July 2010


"Let Us Not Be Afraid to Be Silent" - Homily in Sulmona, Italy, July 4, 2010

May the example and intercession of the Mother of God and of St. Peter Celestine accompany us on this journey. Amen!

On the Perfect Model of Obedience: "We Too ... Are Called to Appreciate a Sober Way of Life" Angelus Address, Sulmona, July 4, 2010

Dear brothers and sisters!

At the end of this solemn celebration, at the customary time on Sunday, I invite you to recite the Angelus prayer together. To the Virgin Mary, whom you venerate with particular devotion in the sanctuary of the Madonna della Libera, I entrust this Church of Sulmona-Valva: the bishop, the priests and all the people of God. May this Church, united and joyous, walk the way of faith, hope and charity together. Faithful to the legacy of St. Pietro Celestino, may she always know how to combine evangelical radicality and mercy so that all those who seek God may find him.

In Mary, Virgin of silence and listening, St. Peter del Morrone found the perfect model of obedience to the divine will, in a simple and humble life, committed to seeking out the essential, always able to thank the Lord, recognizing everything as a gift of his goodness.

We too, who live in a time of great comfort and possibility, are called to appreciate a sober way of life, to keep our minds and hearts more free to be able to share our goods with our brothers.

May Mary Most Holy, who animated the first community of Jesus disciples with her maternal presence, also help the Church of today to bear credible witness to the Gospel.

Address at the Meeting with Youth Cathedral of Sulmona, July 4, 2010

Dear young people! love the Church, our Mother; be simple and pure of heart; be humble and generous. I entrust you all to your holy patrons, to St. Peter Celestine and above all to the Virgin Mary, and I bless you with great affection. Amen.

Reflection on St. Joseph: "He Too Is Called to Be a Disciple of Jesus"- Address at the inauguration and blessing of a fountain dedicated to St. Joseph in the Vatican Gardens, July 5, 2010

The first panel represents the espousals between Joseph and Mary; it is an episode of great importance. Joseph was of the royal line of David and, in virtue of his marriage to Mary, would confer on the Son of the Virgin -- on God's Son -- the legal tile of "son of David," thus fulfilling the prophecies. The espousals of Joseph and Mary are, because of this, a human event, but determinant in the history of humanity's salvation, in the realization of the promises of God; because of this, it also has a supernatural connotation, which the two protagonists accept with humility and trust.

Engaged to Mary, before going to live with her, he discovers her mysterious maternity and is disturbed. The Evangelist Matthew stresses that, being a just man, he was unwilling to repudiate her, and therefore decided to send her away quietly (cf. Matthew 1:19). But in his dreams -- as he is represented in the second panel -- the angel made him understand that what was happening in Mary was the work of the Holy Spirit; and Joseph, trusting in God, consents and cooperates in the plan of salvation. The divine intervention in his life could not but perturb his heart. To trust God does not mean to see everything clearly according to our criteria, it does not mean to carry out what we have planned; to trust God means to empty ourselves of ourselves and to deny ourselves, because only one who accepts losing himself for God can be "just" as St. Joseph, that is, can conform his own will to God's and thus be fulfilled.

The Gospel, as we know, has not kept any word from Joseph, who carries out his activity in silence. It is the style that characterizes his whole existence, both before finding himself before the mystery of God's action in his spouse, as well as when -- conscious of this mystery -- he is with Mary in the Nativity -- represented in the third image. On that holy night, in Bethlehem, with Mary and the Child, is Joseph, to whom the Heavenly Father entrusted the daily care of his Son on earth, a care carried out with humility and in silence.

The fourth panel reproduces the dramatic scene of the Flight into Egypt to escape the homicidal violence of Herod. Joseph is compelled to leave his land with his family, in haste: it is another mysterious moment of his life; another trial in which he is asked for full fidelity to God's plan.

Later in the Gospel, Joseph appears in only one more episode, when he goes to Jerusalem and lives the anguish of losing the son Jesus. St. Luke describes the anxious search and the wonder at finding him in the Temple -- as it appears in the fifth panel -- but even greater is the astonishment at hearing the mysterious words: "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:49) This twofold question of the Son of God helps us to understand the mystery of Joseph's paternity. Reminding his own parents of the primacy of the One he calls "my Father," Jesus affirms the primacy of the will of God over every other will, and reveals to Joseph the profound truth of his role: He too is called to be a disciple of Jesus, dedicating his existence to the service of the Son of God and of the Virgin Mother, in obedience to the Heavenly Father.

The sixth panel represents Joseph's work in his shop in Nazareth. Jesus worked with him. The Son of God is hidden from men and only Mary and Joseph guard his mystery and live it each day: The Word Incarnate grows as man in the shadow of his parents, but, at the same time, they remain, in turn, hidden in Christ, in his mystery, living their vocation.

Dear brothers and sisters, this beautiful fountain dedicated to St. Joseph constitutes a symbolic reminder of the values of simplicity and humility in carrying out day by day the will of God, values that distinguished the silent but beautiful life of the Custodian of the Redeemer. To his intercession I entrust the hopes of the Church and of the world. May he, together with the Virgin Mary, his spouse, always guide my way and yours, so that we are able to be joyful instruments of peace and of salvation.

On Duns Scotus: "Defender of the Immaculate Conception" Address at the General Audience on July 7, 2010

... Because of his fame for holiness, devotion to him soon spread in the Franciscan Order and Venerable Pope John Paul II wished to confirm him solemnly blessed on March 20, 1993, describing him as "singer of the Incarnate Word and defender of the Immaculate Conception." Not only the role of Christ in the history of salvation, but also Mary's [role] is the object of the reflection of the doctor subtilis. In Duns Scotus' times, the majority of theologians offered an objection that seemed insurmountable to the doctrine that Most Holy Mary was free from original sin from the first instant of her conception. In fact, the universality of the redemption wrought by Christ, at first glance, might seem compromised by such an affirmation, as if Mary had no need of Christ and of his redemption. Because of this theologians were opposed to this thesis.

To make this preservation from original sin understood, Duns Scotus then developed an argument which later would also be adopted by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854, when he defined solemnly the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. And this argument is that of the "preventive redemption," according to which the Immaculate Conception represents the masterpiece of the redemption wrought by Christ, because in fact the power of his love and of his mediation obtained that the Mother be preserved from original sin. Hence, Mary is totally redeemed by Christ, but already before her conception. The Franciscans, his brethren, accepted and spread this doctrine enthusiastically, as did other theologians who -- often with a solemn oath -- committed themselves to defend and perfect it.

In this regard, I would like to highlight something, which it seems to me is important. Valuable theologians, such as Duns Scotus with the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, enriched with their specific thought what the People of God already believed spontaneously about the Blessed Virgin, manifested in acts of piety, in the expressions of art and, in general, in Christian living. Thus faith in the Immaculate Conception or in the bodily assumption of the Virgin was already present in the People of God, while theology had not yet found the key to interpret it in the totality of the doctrine of the faith. May Mary Most Holy help us to receive this infinite love of God that we will enjoy fully for eternity in heaven, when our soul will finally be united for ever to God, in the communion of saints.

"Spread Ever More the Spirit of Prayer ... for All Vocations in the Church" - Message to Rogationist Fathers, published on July 8, 2010

May faithful adherence to Christ and to his Gospel shine in the various fields of your ecclesial service. May the Holy Virgin, queen of vocations and mother of priests protect you, help you and be the sure guide on the path of your religious family, so that it will be able to bring to fulfillment every good project.

On the Good Samaritan: "The Logic of Christ ... Is the Logic of Charity"- Angelus Address, July 11, 2010

I entrust our journey of faith to the Virgin Mary and, in particular, this time of vacation, so that our hearts never lose sight of the Word of God and our brothers in difficulty.

On the Our Father: "Words of Sacred Scripture That We Have Known Since Childhood" Angelus Address at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, July 25, 2010

May the Virgin Mary help us to rediscover the beauty and the profundity of Christian prayer.

Joachim and Anne Asked to Intercede for Families: Pope Thanks Grandparents on Feast of Mary - papal message for a celebration in Jaen, Spain was read after a Mass celebrated by Bishop Ramn del Hoyo Lpez, July 26, 2010

that the Lord will help grandparents with his providence and mercy and imploring for them the protection of the holy grandparents Joachim and Anne, and of their daughter, the glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

"It Was For Me Personally Very Moving" – Address after viewing a documentary on the first five years of his pontificate, titled "Fünf Jahre Papst Benedikt" (Five Years: Pope Benedict XVI). The film is a production of Bayerischer Rundfunk, a public broadcaster in Bavaria, Germany, July 29, 2010.

… I also found it beautiful that the film ends with the visit to the Mother of God, who teaches us humility, obedience and the joy that God is with us.