speaking about the evolution of the world. Thomas observed that creation is neither a movement nor a mutation. It is instead the foundational and continuing relationship that links the creature to the Creator, for he is the cause of every being and all becoming (cf. Summa Theologica, I, q.45, a. 3). (Benedict XVI. Address to members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 31, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on the formation of consciences

  • Forming upright consciences receptive to the demands of justice

Yet one of the tasks of the Church in Africa consists in forming upright consciences receptive to the demands of justice, so as to produce men and women willing and able to build this just social order by their responsible conduct. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus, no. 22, November 19, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on knowing God’s will from the people

  • Christ’s voice rings out in the preaching of the Apostles and their successors

How can we listen to the voice of the Lord and recognize it? In the preaching of the Apostles and of their successors in which Christ’s voice rings out, calling us to communion with God and to the fullness of life. As we read today in the Gospel of Saint John: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand’ (Jn 10: 27-28). The Good Shepherd alone tends his flock with deep tenderness and protects it from evil, and in him alone can the faithful put absolute trust. (Benedict XVI. Regina Caeli, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, April 25, 2010)

  • St. Paul did not preach an à la carte Christianity, nor shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will – that’s our mission

This is important; the Apostle did not preach an à la carte Christianity to suit his own inclinations, he did not preach a Gospel to suit his own favourite theological ideas; he did not shrink from the commitment to proclaiming the whole of God’s will, even an inconvenient will and even topics of which he was personally not so enamoured. It is our mission to proclaim the whole of God’s will, in its totality and ultimate simplicity. But it is important that we teach and preach — as Saint Paul says here — and really propose the will of God in its entirety. […]Thus we must make known and understood — as far as we are able — the content of the Church’s Creed, from the Creation until the Lord’s return, until the new world. Doctrine, liturgy, morals, prayer — the four parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church — indicate this totality of God’s will. (Benedict XVI. Lectio Divina, Meeting with the Parish Priests of the Rome Diocese, March 10, 2011)

  • God himself speaks through His Word, Jesus, who continues his ministry passing through the Apostles

And lastly, proclamation: the one who proclaims does not speak on his own behalf but is sent. He fits into a structure of mission that begins with Jesus, sent by the Father, passes through the Apostles the term ‘apostles’ means ‘those who are sent’ and continues in the ministry, in the missions passed down by the Apostles. The new fabric of history takes shape in this structure of missions in which we ultimately hear God himself speaking, his personal Word, the Son speaks with us, reaches us. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, December 10, 2008)

  • The wisdom of God often appears to be foolishness in the eyes of the world

This is a point that every Christian must understand and apply to himself or herself: only those who first listen to the Word can become preachers of it.

Indeed, they must not teach their own wisdom but the wisdom of God, which often appears to be foolishness in the eyes of the world (cf. 1Cor 1: 23). (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the International Congress on the 40th Anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, September 16, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on contemplative life

  • The religious have at their disposal a wisdom that the world does not possess

Men and women who withdraw to live in God’s company acquire by making this decision a great sense of compassion for the suffering and weakness of others. As friends of God, they have at their disposal a wisdom that the world — from which they have distanced themselves — does not possess and they amiably share it with those who knock at their door. I therefore recall with admiration and gratitude the women and men’s cloistered monasteries. Today more than ever they are oases of peace and hope, a precious treasure for the whole Church, especially since they recall the primacy of God and the importance, for the journey of faith, of constant and intense prayer. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, December 1, 2010)

  • In a world growingly incapable of silence, the charism of the Charterhouse is a precious gift

In recent decades, moreover, the development of the media has spread and extended a phenomenon that had already been outlined in the 1960s: virtuality risks predominating over reality. Unbeknownst to them, people are increasingly becoming immersed in a virtual dimension because of the audiovisual messages that accompany their life from morning to night. […] Some people are no longer able to remain for long periods in silence and solitude. I chose to mention this socio-cultural condition because it highlights the specific charism of the Charterhouse as a precious gift for the Church and for the world, a gift that contains a deep message for our life and for the whole of humanity. (Benedict XVI. Liturgy of Vespers in the church of the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, October 9, 2011)

  • Your place is not on the fringes – you are in the heart of the Church

This is why I have come here, dear Brothers who make up the Carthusian Community of Serra San Bruno, to tell you that the Church needs you and that you need the Church! Your place is not on the fringes: no vocation in the People of God is on the fringes. We are one body, in which every member is important and has the same dignity, and is inseparable from the whole. You too, who live in voluntary isolation, are in the heart of the Church and make the pure blood of contemplation and of the love of God course through your veins. (Benedict XVI. Liturgy of Vespers in the church of the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, October 9, 2011)

  • Deep bond between pastoral service and the contemplative vocation

I would like our meeting to highlight the deep bond that exists between Peter and Bruno, between pastoral service to the Church’s unity and the contemplative vocation in the Church. Ecclesial communion, in fact, demands an inner force, that force which Father Prior has just recalled, citing the expression ‘captus ab Uno’, ascribed to St Bruno: ‘grasped by the One’, by God, ‘Unus potens per omnia’, as we sang in the Vespers hymn. From the contemplative community the ministry of pastors draws a spiritual sap that comes from God. ‘Fugitiva relinquere et aeterna captare’: to abandon transient realities and seek to grasp that which is eternal. These words from the letter your Founder addressed to Rudolph, Provost of Rheims, contain the core of your spirituality (cf. Letter to Rudolph, n. 13): the strong desire to enter in union of life with God, abandoning everything else, everything that stands in the way of this communion, and letting oneself be grasped by the immense love of God to live this love alone. Dear brothers you have found the hidden treasure, the pearl of great value (cf. Mt 13:44-46). (Benedict XVI. Liturgy of Vespers in the church of the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, October 9, 2011)

  • The prayer of contemplatives sustains the fervor of the priesthood

In certain places in Africa, a monastery of contemplative religious has been established in the vicinity of the major seminary. Is it not especially meaningful that those who saw the necessity of promoting vocations to the priesthood, so as to enable the young churches to become fully implanted in the native soil, also professed their conviction that only the grace of God, humbly sought in constant prayer, could sustain the fervor of the priesthood? I ask you therefore, as a special request on this occasion, to make it one of the primary intentions of your prayers, to beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (cf. Mt 9:38). (John Paul II. Address to the Sisters of the Order of Carmel, Nairobi, May 7, 1980)

  • An apostolate of greatest ecclesial and redemptive value – example Saint Theresa of Lisieux: the ‘Patroness of the Missions’

Following the steps of Saint Benedict, or Saint Bernard, Saint Clare of Assisi or Saint Teresa of Avila, cloistered nuns assume, full time, this service of divine praise and intercession in the name of the Church. This form of life is also an apostolate of greatest ecclesial and redemptive value, which Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus illustrated magnificently in the course of her short existence in the Carmel of Lisieux. Let us not forget that Pope Pius XI proclaimed her as ‘Patroness of the Missions.’ (John Paul II. Address to women religious gathered in the Carmel of Kinshasa, Zaire, no. 4, May 3, 1980)

  • You accompany the apostolic mission of evangelizers, your collaboration in the new evangelization is particularly important

Dear sisters, you are the representatives of the special vocation of contemplative life that has passed through the history of the Church, reminding everyone of the urgency of constantly walking toward the definitive encounter with God and the blessed. […] How precious is your vocation of special consecration! It is truly a gift situated in the heart of the mystery of ecclesial communion, accompanying the apostolic mission of so many in their efforts to announce the Gospel. The collaboration that you are called to offer in the new evangelization is particularly important. (John Paul II. Address to cloistered religious, Loreto, September 10, 1995)

…judges Francis’ idea that no one is saved alone

  • A hope that does not concern me personally is not a real hope; though an individualistic understanding of salvation is also incomplete

How could the idea have developed that Jesus’ message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the ‘salvation of the soul’ as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others? […] Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. And life in its totality is a relationship with him who is the source of life. If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we ‘live’. Yet now the question arises: are we not in this way falling back once again into an individualistic understanding of salvation, into hope for myself alone, which is not true hope since it forgets and overlooks others? Indeed we are not! Our relationship with God is established through communion with Jesus—we cannot achieve it alone or from our own resources alone. The relationship with Jesus, however, is a relationship with the one who gave himself as a ransom for all (cf. 1Tim 2:6). Being in communion with Jesus Christ draws us into his ‘being for all’; it makes it our own way of being. He commits us to live for others, but only through communion with him does it become possible truly to be there for others, for the whole. […] And however much ‘for all’ may be part of the great hope—since I cannot be happy without others or in opposition to them—it remains true that a hope that does not concern me personally is not a real hope. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe Salvi, nos. 16, 27, 28, 30, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the flesh of Christ and poverty as a theological category

  • The Word became man so that man might become a son of God

Incarnation derives from the Latin incarnatio. St Ignatius of Antioch — at the end of the first century — and, especially, St Irenaeus used this term in reflecting on the Prologue to the Gospel according to St John, in particular in the sentence ‘the Word became flesh’ (Jn 1:14). Here the word ‘flesh’, according to the Hebrew usage, indicates man in his whole self, the whole man, but in particular in the dimension of his transience and his temporality, his poverty and his contingency. This was in order to tell us that the salvation brought by God, who became man in Jesus of Nazareth, affects man in his material reality and in whatever situation he may be. God assumed the human condition to heal it from all that separates it from him, to enable us to call him, in his Only-Begotten Son, by the name of ‘Abba, Father’, and truly to be children of God. Saint Irenaeus stated: ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God’ (Adversus Haereses, 3, 19, 1; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 460). (Benedict XVI. General Audience, January 9, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea on evil in our times

  • A dictatorship of relativism – we however have a different goal: the Son of God

Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires. We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An ‘adult’ faith is not a faith that follows the trends of fashion and the latest novelty… (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Homily at Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass, April 18, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on Christ at the Final Judgment

  • The Judge will return: we must not live as if good and evil were the same

The Judge who returns at the same time as Judge and Saviour has left us the duty to live in this world in accordance with his way of living. […] Since God can only be merciful we do not live as if good and evil were the same thing. This would be a deception. In reality, we live with a great responsibility. We have talents, and our responsibility is to work so that this world may be open to Christ, that it be renewed. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, November 12, 2008)

  • God is justice and creates justice: grace does not cancel out justice such that whatever one has done ends up being of equal value

The image of the Last Judgment is not primarily an image of terror, but an image of hope; for us it may even be the decisive image of hope. Is it not also a frightening image? I would say: it is an image that evokes responsibility, an image, therefore, of that fear of which Saint Hilary spoke when he said that all our fear has its place in love (cf. Tractatus super Psalmos, Ps 127:1-3). God is justice and creates justice. This is our consolation and our hope. And in his justice there is also grace. This we know by turning our gaze to the crucified and risen Christ. Both these things—justice and grace—must be seen in their correct inner relationship. Grace does not cancel out justice. It does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe Salve, no. 44, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on doing good

  • Charity needs to be practiced in the light of truth, else it be misconstrued and emptied of meaning

I am aware of the ways in which charity has been and continues to be misconstrued and emptied of meaning, […] Hence the need to link charity with truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the ‘economy’ of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 2, June 29, 2009)

  • Without truth, charity is without value and degenerates into sentimentality

Through this close link with truth, charity can be recognized as an authentic expression of humanity and as an element of fundamental importance in human relations, including those of a public nature. 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. […] A Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance. In other words, there would no longer be any real place for God in the world. Without truth, charity is confined to a narrow field devoid of relations. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, nos. 3-4, June 29, 2009)

  • Atheism is one of the chief obstacles to human development – humanism which excludes God is inhuman

Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is. In the face of the enormous problems surrounding the development of peoples, which almost make us yield to discouragement, we find solace in the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, who teaches us: ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5) […] Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity. On the other hand, ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the Creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today. A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 78, June 29, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on boasting of our sins

  • St. Paul is well aware that he is an earthen vessel in which God places the riches and power of his grace

What are the weaknesses that the Apostle is talking about? […] his attitude enables us to realize that every difficulty in following Christ and witnessing to his Gospel may be overcome by opening oneself with trust to the Lord’s action. St Paul is well aware that he is an ‘unworthy servant’ (Lk 17:10) — it is not he who has done great things, it is the Lord — an ‘earthen vessel’ (2Cor 4:7), in which God places the riches and power of his Grace. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, June 13, 2012)

  • St. Paul understands clearly how to face every event: God’s power is revealed at the very moment when we experience our own weakness

In this moment of concentrated contemplative prayer, St Paul understands clearly how to face and how to live every event, especially suffering, difficulty and persecution. The power of God, who does not abandon us or leave us on our own but becomes our support and strength, is revealed at the very moment when we experience our own weakness. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, June 13, 2012)

  • We must entrust ourselves to God as fragile earthen vessels, so that He may work miracles through our weakness

The Lord does not free us from evils, but helps us to mature in sufferings, difficulties and persecutions. […] Therefore, to the extent that our union with the Lord increases and that our prayers become intense, we also go to the essential and understand that it is not the power of our own means, our virtues, our skills that brings about the Kingdom of God but that it is God who works miracles precisely through our weakness, our inadequacy for the task. We must therefore have the humility not to trust merely in ourselves, but to work, with the Lord’s help, in the Lord’s vineyard, entrusting ourselves to him as fragile ‘earthen vessels’.(Benedict XVI. General Audience, June 13, 2012)

  • Sin ruins man’s relationship with God

Sin is the distortion or destruction of the relationship with God, this is its essence: it ruins the relationship with God, the fundamental relationship, by putting ourselves in God’s place. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, February 6, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea on sin and mercy

  • The mercy of Jesus Christ takes nothing away from the gravity of sin

Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of God, has demonstrated this immense mercy, which takes nothing away from the gravity of sin, but aims always at saving the sinner, at offering him the possibility of redemption, of starting again from the beginning, of converting. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, October 31, 2010)

  • The pardon of the Lord incites us to acknowledge the gravity of sin

By experiencing the tenderness and pardon of the Lord, the penitent is more easily led to acknowledge the gravity of sin, is more resolved to avoid it in order to remain and grow in renewed friendship with him. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Confessors who serve in the four Papal Basilicas of Rome, February 19, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on communion to divorced in second union

  • The Church’s practice does not admit the ‘remarried’ to the sacraments: their condition contradicts Christ’s union with the Church, signified by the Eucharist

The Synod of Bishops confirmed the Church’s practice, based on Sacred Scripture (cf. Mk 10:2-12), of not admitting the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, since their state and their condition of life objectively contradict the loving union of Christ and the Church signified and made present in the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, no. 29)

…judges Francis’ idea on the incapacity of the Church to resolve the crisis of the family

  • To safeguard the family: swim against the tide of prevalent culture

In today’s world, where certain erroneous concepts concerning the human being, freedom and love are spreading, we must never tire of presenting anew the truth about the family institution, as God has desired it since creation. […] In our day it is especially the stability of the family that is at risk; to safeguard it one often has to swim against the tide of the prevalent culture, and this demands patience, effort, sacrifice and the ceaseless quest for mutual understanding. Today, however, it is possible for husbands and wives to overcome their difficulties and remain faithful to their vocation with recourse to God’s support, with prayer and participating devotedly in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 13, 2006)

  • Be committed Christians: a culture favorable to the family flows from faith lived with courage

This pastoral commitment is made more urgent by the growing crisis of married life and the declining birth rate. […] It is within the complexity of these situations that you are called to promote the Christian meaning of life through the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, brought with gentle pride and great joy to the various milieus of daily life. From faith lived with courage, today as in the past, flows a rich culture of love for life, from conception until its natural end, the promotion of human dignity, of the elevation of the importance of the family based on faithful marriage and open to life, and of the commitment to justice and solidarity. The cultural changes taking place are asking you to be committed Christians. (Benedict XVI. Pastoral Visit to Aquileia and Venice: address to the Preparatory Assembly for the Second Ecclesial convention of Aquileia, May 7, 2011)

  • The duty of Pastors: presenting the extraordinary value of marriage

Your duty as Pastors consists in presenting in its full richness the extraordinary value of marriage, which as a natural institution is a ‘patrimony of humanity’. Moreover, its elevation to the loftiest dignity of a sacrament must be seen with gratitude and wonder. […] Today, it is necessary to proclaim with renewed enthusiasm that the Gospel of the family is a process of human and spiritual fulfilment in the certainty that the Lord is always present with his grace. This proclamation is often distorted by false concepts of marriage and the family that do not respect God’s original plan. In this regard, people have actually reached the point of suggesting new forms of marriage, some unknown to popular cultures in that its specific nature is altered. (Address to the participants of the Meeting of Presidents of Latin American Episcopal Commissions for the Family and Life, December 3, 2005)

…judges Francis’ idea on the harmony among good and evil

  • The unity of the first community of believers was nourished by the teaching of the Apostles

According to Acts, the unity of believers was seen in the fact that ‘they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers’ (Acts 2:42). The unity of believers was thus nourished by the teaching of the Apostles (the proclamation of God’s word), to which they responded with unanimous faith, by fraternal communion (the service of charity), by the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist and the sacraments), and by prayer, both personal and communal. It was on these four pillars that communion and witness were based within the first community of believers. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, no. 5, September 14, 2012)

  • The communion of the baptized is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety

It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion (cf. Lumen gentium, 13). He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer (cf. ibid; Acts 2:42). […] The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff (cf. CIC, can. 205; Lumen gentium, 13; 14; 21; 22; Unitatis redintegratio, 2; 3; 4; 15; 20; Christus Dominus, 4; Ad gentes, 22.) (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Contitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, November 4, 2009)

  • The Church: the place of unity and communion in truth

Jesus says: ‘When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth’ (Jn 16:13). Here, in speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus explains to us what the Church is and how she should live in order to be herself, to be the place of unity and communion in Truth; […] Dear friends, we must live in accordance with the Spirit of unity and truth and this is why we should pray that the Spirit illuminate and guide us so that we may overcome our fascination with following our own truths and receive the truth of Christ, passed on in the Church. (Benedict XVI. Homily Solemnity of Pentecost, May 27, 2012)

…judges Francis’ idea on the evils in our times

  • Dictatorship of relativism: the evil of our times

How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what Saint Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (cf. Eph 4:14) comes true. Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine’, seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Mass Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice, April 18, 2005)

  • A satisfactory solution for problems requires the proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society

This dynamic of charity received and given is what gives rise to the Church’s social teaching, which is caritas in Veritate in re sociali: the proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society. This doctrine is a service to charity, but its locus is truth. Truth preserves and expresses charity’s power to liberate in the ever-changing events of history. It is at the same time the truth of faith and of reason, both in the distinction and also in the convergence of those two cognitive fields. Development, social well-being, the search for a satisfactory solution to the grave socio-economic problems besetting humanity, all need this truth. What they need even more is that this truth should be loved and demonstrated. Without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation, especially in a globalized society at difficult times like the present. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, no. 5, June 29, 2009)

  • The present crisis challenges the Church devise effective ways of proclaiming the path of salvation

Among these, I would mention in the first place the need for a comprehensive study of the crisis of modernity. European culture in recent centuries has been powerfully conditioned by the notion of modernity. The present crisis, however, has less to do with modernity’s insistence on the centrality of man and his concerns, than with the problems raised by a ‘humanism’ that claims to build a regnum hominis detached from its necessary ontological foundation. A false dichotomy between theism and authentic humanism, taken to the extreme of positing an irreconcilable conflict between divine law and human freedom, has led to a situation in which humanity, for all its economic and technical advances, feels deeply threatened […] A third issue needing to be investigated concerns the nature of the contribution which Christianity can make to the humanism of the future., and thus of modernity, challenges the Church to devise effective The question of man, and thus of modernity, challenges the Church to devise effective ways of proclaiming to contemporary culture the ‘realism’ of her faith in the saving work of Christ. Christianity must not be relegated to the world of myth and emotion, but respected for its claim to shed light on the truth about man, to be able to transform men and women spiritually, and thus to enable them to carry out their vocation in history. (Benedict XVI. Speech to the participants in the First European Meeting of University Lecturers, June 23, 2007)

  • Disoriented youth need that the faith be proclaimed to them – the heart of the Church’s mission

To proclaim faith in the Word made flesh is, after all, at the heart of the Church’s mission, and the entire ecclesial community needs to rediscover this indispensable task with renewed missionary zeal. Young generations have an especially keen sense of the present disorientation, magnified by the crisis in economic affairs which is also a crisis of values, and so they in particular need to recognize in Jesus Christ ‘the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of human history’ (Gaudium et Spes, 10). (Benedict XVI. Homily, December 31, 2011)

  • Facing the ignorance of deepest spiritual roots: open yourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit so that no one is left without the indispensable spiritual food

I note with pleasure that one of the pastoral initiatives that you consider most urgently necessary for the Church in Ecuador is the realization of the ‘great mission’ […] The call that the Lord Jesus addressed to his disciples, sending them out to preach his message of salvation and to make disciples of all the peoples (cf. Mt 28: 16-20) must be a constant cause of meditation and the raison d’être of all pastoral action for the entire ecclesial community. Today too, as in all times and places, men and women need a personal encounter with Christ, in which they can experience the beauty of his life and the truth of his message. To face the numerous challenges of your mission amid a cultural and social environment that seems to forget the deepest spiritual roots of its identity, I ask you to open yourselves with docility to the action of the Holy Spirit so that under the impetus of his divine power the missionary zeal of the first Gospel preaching, as well as of the first proclamation of the Gospel in your regions, may be renewed. This requires that you make a generous effort to spread the Word of God in such a way that no one is left without this indispensable spiritual food, the source of life and light. The reading of and meditation on Sacred Scripture, in private or in the community, will lead to the intensification of Christian life, as well as to a renewed apostolic impulse in all the faithful. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Bishops of Ecuador on their ad limina visit, no. 2, October 16, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on absolute truth

  • Love, caritas, originates in Absolute Truth

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. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical, Caritatis in Veritate, June 29, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on new customs among today’s youth

  • Jesus’ mercy was not expressed by putting moral law in parentheses – mercy does not change the nature of sin and demands correspondence

To avoid any misunderstanding, it should be noted that Jesus’ mercy was not expressed by putting moral law in parentheses. For Jesus, good is good and evil is evil. Mercy does not change the connotations of sin but consumes it in a fire of love. This purifying and healing effect is achieved if within the person there is a corresponding love which implies recognition of God’s law, sincere repentance and the resolution to start a new life. The sinful woman in the Gospel was pardoned greatly because she loved greatly. In Jesus, God comes to give love to us and to ask love of us. (Benedict XVI. Eucharist Concelebration at the Lower Square of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, June 17, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on God

  • The plenitude of Revelation is found in Jesus Christ – There is no other Word of God

In all of this, the Church gives voice to her awareness that with Jesus Christ she stands before the definitive word of God: he is ‘the first and the last’ (Rev 1:17). He has given creation and history their definitive meaning; and hence we are called to live in time and in God’s creation within this eschatological rhythm of the word; ‘thus the Christian dispensation, since it is the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (cf. 1Tim 6:14; Tit 2:13) (Dei Verbum, 4). Indeed, as the Fathers noted during the Synod, the ‘uniqueness of Christianity is manifested in the event which is Jesus Christ, the culmination of revelation, the fulfilment of God’s promises and the mediator of the encounter between man and God. He who ‘has made God known’ (Jn 1:18) is the one, definitive word given to mankind’ (Prop. 4). Saint John of the Cross expresses this truth magnificently: ‘Since he has given us his Son, his only word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything at once in this sole word – and he has no more to say… because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has spoken all at once by giving us this All who is his Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely on Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty’ (St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, II, 22). (Benedict XVI. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church Verbum Domini, September 30, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on First Holy Communion

  • The Church’s faith is essentially a Eucharistic faith

The mystery of faith! With these words, spoken immediately after the words of consecration, the priest proclaims the mystery being celebrated and expresses his wonder before the substantial change of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord Jesus, a reality which surpasses all human understanding. The Eucharist is a ‘mystery of faith’ par excellence: ‘the sum and summary of our faith’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1327) The Church’s faith is essentially a Eucharistic faith, and it is especially nourished at the table of the Eucharist. […] For this reason, the Sacrament of the Altar is always at the heart of the Church’s life: ‘thanks to the Eucharist, the Church is reborn ever anew!’ (Benedict XVI, Homily at the Mass of Installation in the Cathedral of Rome – 7 May 2005): AAS 97 (2005): 752). The more lively the eucharistic faith of the People of God, the deeper is its sharing in ecclesial life in steadfast commitment to the mission entrusted by Christ to his disciples. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, no.6, February 22, 2007)

  • Christ comes to meet men and women, and becomes their food

In the sacrament of the altar, the Lord meets us, men and women created in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:27), and becomes our companion along the way. In this sacrament, the Lord truly becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom. Since only the truth can make us free (cf. Jn 8:32), Christ becomes for us the food of truth. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, no.2, February 22, 2007)

  • The Eucharist is at the root of the Church as a mystery of communion

This is why Christian antiquity used the same words, Corpus Christi, to designate Christ’s body born of the Virgin Mary, his Eucharistic body and his ecclesial body. This clear datum of the tradition helps us to appreciate the inseparability of Christ and the Church. The Lord Jesus, by offering himself in sacrifice for us, in his gift effectively pointed to the mystery of the Church. It is significant that the Second Eucharistic Prayer, invoking the Paraclete, formulates its prayer for the unity of the Church as follows: ‘may all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.’ These words help us to see clearly how the res of the sacrament of the Eucharist is the unity of the faithful within ecclesial communion. The Eucharist is thus found at the root of the Church as a mystery of communion (cf. STh, III, 80, 4). (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, no. 15, February 22, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on God’s presence in a sinner’s life

  • There are people who have totally destroyed their possibility of being with God

There can be people who have totally destroyed their desire for truth and readiness to love, people n everything has become a lie, people who have lived for hatred and have suppressed all love within themselves. This is a terrifying thought, but alarming profiles of this type can be seen in certain figures of our own history. In such people all would be beyond remedy and the destruction of good would be irrevocable: this is what we mean by the word Hell. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Spe Salvi, no. 45, November 30, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the harmony of all christian faiths

  • The unity operated by the Spirit is visibly manifest in the profession of the faith in its entirety

It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion (cf. LG, 13).  He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer (cf. ibid; Acts 2:42). The Church, however, analogous to the mystery of the Incarnate Word, is not only an invisible spiritual communion, but is also visible (cf. LG 8; Communionis notio, 4); in fact, ‘the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, the visible society and the spiritual community, the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches, are not to be thought of as two realities. On the contrary, they form one complex reality formed from a two-fold element, human and divine’ (LG, 8). The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff. (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, November 4, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on selling off churches to feed the poor

  • Gestures of authentic devotion to Christ benefit the entire Church

Mary’s gesture is the expression of great faith and love for the Lord; it is not enough for her to wash the Teacher’s feet with water; she sprinkles on them a great quantity of the precious perfume which as Judas protested it would have been possible to sell for 300 denarii. She did not anoint his head, as was the custom, but his feet: Mary offers Jesus the most precious thing she has and with a gesture of deep devotion. Love does not calculate, does not measure, does not worry about expense, does not set up barriers but can give joyfully; it seeks only the good of the other, surmounts meanness, pettiness, resentment and the narrow-mindedness that human beings sometimes harbour in their hearts. Mary stood at the feet of Jesus in a humble attitude of service, the same attitude that the Teacher himself was to assume at the Last Supper, when, the fourth Gospel tells us, he ‘rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet’ (Jn 13: 4-5), so that, he said, ‘you also should do as I have done to you’ (v. 15): the rule of the community of Jesus is that of love which knows how to serve to the point of offering one’s life. And the scent spread: ‘the house’ the Evangelist remarks, ‘was filled with the fragrance of the ointment’ (Jn 12: 3). The meaning of Mary’s action, which is a response to God’s infinite Love, spreads among all the guests; no gesture of charity and authentic devotion to Christ remains a personal event or concerns solely the relationship between the individual and the Lord. Rather, it concerns the whole Body of the Church, it is contagious: it instills love, joy and light. (Benedict XVI. Eucharistic Celebration on the fifth anniversary of the death of John Paul II, March 29, 2010)

  • To be preserved from perversion of heart it is necessary to assume Jesus’ point of view

In effect, the possibilities to pervert the human heart are truly many. The only way to prevent it consists in not cultivating an individualistic, autonomous vision of things, but on the contrary, by putting oneself always on the side of Jesus, assuming his point of view. We must daily seek to build full communion with him. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, October 18, 2006)

  • In the Church, charity is not a kind of social assistance

The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia), and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable. For the Church, charity is not a kind of welfare activity which could equally well be left to others, but is a part of her nature, an indispensable expression of her very being. (Benedict XVI. Encyclical Deus caritas est, no. 25, December 25, 2005)

  • Charity involves spiritual actions accomplished in the light of the Holy Spirit

Charity and justice are not only social but also spiritual actions, accomplished in the light of the Holy Spirit. We can thus say that the Apostles confronted this situation with great responsibility. They took the following decision: seven men were chosen; the Apostles prayed the Holy Spirit to grant them strength and then laid their hands on the seven so that they might dedicate themselves in a special way to this ministry of charity. Thus in the life of the Church, the first steps she took, in a certain way, reflected what had happened in Jesus’ public life at Martha and Mary’s house in Bethany. Martha was completely taken up with the service of hospitality to offer to Jesus and his disciples; Mary, on the contrary, devoted herself to listening to the Lord’s word (cf. Lk 10:38-42). In neither case were the moments of prayer and of listening to God, and daily activity, the exercise of charity in opposition. Jesus’ reminder, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her’ (Lk 10:41-42) and, likewise, the Apostles’ reflection: ‘We will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word’ (Acts 6:4), show the priority we must give to God. […] In any case activity undertaken to help one’s neighbor, ‘the other’, is not to be condemned, but it is essential to stress the need for it to be imbued also with the spirit of contemplation. (Benedict XVI. General Audience, April 25, 2012)

…judges Francis’ relations with  ‘ordained’ women of the christian churches

  • Ecumenical dialogue must not lead to indifferentism and false irenism

The coherence of the ecumenical endeavour with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and with the entire Tradition, has been one of the areas to which the Congregation has always paid attention, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Today we can note the many good fruit yielded by ecumenical dialogue. However, we must also recognize that the risk of a false irenism and of indifferentism – totally foreign to the thinking of the Second Vatican Council – demands our vigilance. This indifferentism is caused by the increasingly widespread opinion that truth is not accessible to man; hence it is necessary to limit oneself to finding rules for a praxis that can better the world. And like this, faith becomes substituted by a moralism without deep foundations. The centre of true ecumenism is, on the contrary, the faith in which the human being finds the truth which is revealed in the Word of God. Without faith the entire ecumenical movement would be reduced to a form of ‘social contract’ to which to adhere out of common interest, a ‘praxeology’, in order to create a better world. The logic of the Second Vatican Council is quite different: the sincere search for the full unity of all Christians is a dynamic inspired by the Word of God, by the divine Truth who speaks to us in this word. The crucial problem which marks ecumenical dialogue transversally is therefore the question of the structure of revelation – the relationship between Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in Holy Church and the Ministry of the Successors of the Apostles as a witness of true faith. And in this case the problem of ecclesiology which is part of this problem is implicit: how God’s truth reaches us. Fundamental here is the discernment between Tradition with a capital ‘T’ and traditions. (Benedict XVI. Address to participants in the Plenary Meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, January 27, 2012)

…judges Francis’ idea on responsible parenthood

  • Example of generosity and confidence in God

I wish to express my closeness and to assure my prayers for all the families that bear witness to fidelity in especially difficult circumstances. I encourage large families who, at times living in the midst of setbacks and misunderstandings, set an example of generosity and trust in God, in the hope that they will not lack the assistance they need. (Benedict XVI. Address by Videoconference at the conclusion of the Mass closing the sixth World Day of Families held in Mexico City, January 18, 2009)

  • Beautiful to listen to couples about their large families – the problem of Europe penetrated my soul

The visit to Valencia, Spain was under the banner of the theme of marriage and the family. It was beautiful to listen, before the people assembled from all continents, to the testimonies of couples – blessed by a numerous throng of children – who introduced themselves to us and spoke of their respective journeys in the Sacrament of Marriage and in their large families. They did not hide the fact that they have also had difficult days, that they have had to pass through periods of crisis. Yet, precisely through the effort of supporting one another day by day, precisely through accepting one another ever anew in the crucible of daily trials, living and suffering to the full their initial ‘yes’, precisely on this Gospel path of ‘losing oneself, they had matured, rediscovered themselves and become happy. Their ‘yes’ to one another in the patience of the journey and in the strength of the Sacrament with which Christ had bound them together, had become a great ‘yes’ to themselves, their children, to God the Creator and to the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Thus, from the witness of these families a wave of joy reached us, not a superficial and scant gaiety that is all too soon dispelled, but a joy that developed also in suffering, a joy that reaches down to the depths and truly redeems man. Before these families with their children, before these families in which the generations hold hands and the future is present, the problem of Europe, which it seems no longer wants to have children, penetrated my soul. (Benedict XVI. Address to the members of the Roman Curia at the traditional exchange of Christmas Greetings, December 22, 2006)

…judges Francis’ idea on the obedience of a Religious

  • Admonishing sinners is an act of mercy

The Church’s tradition has included ‘admonishing sinners’ among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. (Benedict XVI. Message for Lent 2012, November 3, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on all being saved

  • ‘God will be kind to us all’: a beautiful hope, but murderers cannot suddenly sit down at God’s table together with their victims

As the great Marxist Adorno said, only the resurrection of the body, which he claimed as unreal, would be able to create justice. We believe in this resurrection of the body in which not all will be equal. Today people have become used to thinking: what is sin? God is great, he knows us, so sin does not count; in the end God will be kind to us all. It is a beautiful hope. But both justice and true guilt exist. Those who have destroyed man and the earth cannot suddenly sit down at God’s table together with their victims. God creates justice. (Benedict XVI. Meeting with the Parish Priests and the Clergy of the Diocese of Rome, February 7, 2008)

…judges Francis’ idea on the teaching of moral issues

  • The responsibility of constantly proclaiming non-negotiable values

Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms (Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium Vitae: AAS 87(1995),401-522; Benedict XVI, Address to the Pontifical Academy for Life – 27 February 2006: AAS 98(2006), 264-265). These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature (Cf. Cong. for the Doct.of the Faith, Doctrinal note on questions regarding participation of Catholics in political life: AAS 96(2004),359-370). There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them (cf. Propositio 46). (Benedict XVI. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, no. 83, February 22, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on Catholic Education to the Youth

  • Integral education cannot omit religious teaching

The above-mentioned religious indifferentism and the easy temptation of lax morals, as well as the ignorance of the Christian tradition with its rich spiritual patrimony, exert a powerful influence on the new generations. Young people have the right, from the beginning of the process of their formation, to be educated in faith and sound morals. For this reason, the integral education of the youngest cannot omit religious teaching at school as well. A solid religious formation will also serve as an effective shield against the advance of sects or other religious groups widespread today. (Benedict XVI. Address to members of the Bishops’ Conference of Puerto Rico on the ad limina visit, June 30, 2007)

  • Religious teaching may not be reduced to a generic sociology of religions

And the teaching in question cannot be reduced to a generic sociology of religions, because there is no such thing as generic, non-denominational religion. Thus, not only does denominational religious teaching in state schools do no damage to the secularism of the State, but in addition it guarantees the right of their parents to choose the education for their children, thereby contributing to promote the common good. (Benedict XVI. Address to the new ambassador of Brazil to the Holy See, 31 October, 2011)

  • Religious teaching is a necessary value for the person’s integral formation.

Among these areas of mutual collaboration I would like to stress here, Mister Ambassador, that of education to which the Church has contributed with countless educational institutions whose prestige is recognized by society as a whole. The role of education cannot, in fact, be reduced to the mere transmission of knowledge and skills that aim to form a professional but must include all the aspects of the person, from his social side to his yearning for the transcendent. For this reason it is appropriate to reaffirm, as was confirmed in the above-mentioned Agreement of 2008, that far from implying that the State assumes or imposes a specific religious creed, denominational religious teaching in state schools, means recognition of religion as a necessary value for the person’s integral formation. (Benedict XVI. Address to the new ambassador of Brazil to the Holy See, October 31, 2011)

  • The religious dimension makes it possible to transform knowledge into wisdom

The religious dimension is in fact intrinsic to culture. It contributes to the overall formation of the person and makes it possible to transform knowledge into wisdom of life. (Benedict XVI. Speech to the Catholic religion teachers, April 25, 2009)

  • The teaching of the Catholic religion capacitates the person to discover goodness

Thanks to the teaching of the Catholic religion, school and society are enriched with true laboratories of culture and humanity in which, by deciphering the significant contribution of Christianity, the person is equipped to discover goodness and to grow in responsibility, to seek comparisons and to refine his or her critical sense, to draw from the gifts of the past to understand the present better and to be able to plan wisely for the future. (Benedict XVI. Speech to the Catholic religion teachers, April 25, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Church should not be a Point of Reference

  • The Church is always enlightened by the presence of Christ

And since the glory of God is Love, the heavenly Jerusalem is the icon of the Church, utterly holy and glorious, without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph 5:27), permeated at her heart and in every part of her by the presence of the God who is Love. She is called a ‘bride’, ‘the bride of the Lamb’ (Rev 20:9), […] The City and Bride is the locus of God’s full communion with humanity; She has no need of a temple or of any external source of light, because the indwelling presence of God and of the Lamb illuminates her from within. (Benedict XVI. Holy Mass for the inauguration of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, May 13, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Re-reading of the Gospel

  • The great risk involved in reading the Gospel without the light of faith

Another major theme that emerged during the Synod, to which I would now like to draw attention, is the interpretation of sacred Scripture in the Church. The intrinsic link between the word and faith makes clear that authentic biblical hermeneutics can only be had within the faith of the Church, which has its paradigm in Mary’s fiat. Saint Bonaventure states that without faith there is no key to throw open the sacred text: ‘This is the knowledge of Jesus Christ, from whom, as from a fountain, flow forth the certainty and the understanding of all sacred Scripture. Therefore it is impossible for anyone to attain to knowledge of that truth unless he first have infused faith in Christ, which is the lamp, the gate and the foundation of all Scripture’ (Breviloquium, Prol.). And Saint Thomas Aquinas, citing Saint Augustine, insists that ‘the letter, even that of the Gospel, would kill, were there not the inward grace of healing faith’ (STh, I-II, q.106, a.2). (Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, no. 29, September 30, 2010)

  • Scripture sheds light on human existence

The word of God sheds light on human existence and stirs our conscience to take a deeper look at our lives, inasmuch as all human history stands under God’s judgment. (Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, no. 99, September 30, 2010)

  • The Word of God should be an inspiration for temporal authorities

In the light of the Lord’s words, let us discern the ‘signs of the times’ present in history, and not flee from a commitment to those who suffer and the victims of forms of selfishness. The Synod recalled that a commitment to justice and to changing our world is an essential element of evangelization.[…] For this reason, the Synod Fathers wished to say a special word to all those who take part in political and social life. Evangelization and the spread of God’s word ought to inspire their activity in the world, as they work for the true common good in respecting and promoting the dignity of every person. (Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, no. 100, September 30, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on happiness

  • Jesus is the happiness we seek

Dear young people, the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist. Only he gives the fullness of life to humanity! […] I repeat today what I said at the beginning of my Pontificate: ‘If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation’ (Homily at the Mass of Inauguration, 24 April, 2005). Be completely convinced of this: Christ takes from you nothing that is beautiful and great, but brings everything to perfection for the glory of God, the happiness of men and women, and the salvation of the world. (Benedict XVI. Address on the Celebration of welcoming the young people on the occasion of the XX World Youth Day, August 18, 2005)

  • The example of Saint Francis: only the Infinite can fill the human heart

‘Francis was always happy and generous, dedicated to play and song, roaming through the town of Assisi day and night with friends like him, spend-thrifts, dissipating all that they could have or earn on lunches and other things’ (3 LTC 1, 2). Of how many of today’s youth could something similar be said? […] In that way of living there was the desire for happiness that dwells in every human heart. But could that life bring true joy? Francis certainly did not find it. You yourselves, dear young people, can verify this beginning with your experience. The truth is that finite things can give only a faint idea of joy, but only the Infinite can fill the heart.  (Benedict XVI, Speech, Meeting with Youth in Assisi, June 17, 2007)

  • Bishops have the duty to point out the world’s inability to bring true joy

Like the wise householder who brings forth from his treasure ‘what is new and what is old’(Mt 13:52), your people need to view the changes in society with discernment, and here they look to you for leadership. Help them to recognize the inability of the secular, materialist culture to bring true satisfaction and joy. Be bold in speaking to them of the joy that comes from following Christ and living according to his commandments. Remind them that our hearts were made for the Lord and that they find no peace until they rest in him (cf. St. Augustine, Confessions, 1:1). (Benedict XVI, Address to the Bishops of Ireland on their Ad Limina Visit, 28 October, 2006)

  • The secret of happiness consists in putting God in first place

God loves us: this is the source of true joy. Even if one has all he or she wants, one can sometimes be unhappy; on the other hand, one can be deprived of everything, even freedom or health, and be in peace and joy if God is in his or her heart. Thus, the secret is this: God must always have first place in our life. (Benedict XVI. Speech on the visit to Rome’s prison for minors Casal del Marmo, March 18, 2007)

  • The Eucharist is the source of Christian joy

Where is the source of Christian joy to be found if not in the Eucharist, which Christ left us as spiritual Food while we are pilgrims on this earth? The Eucharist nurtures in believers of every epoch that deep joy which makes us one with love and peace and originates from communion with God and with our brothers and sisters. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, March 18, 2007)

  • True joy comes from Christ’s Cross

True joy is something different from pleasure; joy grows and continues to mature in suffering, in communion with the Cross of Christ. It is here alone that the true joy of faith is born. (Benedict XVI. Address to the priests of the Diocese of Aosta, 25, July 2005)

  • Observing the Commandments is the path to happiness

God wants us to be happy. That is why he gave us specific directions for the journey of life: the commandments. If we observe them, we will find the path to life and happiness. At first glance, they might seem to be a list of prohibitions and an obstacle to our freedom. But if we study them more closely, we see in the light of Christ’s message that the commandments are a set of essential and valuable rules leading to a happy life in accordance with God’s plan. (Benedict XVI. Message for the Twenty-Seventh World Youth Day, no. 5, March 15, 2012)

  • Blessed are they who obey the word of God

This close relationship between God’s word and joy is evident in the Mother of God. Let us recall the words of Saint Elizabeth: ‘Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord’ (Lk 1:45). Mary is blessed because she has faith, because she believed, and in this faith she received the Word of God into her womb in order to give him to the world. The joy born of the Word can now expand to all those who, by faith, let themselves be changed by God’s word. The Gospel of Luke presents this mystery of hearing and joy in two texts. Jesus says: ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it’ (Lk 8:21). And in reply to a woman from the crowd who blesses the womb that bore him and the breasts that nursed him, Jesus reveals the secret of true joy: ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’ (Lk 11:28). (Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, no. 124, September 30, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea on Ascetism and silence in the Spiritual Exercises

  •  It is necessary to educate the faithful in the value of silence and recollection

Ours is not an age which fosters recollection; at times one has the impression that people are afraid of detaching themselves, even for a moment, from the mass media. For this reason, it is necessary nowadays that the People of God be educated in the value of silence. Rediscovering the centrality of God’s word in the life of the Church also means rediscovering a sense of recollection and inner repose. (Benedict XVI, Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, no. 66, September 30, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea of fraternal love

  • Fraternal correction heals wounds

The Gospel text […] tells us that brotherly love also involves a sense of mutual responsibility. For this reason if my brother commits a sin against me I must treat him charitably and first of all, speak to him privately, pointing out that what he has said or done is wrong. This approach is known as ‘fraternal correction’: it is not a reaction to the offence suffered but is motivated by love for one’s brethren. St Augustine comments: ‘Whoever has offended you, in offending you, has inflicted a serious injury upon himself; and would you not care for a brother’s injury?… You must forget the offence you have received but not the injury of one of your brethren’ (Discourse 82, 7). And what if my brother does not listen to me? In today’s Gospel Jesus points to a gradual approach: first, speak to him again with two or three others, the better to help him realize what he has done; if, in spite of this, he still refuses to listen, it is necessary to tell the community; and if he refuses to listen even to the community, he must be made to perceive that he has cut himself off by separating himself from the communion of the Church. All this demonstrates that we are responsible for each other in the journey of Christian life; each person, aware of his own limitations and shortcomings, is called to accept fraternal correction and to help others with this specific service. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, September 4, 2011)

  • When faced with evil we should not keep silence, since correction is a work of mercy

The Scriptures tell us: ‘Rebuke the wise and he will love you for it. Be open with the wise, he grows wiser still, teach the upright, he will gain yet more’ (Prov 9:8). Christ himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin (cf. Mt 18:15). The Church’s tradition has included ‘admonishing sinners’ among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. As the Apostle Paul says: ‘If one of you is caught doing something wrong, those of you who are spiritual should set that person right in a spirit of gentleness; and watch yourselves that you are not put to the test in the same way’ (Gal 6:1).
In a world pervaded by individualism, it is essential to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so that together we may journey towards holiness. […] Apostle Paul encourages us to seek ‘the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another’ (Rom 14:19) for our neighbour’s good, ‘so that we support one another’ (Rom 15:2), seeking not personal gain but rather ‘the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved’ (1 Cor 10:33). This mutual correction and encouragement in a spirit of humility and charity must be part of the life of the Christian community. (Benedict XVI, Message for Lent 2012, November 3, 2011)

  • God grants pardon so that in future one ceases to sin

St Augustine in his Commentary observed:  ‘The Lord did also condemn, but condemned sins, not man. For if he were a patron of sin, he would say, ‘neither will I condemn you; go, live as you will; be secure in my deliverance; however much you sin, I will deliver you from all punishment’. He said not this (Io Ev. tract. 33, 6). […] Therefore, we understand that our real enemy is attachment to sin, which can lead us to failure in our lives. Jesus sent the adulterous woman away with this recommendation:  ‘Go, and do not sin again’. He forgives her so that ‘from now on’ she will sin no more. (Benedict XVI. Visit to the Roman Parish of Saint Felicity and her Children, Martyrs, March 25, 2007)

  • Habits linked to sin do not create a new world

Saint Luke remarks first of all that the people ‘were in expectation’ (Lk 3: 15). In this way he emphasizes the expectation of Israel and, in those people who had left their homes and their usual tasks, the profound desire for a different world and new words that seem to find an answer precisely in the Precursor’s words that may be severe and demanding and yet are full of hope. The baptism John offers is one of repentance, a sign that is an invitation to conversion, to a change of life, because One is coming who will ‘baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire’ (Lk 3:16). Indeed it is impossible to aspire to a new world while remaining immersed in selfishness and habits linked to sin. (Benedict XVI. Homily on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, January 10, 2010)

…judges Francis’ idea of the Roman Curia

  • Valuable contribution to the Petrine Ministry

 Our community, as you emphasized, Your Eminence, is truly a “working community”, bound by bonds of fraternal love which the Christmas festivities help to reinforce. In this spirit, you did not omit an appropriate mention of the former members of our Curial family who crossed the threshold of time in recent months and have entered into God’s peace. On such an occasion it does our hearts good to feel close to those who shared the service to the Church with us and who now intercede for us at God’s throne. I therefore thank you for your words, Your Eminence, Dean of the College of Cardinals, and I thank everyone present for the contribution that each one makes to the fulfilment of the ministry entrusted to me by the Lord. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Members of the Roman Curia, December 21, 2007)

  • Appreciated collaboration

 This morning, the family of the Roman Curia also comes together, following a fine custom which gives us the joy of meeting and exchanging greetings in this special spiritual milieu. To each of you I offer a cordial greeting, full of gratitude for your valued collaboration with the ministry of the Successor of Peter. (Benedict XVI. Address to the Members of the Roman Curia, December 22, 2008)

  • Superior service rendered to the successor of Peter

This meeting gives me the opportunity to reaffirm my esteem and respect for your lofty service to the Successor of Peter and to the whole Church, while for you it is an incentive to ever greater commitment in a context that is indeed arduous, but invaluable for the salvation of souls. The principle that the salus animarum is the supreme law in the Church (cf. CIC, can. 1752) must indeed be borne in mind and every day must find in your work the strict respect that it merits. (Benedict XVI. Address for the Inauguration of the Judicial Year of the Roman Rota, January 26, 2013)

  • The Church of Rome has a special privilege due to the blood of the Apostles

It is a symbol of the special mission of Peter and his Successors to tend Christ’s flock, keeping it united in faith and in charity. At the beginning of the second century St Ignatius of Antioch attributed a special primacy to the Church which is in Rome, greeting her in his Letter to the Romans as the one which ‘presides in charity’. It is because the Apostles Peter and Paul, together with many other martyrs, poured out their blood in this City, that this special task of service depends on the Community of Rome and on its Bishop. Let us, thus, return to the witness of blood and of charity. The Chair of Peter is therefore the sign of authority, but of Christ’s authority, based on faith and on love. (Benedict XVI. Angelus, February 19, 2012)

…judges Francis’ ideas on Peace

  • Without an Acceptance of God There Will Be No Peace for Humanity

 Consequently, it is essential that we should all be committed to living our lives in an attitude of responsibility before God, acknowledging him as the deepest source of our own existence and that of others. By going back to this supreme principle we are able to perceive the unconditional worth of each human being, and thus to lay the premises for building a humanity at peace. Without this transcendent foundation society is a mere aggregation of neighbours, not a community of brothers and sisters called to form one great family. (Benedict XVI, Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2008)

  • Peace is a Gift of God that Demands a Personal Response Consistent with God’s Plan

Likewise, peace is both gift and task. If it is true that peace between individuals and peoples—the ability to live together and to build relationships of justice and solidarity—calls for unfailing commitment on our part, it is also true, and indeed more so, that peace is a gift from God. Peace is an aspect of God’s activity, made manifest both in the creation of an orderly and harmonious universe and also in the redemption of humanity that needs to be rescued from the disorder of sin. Creation and Redemption thus provide a key that helps us begin to understand the meaning of our life on earth. My venerable predecessor Pope John Paul II, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations on October 5, 1995, stated that “we do not live in an irrational or meaningless world… there is a moral logic which is built into human life and which makes possible dialogue between individuals and peoples.” The transcendent “grammar”, that is to say the body of rules for individual action and the reciprocal relationships of persons in accordance with justice and solidarity, is inscribed on human consciences, in which the wise plan of God is reflected. As I recently had occasion to reaffirm: “we believe that at the beginning of everything is the Eternal Word, Reason and not Unreason.” Peace is thus also a task demanding of everyone a personal response consistent with God’s plan. The criterion inspiring this response can only be respect for the “grammar” written on human hearts by the divine Creator. (Benedict XVI. Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2007)

…judges Francis’ idea on whether the Lord always Pardons…

  • The certainty of God’s pardon is not an excuse to fail to seek sanctity

 Even when we have to struggle continually with the same failings, it is important to resist the coarsening of our souls and the indifference which would simply accept that this is the way we are. It is important to keep pressing forward, without scrupulosity, in the grateful awareness that God forgives us ever anew – yet also without the indifference that might lead us to abandon altogether the struggle for holiness and self-improvement. (Benedict XVI. Letter to Seminarians, n.3, October 18, 2010)

  • Priests should educate the faithful about the radical requirements of the Gospel

The discussed “crisis” of the Sacrament of Penance, frequently calls into question priests first of all and their great responsibility to teach the People of God the radical requirements of the Gospel. In particular, it asks them to dedicate themselves generously to hearing sacramental confessions; to guide the flock courageously so that it does not conform to the mindset of this world (cf. Rom 12:2) but may even be able to make decisions that run counter to the tide, avoiding adjustments and compromises. (Benedict XVI. Speech to Participants in the Internal Forum Course Organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, March 11, 2010)

  • He who repents, receives pardon and the strength to sin no more

Jesus sent the adulterous woman away with this recommendation: ‘Go, and do not sin again’. He forgives her so that ‘from now on’ she will sin no more. In a similar episode, that of the repentant woman, a former sinner whom we come across in Luke’s Gospel (cf. Lk 7:36-50), he welcomed a woman who had repented and sent her peacefully on her way. Here, instead, the adulterous woman simply receives an unconditional pardon. In both cases – for the repentant woman sinner and for the adulterous woman – the message is the same. In one case it is stressed that there is no forgiveness without the desire for forgiveness, without opening the heart to forgiveness; here it is highlighted that only divine forgiveness and divine love received with an open and sincere heart give us the strength to resist evil and ‘to sin no more’, to let ourselves be struck by God’s love so that it becomes our strength. (Benedict XVI. Homily, visit to the Roman Parish of St. Felicity and her children, Martyrs, Sunday, 25 March 2007)

  • Confession is not only an instrument of pardon, but also of sanctification

Then there is a close connection between holiness and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, witnessed by all the saints of history. The real conversion of our hearts, which means opening ourselves to God’s transforming and renewing action, is the “driving force” of every reform and is expressed in a real evangelizing effort. In confession, through the freely bestowed action of divine Mercy, repentant sinners are justified, pardoned and sanctified and abandon their former selves to be reclothed in the new.(Benedict XVI. To participants in a course organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary, 9 March 2012)

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