16 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 02/20/2008 12:53
VATICAN
Pope: Saint Augustine also teaches what true secularism is
Benedict XVI continues his reflections for the general audience on the bishop of Hippo, an author who is also fundamental for the formation of all Western culture. The dialogue with God in the Confessions and "the relationship between the political sphere and the sphere of the faith and of the Church" in "De Civitate Dei".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - An author beloved to Benedict XVI, as he himself said during today's general audience, Saint Augustine is the Father of the Church who has left behind the greatest number of works.  "Some of these are of fundamental importance not only for Christianity, but also for the formation of all Western culture". It is to him, for example, that is owed the analysis of "what we must expect from God and what we must not, what is the relationship between the political sphere and the sphere of the faith and of the Church", which "also serves today to define true secularism".

The bishop of Hippo was for the fourth time the subject of the remarks that Benedict XVI addressed to those present at the general audience, who because of the heavy attendance by the faithful - the prefecture of the pontifical household distributed 15,000 tickets - had to be "divided" today between Saint Peter's basilica and the Paul VI audience hall.

From among the extremely vast work of Augustine, the pope spoke in particular about the "Confessions", which is "still one of the most widely read books of Christian antiquity", the "Retractions", and the "De Civitate Dei".

First of all the Confessions, in 13 books, which "are a sort of autobiography, but in the form of a dialogue with God".  This "reflects the life of Augustine substantially lived as a dialogue with God and thus lived together with others".  Benedict XVI then highlighted how the word 'confessiones' in Christian Latin "has two meanings that are interwoven.  In a preliminary sense it indicates the confession of one's weaknesses, of one's sins, but it also means the praise of God, recognition and thanksgiving because he loves us, accepts us, and transforms us, raising us up to himself".  These writings met with great success even while Saint Augustine was still alive, and he himself wrote "my Confessions made a great impact upon me as I was writing them, and continue to do so.  This means that they will be pleasing to my brothers".  "This means", the pope said, smiling, "that I am one of these 'brothers'".

Less well known are the "Retractions", two books that represent a complete revision of his work, and described by Benedict XVI as "a unique and extremely valuable document", and an expression of "intellectual sincerity and humility".  Also important for Western political thought is the "De Civitate Dei", which, "by clarifying what we must expect from God and what we must not, what is the relationship between the political sphere and the sphere of the faith and of the Church", "is still today the source for defining properly what are true secularism and the competency of the Church, and the great and true hope that is given to us by faith".  It is the history of humanity governed by divine providence, it is "his interpretation of the history of humanity as the struggle between two loves: the love of self to the point of indifference toward God, and the love of God to the point of indifference toward oneself".  "It may be the most important of Augustine's works".

"For us as well", the pope concluded, "it would have been wonderful to have been able to hear him in person, but he is certainly alive in his writings, and thus we see the permanent vitality of the faith for which he gave his whole life".


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
01/30/2008 VATICAN
Pope: Faith and reason must be harmonised, they are not opposed
02/27/2008 VATICAN
Pope: Saint Augustine, model of a conversion "that lasts a lifetime"
04/09/2008 VATICAN
Pope: the humanism of Saint Benedict, antidote to the culture of the ego
06/18/2008 VATICAN
Today’s Christians must pray but also dedicate themselves to action, says Pope
03/05/2008 VATICAN
Pope: Roman primacy is "necessary" in the Church, today as in the past

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.