» 05/14/2008, 00.00
VATICAN - CHINA
The pope calls for prayers for earthquake victims and rescuers
At the end of the general audience, Benedict XVI dedicates remarks to those struck by the earthquake in Sichuan. Before this, he had spoken about dialogue with the mystical religions of Asia, which are based on finding God in prayer and praise, and not only through reason.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The pope prays for the victims of the earthquake that struck Sichuan, and asks God to "support" those who are bringing aid to the population. At the end of today's general audience, Benedict XVI remembered "the population of Sichuan and of the surrounding area hit hard by the earthquake, which has killed and displaced many, and caused incalculable damage". "I invite you to join me in praying fervently", he continued, "for all who have lost their lives. I am spiritually close to the people suffering from this devastating calamity: let us implore God to sustain them in their suffering. May the Lord", he concluded, "grant support to all those who are involved in confronting the immediate needs for assistance".
In the reflection he had previously addressed to the 30,000 people present at the Wednesday audience, the pope had spoken about dialogue with the mystical religions of Asia, maintaining that these are based on the idea that God is found through praising him, praying to him, and not only through reflection, because even the highest concepts that can be expressed about God do not arrive at his greatness. It is faith and love that are capable of illuminating reason, the sense of being part of the "cosmic symphony" of praise for the Creator. Benedict XVI today illustrated the relevance of this "journey", which was at the centre of the work of one of the Church fathers of the sixth century, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a promoter of the encounter between Greek thought and Christianity, showing how Dionysius responded to the school of thought that sought to transform Plato into a "philosophical religion" for a return to Greek polytheism, the divinities of which "are the cosmic forces themselves" and therefore more true than Christian monotheism. Dionysius transformed this polytheistic universe into the harmony of the cosmos of God, into the symphony of the cosmos that spans from the Seraphim to the angels, from the archangels to man. This is the "symphony of God", the "cosmic praise of God", because "all of creation speaks of God". "Speaking of God always means singing for God, with the great song of the creatures that is reflected and embodied in liturgical praise". It is a "mystical theology", with which Dionysius expresses the journey of the soul to God, and which becomes "liturgical theology": to sing with the choir of the creatures of the cosmos.
Much of the pope's reflection today was developed spontaneously, and maintained that the true spirit of dialogue is in the search for truth, it is "the experience of the truth", "and then the truth itself sheds light and overthrows errors", "it is possible to speak with one another, or at least draw closer to each other". Dialogue among Christians or with the other religions, in fact, "is not born from superficiality", but "from the truth", and "precisely where one enters into the profundity of the encounter with Christ, there is opened wide the space for the light of the truth, which is light for all; controversies disappear and it becomes possible to approach each other".
Also in our time, "dialogue means precisely being near to Christ and to God: it is in the experience of the truth, which opens us to the light and to the encounter with others; in the final analysis", he continued, recalling the experience of Saint Francis, "it tells us to take the path of experience, of humble experience, when the heart expands and is able to illuminate reason".
Pope: an "ecumenical" general audience, also present the head of the Armenian Church
Benedict XVI wanted beside him Karekin II, who is paying a visit to the Holy See. An exchange of greetings highlights hope in the journey toward full unity. This evening, the concert of the philharmonic orchestra of Beijing. The Chinese embassy relates the event to the Olympics and to an "improvement" in relations with the Vatican. A new appeal for solidarity toward Myanmar.
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Benedict XVI's address for the general audience is dedicated to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In the 100 years since its institution, Christians have established friendly relations and theological dialogue, but above all they have learned to pray together for the return to full communion.
Pope: consequences disastrous of faith not embodied in love
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With the resumption of his weekly encounters with the faithful, Benedict XVI presents the example of two martyrs killed by the Nazis to emphasize that if "in human terms, their lives could be viewed as a failure, in their martyrdom shines the splendor of love".
Pope: those made to suffer unjustly know that their true good is God
At the general audience, Benedict XVI, illustrating the figure of Boethius speaks of those who, still today, are imprisoned and tortured because of their ideas or their faith. Today, at a time of the meeting of cultures, it is necessary to transmit essential values to the new generations.
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
New Vicar of Jerusalem to focus on young people and education, future of peace and hope
Mgr Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo stressed the importance of education to ensure the future of new generations. The Church is a sign of "unity" in a context "marked by divisions" and a bridge in interfaith dialogue. The situation has gone from euphoria for peace to resignation over permanent conflict. He appeals to Western Christians to come as pilgrims to the Holy Land.
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