08/05/2007, 00.00
VATICAN

Pope recalls the Servant of God, Paul VI and the Church “in difficult years”

Benedict XVI also remembers the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist and his ecumenical witness. The current liturgy which urges us to “look upon heavenly things”: wealth is not “an absolute good”.

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – 29 years on from his death today Benedict XVI recalled the figure of Paul VI, which took place August 6th1978, on the feast of the transfiguration. “The solemnity of the Transfiguration, - said the pontiff – remains linked to the memory of my venerated predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, who in 1978 here in Castel Gandalfo, completed his earthly mission and was called into the heavenly house of the Father.  His memory invites us to raise our eyes to Heaven and to faithfully serve the Lord and the Church, as he did in the difficult years of the last century”.

In keeping with tradition Benedict XVI ‘s Angelus address highlighted the Sunday Gospel and liturgy.  Today he sought to underline Christ’s warning “to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, everything passes, everything can end suddenly” and that “although wealth in itself is an accumulation of goods, it must not be considered as the absolute good”. “The real treasure for which we Christians must tirelessly seek – explained the Pope – lie in the things ‘from above, there where Christ can be found at the right hand of the Father’.  Saint Paul in his letter to the Colossians reminds us of this today when he says that our life ‘is hidden with Christ in God’ (3, 1-3)”.

The memory of Paul VI urges us to lift our eyes ‘on high’.  Today’s feast too, of the dedication of the basilica of Saint Mary Major calls on “the Virgin… to sustain us” so that “as we bend the earth to our will we are not blinded by the short-sightedness of greed, but we continue to strive for that which is good in the eyes of good”. (Collect).

At the end of the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI also recalled a contemporary protagonist in dialogue between the Churches, the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist, who died earlier this week.  “At the solemn funeral which took place Friday last in the cathedral in Bucharest – added the pontiff – I was represented by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Vatican Council for the promotion of Christian Unity, with a special delegation. I warmly remember this noble Pastor who loved his Church and gave a great and positive contribution to relations between Catholics and Orthodox, constantly encouraging the work of the International Mixed Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Church.  A clear testament of his ecumenical commitment were the two visits he made to my venerable predecessor John Paul II and the welcome which he in turn gave to the Bishop of Rome during his historic pilgrimage to Romania in 1999. ‘May his memory be eternal', that is how the Orthodox liturgy concludes the funeral rite of all of those who find eternal rest in the Lord.  Let us pray to God that he welcome our Brother into the kingdom of light conceding him rest and peace promised to the faithful servants of the Gospel”.

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