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    » 04/09/2008, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: the humanism of Saint Benedict, antidote to the culture of the ego



    Illustrating the figure of the founder of Western monasticism, the pope says that in order to regain its unity following two world wars and the collapse of ideologies, Europe needs the religious and moral teaching that emerges from its Christian roots.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "true humanism" of Saint Benedict, which means a journey toward God, remains today an antidote against the culture of the "easy and egocentric" self-realisation of man, a temptation "that is often exalted today", in a Europe that "just having left behind a century profoundly wounded by two world wars, and after the collapse of the grand ideologies, revealed as tragic utopias, is searching for its identity".

    The figure of the founder of Western monasticism, "and also the patron of my pontificate", was at the centre of the reflection that Benedict XVI presented today to the 30,000 people in Saint Peter's Square for the general audience, the last before his departure for his visit to the United States, on April 15.  Today's address brought his expression of the hope that "Europe may be enlightened by the religious and moral teaching that emerges from its Christian roots", which was expanded to the vision of the Benedictine rule as a model for all men of today, since by his life Saint Benedict "demonstrates that God is not a faraway hypothesis about the origin of the world, but a concrete presence in the life of man".  Thus, on the Old Continent, "in order to create a new and lasting unity, political, economic, and legal instruments are certainly important, but there is also the need for a spiritual and ethical renewal that draws upon the Christian roots of the continent, otherwise Europe cannot be rebuilt.  Without this vital sap", he continued, "man is exposed to the risk of succumbing and of wanting to redeem himself".  This is "a utopia that in various ways, as Pope John Paul II showed, represents an unprecedented step backward in tumultuous history of humanity".

    The pope then recalled that Saint Benedict, who was born around the year 480, was sent by his prosperous parents to study in Rome.  But, "disgusted by the lifestyle of many of his companions", and not wanting to fall into the same errors, but "to please God alone", he withdrew to the mountains east of Rome, before his studies were concluded.  During the three years when he lived as a hermit in a cave near Subiaco, he experienced a period of "solitude together with God". That period allowed him  to overcome three fundamental temptations: that of self-affirmation, of placing himself at the centre, that of sexuality, and that of anger and vengeance".

    "In the anxiety and confusion of his time", caused by the fall of the Roman Empire and by the crisis in public behaviour, "he lived under the eyes of God, and with his own eyes directed toward him, without losing sight of man and his concrete problems".  "Thus he understood the reality of man and his mission".  The pope then emphasised St Benedict's life of prayer, which for him was "in the first place an act of listening, which must then be translated into concrete action.  The Lord is waiting for us to respond practically, every day, to his holy instruction".  The rule of St Benedict, in conclusion, is still today "a light along humanity's path", and is "the search for the humble and obedient Christ", and precisely in this way is at the service of the other and of peace.

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    See also

    13/04/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: prayer for missionary vocations, and for his visit to the United States
    On the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, Benedict XVI asks for prayers so that vocations dedicated to life and mission may increase. In all the languages of his greetings, he entrusts himself to the prayers of the Church for his "apostolic pilgrimage" to the United States from April 15-20.

    05/03/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: Roman primacy is "necessary" in the Church, today as in the past
    Illustrating at the general audience the figure of St Leo the Great, Benedict XVI again asserts the purpose of the primacy of the bishop of Rome and recalls how at the time of the undivided Church he was also recognised by the Eastern bishops.

    29/10/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: the cross overturns the logic of power: folly for men, love for God
    Continuing his illustration of the figure of St. Paul, Benedict XVI spoke today of the theology of the cross. What seems to be a failure "reveals the power of God, which is different from human power," and grants salvation freely.

    19/04/2008 VATICAN - USA
    Benedict XVI: Passover greetings to the Jewish community of New York
    Just a few hours from the Jewish Passover, the pontiff visits the synagogue of rabbi Arthur Schneier, engaged in interreligious dialogue with Christians and Muslims.

    27/02/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: Saint Augustine, model of a conversion "that lasts a lifetime"
    Benedict XVI concludes the cycle of reflections on the figure of the bishop of Hippo by emphasising his journey toward knowledge of God, and highlighting his own "personal devotion and gratitude" toward this "passionate seeker of truth" who influenced his life as "priest and theologian".



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