On the Africa Trip General Audience, April 1, 2009
... I recall the solemn celebration of Vespers that took place
in Yaoundι, in the Church of Mary Queen of the Apostles,
Patroness of Cameroon, a large and modern church, which
rises in the place where the first evangelizers of Cameroon
worked, the Spiritan Missionaries. On the eve of the
Solemnity of St. Joseph, to whose careful custody God
entrusted his most precious treasures, Mary and Jesus, we
gave glory to the one Father who is in heaven, together with
the representatives of other Churches and ecclesial
communities. Contemplating the spiritual figure of St.
Joseph, who consecrated his life to Christ and the Virgin
Mary, I invited priests, consecrated persons and members of
ecclesial movements to be always faithful to their vocation,
living in the presence of God and in joyful obedience of his
Word. ... I entrust everything and everyone to the maternal
intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Africa and of the African saints and blessed.
"He Engendered Many Sons and Daughters in the Faith"
Homily at the Mass to Mark the fourth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death, held in Saint Peter's Basilica,
April 4, 2009
... While we entrust his chosen soul to the maternal
intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom he always loved
tenderly, we very much hope that from heaven he will not
cease to accompany us and intercede for us. That he will
help each one of us to live, as he did, repeating with full
confidence day after day to God, through Mary, Totus tuus. Amen!
On Preparation for World Youth Day in Madrid
Angelus Address of April 5, 2009.
... Tomorrow the cross, accompanied by the icon of the Virgin
Mary, will depart for the Spanish capital, and will be
present there for the great Good Friday procession. After
this a long pilgrimage through the dioceses of Spain will
begin, and will end again in Madrid in the summer of 2011.
May this cross and this icon of Mary be for all a sign of
Christ's invincible love and that of his and our Mother! ... I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors
here this Palm Sunday, when we recall the humble entry into
Jerusalem of Jesus, our King and Messiah. With vivid
memories of my visit to Sydney for World Youth Day, I greet
Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, and Bishops
Anthony Fisher and Julian Porteous, Auxiliary Bishops of
Sydney, who are here together with a large group of young
Australians in order to consign to their counterparts from
Madrid the World Youth Day Cross and Icon of Our Lady. ...
[After the ceremony of the handing over of the World Youth
Day Cross and Icon, he said:] And now we turn with faith to
the Virgin Mary, so that she will always watch over the path
of the young and that she will help us to live Holy Week well.
Message to Madrid Youth for World Youth Day 2011 April 6, 2009.
... Let yourselves be invaded by this strength and wisdom,
communicate it to others and, under the protection of the
Most Holy Virgin Mary, prepare the World Youth Day with
dedication and joy which will make of Madrid a place radiant
of faith and life, where young people from the whole world celebrate Christ with enthusiasm.
On the Holy Triduum General Audience on April 8, 2009
... The Church watches in prayer like Mary, and together with
Mary, sharing the same feelings of sorrow and trust in God.
... Dear brothers and sisters, let us dispose ourselves to
live the Holy Triduum intensely, to participate ever more
profoundly in the mystery of Christ. We are accompanied on
this journey by the Holy Virgin, who in silence followed her
son Jesus to Calvary, taking part with great sorrow in his
sacrifice, thus cooperating with the mystery of the
Redemption and becoming Mother of all believers (cf. John
19:25-27). Together with her we will enter the Cenacle, we
will stay at the foot of the Cross, we will watch next to
the dead Christ, awaiting with hope the dawn of the radiant day of the Resurrection.
Address at End of the Way of the Cross in the Roman Colosseum April 10, 2009
... Tomorrow, on Holy Saturday, we will watch and pray
together with Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, and we will pray
with all who are suffering; we will pray above all with
those who suffer in L'Aquila, hit by the earthquake. We will
pray so that in this dark night, the star of hope will
appear to them, the light of the Risen Lord.
Easter Vigil Homily in Saint Peter's Basilica April 12, 2009
... Christmas, the birth of the divine Infant, we can somehow
immediately comprehend. We can love the child, we can
imagine that night in Bethlehem, Mary's joy, the joy of
Saint Joseph and the shepherds, the exultation of the angels.
Urbi et orbi Message for Easter Aril 12, 2009
... It is neither a myth nor a dream, it is not a vision or a
utopia, it is not a fairy tale, but it is a singular and
unrepeatable event: Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, who at
dusk on Friday was taken down from the Cross and buried, has
victoriously left the tomb. In fact, at dawn on the first
day after the Sabbath, Peter and John found the tomb empty.
... Today the Church calls in prayer upon Mary, Star of Hope,
asking her to guide humanity towards the safe haven of
salvation which is the heart of Christ, the paschal Victim,
the Lamb who has "redeemed the world," the Innocent one who
has "reconciled us sinners with the Father." To him, our
victorious King, to him who is crucified and risen, we sing out with joy our Alleluia!
On the Significance of Christ's Resurrection
General Audience on April 15, 2009 in Castel Gandolfo
... May the Virgin Mary help us cultivate in ourselves, and
around us, this climate of Easter joy, so that we may be
witnesses of divine love in every situation of our
existence. Once again, a happy Easter to all of you!
On Divine Mercy and the Catholic Family Regina Caeli Address at Castel Gandolfo on April 19, 2009
... The communion of the first Christians had the risen Christ
as true center and foundation. The Gospel says that, in the
moment of the Passion, when the Divine Master was arrested
and condemned to death, the disciples were dispersed. Only
Mary and the women, with the apostle John, remain together
and follow him to Calvary. ... As for the first community, it
is Mary who accompanies us in life every day. We invoke her
as "Queen of Heaven," knowing that her royalty is like that
of her Son: all love, and merciful love. I ask you again to
entrust to her my service to the Church, while with
confidence we say to her: "Mater misericordiae, ora pro
nobis [Mother of mercy, pray for us.]" [In English the pope
said:] ... In our prayer we commend our perseverance to the
intercession of Mary, Queen of Heaven. Upon all of you I
invoke God's abundant blessings of peace and joy!
Benedict XVI's Address to the Franciscan Family participating in the "Chapter of Mats" Castel Gandolfo,
April 20, 2009
... Now go and bring to all the peace and love of Christ the
Savior. May Mary Immaculate, "Virgin made Church" (cf. Greetings to the Blessed Virgin Mary,
1 FF, 259), accompany you always. And may my Apostolic Blessing, which I cordially
impart to all of you here present, and the entire Franciscan family, support you as well.
Autpert, "first Mariologist of the West"
General Audience, April 22, 2009
... In his reading of Revelation, which is similar to that of
Tycho, Autpert is interested not so much in the second
coming of Christ at the end of time, but in the consequences
for the Church of his first coming, the Incarnation in the
womb of the Virgin Mary. It tells us something very
important: In reality, Christ, "must daily be born, die, and
rise in us who are his body." (In Apoc. III: CCCM 27, p.
205) In the context of the mystical dimension that
surrounds every Christian, he looks to Mary as a model of
the Church, a model for us all, because also in us and
between us Christ must be born. On the basis that the
Fathers saw in the "woman clothed with the sun" of
Revelation 12:1 the image of the Church, Autpert argues:
"The blessed and pious Virgin [...] daily gives birth to new
people, from which is formed the General Body of the
Mediator. It is not therefore surprising that she, in whose
blessed womb the Church itself deserved to be united to his
head, represents the image of the Church." In this sense
Autpert sees a decisive role of the Virgin Mary in the work
of Redemption--see also his homilies in the occasions of
the purification and the assumption of the Blessed Virgin.
His great reverence, and his deep love for the Mother of God
at times inspired formulations that somehow anticipate those
of St. Bernard and the Franciscan spirit, but without
diverging toward questionable forms of sentimentalism,
because he never separated the mystery of the Church from
Mary. With good reason then Ambrose Autpert is considered
the first great Mariologist in the West. The piety that, in
his view, must free the soul from attachment to earthly and transient
pleasures, he believes should be united with the deep study
of the sacred sciences, especially the meditation of Sacred
Scripture, which he describes as a "deep sky, an
unfathomable abyss." (In Apoc. IX) In the beautiful prayer
with which he concludes his remarks on the book of
Revelation, emphasizing the priority which in every
theological search for truth relies on love, he speaks to
God with these words: "When you are scrutinized
intellectually by us, you're not discovered as you truly
are; it's only when you are loved that we reach you." We can
see today in Ambrose Autpert a person who lived in a time of
intense political exploitation of the Church, in which
nationalism and tribalism had disfigured the face of the
Church. But he, in the midst of all these difficulties that
we also experience, was able to discover the true face of
the Church in Mary, in the saints. And so he was able to
understand what it means to be Catholic, Christian, to live
the Word of God, to enter into this abyss, and so live the
mystery of the Mother of God: to give new life to the Word
of God, to offer to the Word of God one's own body at the
present time. And with all his theological experience, the
depth of his knowledge, Autpert understood that with mere
theological research God can not be known as he really is.
Only love can reach him. Let us listen to this message and
ask the Lord to help us live the mystery of the Church
today, in this our time. ...
[The Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
... In his extensive commentary on the Book of Revelation, viewed as a
treatise on the Church, Autpert taught that Christ must "be
born, die and rise again every day in us, his body." Hence
the Virgin Mary serves as a model of the Church. Indeed,
Autpert is considered the first great Marian theologian in
the West, and he writes with an almost mystical love for the
Blessed Virgin. Love, he says, is the key to our knowledge of God. ...
Really Speaks to Men and Women in a Human Way" Address to
Biblical Commission on April 23, 2009
May the Virgin Mary, model of docility and obedience to
the Word of God, teach you to accept ever better the
inexhaustible riches of Sacred Scripture, not only through
intellectual research but also in your lives as believers,
so that your work and your action may contribute to making
the light of Sacred Scripture shine ever brighter before the
On the Goal of Sanctity Regina Caeli Address on April 26, 2009
... We lift up now our filial prayer to the Virgin Mary, who fully followed the Word of God, such that his love in
her was truly perfect (cf. 1 John 2:5a).
Thank the Lord for the Gift of Holiness" Homily at
Canonization Mass on April 26, 2009
May the maternal intercession of Mary, Queen of Saints and
of these five new luminous examples of holiness whom we
venerate joyfully today, obtain for us that we may carry out
this evangelical mission. Amen!
General Audience, April 29, 2009
... Patriarch Germanus gave much attention to the liturgical
celebrations, and for a certain time, he was also considered
the one who began the feast of Akathist. As is known,
Akathist is an ancient and famous hymn which arose in the
Byzantine circle and was dedicated to the Theotokos, the
Mother of God. Despite the fact that from the theological
point of view, Germanus cannot be classified as a great
thinker, some of his works had a certain echo above all
because of certain of his intuitions regarding Mariology.
From him, in fact, we have various homilies about Marian
themes and some of them have profoundly marked the piety of
entire generations of faithful, as much in the East as in the West.
His splendid homilies on the Presentation of Mary in the
temple are still-living testimonies of the non-written
tradition of the Christian Churches. Generations of nuns and
monks, and members of countless institutes of consecrated
life, continue finding even today precious treasures of
spirituality in these texts. Some Marian texts from Germanus
that are part of his homilies pronounced on SS. Deiparae
dormitionem, corresponding to our feast of the assumption,
still create awe. Among these texts, Pope Pius XII used one
that he set as a pearl in the apostolic constitution
Munificentissimus Deus (1950), with which he declared the
dogma of faith, the assumption of Mary. Pope Pius XII cited
this text in that constitution, presenting it as one of the
arguments in favor of the permanent faith of the Church in
the corporal assumption of Mary into heaven. Germanus wrote:
"Could it ever happen, most holy Mother of God, that heaven
and earth feel honored by your presence, and you, with your
departure, would leave man deprived of your protection? No.
It is impossible to think of such a thing. In fact when you
were in the world you did not feel that the things of heaven
were foreign, in the same way, after having emigrated from
this world, you have not felt removed from the possibility
of communicating in spirit with men. ... In fact you have not
abandoned those to whom you have guaranteed salvation ... indeed your spirit lives eternally, nor has your flesh
suffered the corruption of the tomb.
"You, oh Mother, are close to everyone and protect everyone,
and even though our eyes cannot see you, we completely know,
oh One on high, that you live in the midst of all of us and
that you make yourself present in the most varied of ways
You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and
your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the
dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely
exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is
changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly
living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life.
"In fact it was impossible that that which had been
converted into the vase of God and the living temple of the
most holy divinity of the Only Begotten would be enclosed in
the sepulcher of the dead. Again we believe with certainty
that you continue walking with us." (PG 98, coll. 344B-346B, passim)
[In English the Pope said:] Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In our catechesis on the early Christian writers of East and
West, we turn to Saint Germanus, Bishop and Patriarch of
Constantinople, whose feast day is celebrated in the Greek
Church on May 12. In 717, while Constantinople was under
siege by Saracen armies, Germanus led a procession with the
venerated image of the Theotokos, the Mother of God, and
relics of the Holy Cross. The siege was lifted, convincing
him that God had responded to the people's devotion. Some
time later however, Emperor Leo III initiated his campaign
against the use of sacred images, judging them to be a
source of idolatry. When Germanus opposed the Emperor
publicly in 730, he was forced to retire in exile to a
monastery, where he later died. His memory was not
forgotten, and in the Second Council of Nicea, which
restored devotion to sacred images, his name was honored.
The writings of Germanus, steeped in an ardent love of the Church and
devotion to the Mother of God, have had a wide influence on
the piety of the faithful both of the East and the West. He
promoted a solemn and beautiful Liturgy and is also known
for his insights in Mariology. In homilies on the
Presentation and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, Germanus
extols her virtue and her mission. A text which sees the
source of her bodily incorruption in her virginal maternity
was included by Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution
Munificentissimus Deus. I pray that through the intercession
of Saint Germanus we may all be renewed in our love of the Church and devotion to the Mother of God.