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April 20, 2005



Beautiful. Where did you find the English translation?


It's not online yet. It probably will be soon. I'll post a link when it does.


Can I just say I love this man? I was so impressed and humbled by him when I saw him doing an interview on EWTN last year. He is holy, brilliant, humble and funny. In other words, 'he's got it going on'. ;-)

I think Benedict XVI will need a lot of prayers because this is a very difficult time in the Church and in the world. It seems to me that in the last couple of years events have conspired to widen some sort of gulf between people. I can't put my finger on it, but I think he's going to be in the middle of it.

Sr Lorraine

I am impressed by how often he speaks of dialogue with various groups.


I'm blown away. Reunion of Christians is Pope Benedict's *primary* commitment. For many years I've longed to see reunion with the Orthodox, and while the obstacles are great, this seems like a very promising beginning for the new pope. May he live long, and well!


A brilliant start to Benedict XVI's Papacy. I just hope this homily gets the sort of wide dissemination in the media that it deserves, especially because it's tone and substantive focus provide such a contrast to the more hysterical reactions to Ratzinger that we've seen and heard since yesterday. I won't hold my breath, though! The mainstream media usually doesn't fail to disappoint.

I can envision the critics already preparing their arguments that this homily is some sort of ruse, a Trojan Horse, an amenable facade, an appealing false front meant to trick people, but that is really all part of some sinister Machiavellian radical conservative anti-Vatican II scheme (i.e. see Andrew Sullivan's unhinged and absurd "Political Theory" on how BXVI was elected)...etc...etc...etc.


This part is worth repeating:

"Thus, in full awareness and at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome that Peter bathed with his blood, the current Successor assumes as his primary commitment that of working tirelessly towards the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, this is his compelling duty. He is aware that to do so, expressions of good feelings are not enough. Concrete gestures are required to penetrate souls and move consciences, encouraging everyone to that interior conversion which is the basis for all progress on the road of ecumenism.
"It is before Him, supreme Judge of all living things, that each of us must stand, in the awareness that one day we must explain to Him what we did and what we did not do for the great good that is the full and visible unity of all His disciples."

"Ut Unum Sint" indeed!


"B16" -- now I have visions of huge, lumbering bombers going through my head.


"not his own light but that of Christ."

I hope Chittester et al at the National Catholic Reporter and at America were listening.

Dan W

WOW. Reading this sermon fills me with an unspeakable joy.

Peter Nixon

I wonder if we all need to step back a little bit from the culture of instant commentary and give this papacy time to develop a bit before we pronounce judgment on it one way or another. Depending on your point of view, there are words and deeds in the new pope's past that can give one cause for either joy or concern. But in either case I think we need to give the man some room.

Patrick Rothwell

This is quite good. Note too the reiteration of "purification of memory," the committment to ecumenism and dialogue with men of good will of all religious backgrounds or none. Less "God's rottweiler," more "God's floppy-eared basset hound." And basset hounds can be stubborn, as anyone who has ever owned one knows...

Msgr. Albecete said on CNN this morning that Benedict has a serious image problem that needs to be corrected. With sermons like this, there is great potential for Benedict to improve his image without compromising anything. One thing that was encouraging to me last night was that Chris Matthews - who is in complete disagreement with Benedict on all the controversial sex and gender issues - nevertheless thinks that Benedict is wonderful and not just because he is a cultural Catholic who likes to cheer any old Pope. So there is potential for him to win people over. It's too bad that the camera hates Pope Benedict, unlike JPII whom the camera loved, even when he was ill and decrepid. I just hope that Catholics in the pew will give him a chance and not buy into the Grand Inquisitor and Nazi hype.


"Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini."


As Cardinal Ratzinger, he reached out to us conservative Anglicans at the meeting in Plano.
For that gesture he holds a special place in my prayers.

Glenn Juday

I perceive something interesting here.

Pope Benedict is widely thought to be the favorite of the traditionalist Catholics, because of his openness to the beauty and permanent value of the traditional Latin liturgy, right? Well, the biggest challenge from the limited number of so-called traditionalists who are actually radicals in schism from the Church, is an additional heresy of anti-ecumenism.

These schismatics are not critics of simply the careless manner in which ecumenical outreach has been carried out by the Catholic Church, nor of the high incidence of material heretics carrying it out in the name of the Catholic Church. These schismatic traditionalists have rejected the very concept of ecumenical outreach. They use the very willingness to engage in ecumenical dialog as a meter by which one can “sniff out” the “corrupting” element, thereby crucially justifying their rebellion from the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict seems to going right at them in two important ways. First, and most important, it seems to me THEY are being singled out as the first target for ecumenical outreach. THEY are being challenged to reconcile with Holy Mother Church. THEY are used to focusing on the deficiencies of the Church loyal to the pope (the “Conciliar Church”) and the various Protestant and Evangelical groups. Now THEIR deficiencies have been deftly put in the spotlight and THEY are being challenged as to what matters most to them – integrity of doctrine and liturgical practice or autonomous governance free from any confining pope and the living Catholic Faith he serves?

The pope of the schismatics’ “Conciliar Church” says, “With the passing of time, the conciliar documents have not lost their timeliness; their teachings have shown themselves to be especially pertinent to the new exigencies of the Church and the present globalized society.” Crucially, however, as a participant in Vatican 2 and even an originator of some of the ideas and concepts it developed, Pope Benedict is in a position to rule OUT the silly interpretations of Vatican 2, and present these teachings, “…in faithful continuity with the millennia-old tradition of the Church.” Bam, bam, bam - Pope Benedict is a heads up, coming at you kind of leader.

Second, notice how Pope Benedict places the emphasis in ecumenism on, “…encouraging everyone to that INTERIOR conversion which is the basis for all progress on the road of ecumenism.” And so, Pope Benedict, as the visible head of the most recognized hierarchical religious structure in the world, one challenged by the cry for “individual conscience” puts the challenge back to others in this way, “It is before Him, supreme Judge of all living things, that each of us must stand, in the awareness that one day we must explain to Him what we did and what we did not do for the great good that is the full and visible unity of all His disciples.” So all those screaming for individual conscience are to be challenged with getting their wish.

The one comment that I heard about Cardinal Ratzinger that always stuck with me was that he was just so clever, clever, clever, in a non-manipulative way. He makes his points using your terms and concepts, setting off thought bombs inside your head. As Pope Benedict 16th, he seems to be off to a fast start doing just that.

David Kubiak

"...through the solemnity and correctness of the celebrations."

As the late Pope would say, "Very nice, very nice."

Mark C.

Pope Benedict XVI is not "God's Rottweiler" but "God's donkey", the humble beast of burden (perhaps with a bit of a stubborn streak) who carries the load and follows the path set out for him by his Master.

Can I just say that he is now 4 for 4 in his most recent public statements - the Stations of the Cross he composed for Good Friday, his funeral homily for the Holy Father, his homily at the Mass For the Election of a Roman Pontiff, and now his first homily as Holy Father. While I was a great admirer of John Paul II, to be honest I never found his homilies, Angelus addresses, etc., that great overall. (Some of his encyclicals were great, but these are presumably more collaborative effort.) Ratzinger, through not known as a "great communicator" strikes me as a far more gifted writer and homilist than John Paul II (who may have been spoiled by all that exposure to Phenomenology and other forms of incomprehensible philosophy).

As for the challenge to traditionalist Catholics outside of union with Rome, I think if Cardinal Ratzinger frees up permission for saying the Latin Mass, and simply invites the SSPX to reconcile, the schism will collapse in a matter of weeks. Similarly, he could probably reconcile a large part of Anglican traditionalists - the Forward in Faith movement within the Anglican Communion, and the Traditional Anglican Communion outside of the official Anglican Church - in a matter of months. Having reunited with the most liturgically and doctrinally traditional groups in the Western Church family, I think that new models of communion could be developed that will create openings for reconciliation with the Orthodox and other Eastern churches.

Charles M. de Nunzio

I'm noting what's said above re: the SSPX. I agree that Benedict XVI will be the occasion of dramatic prospects that will force those of us who have supported the Society up to now to re-evaluate the situation....

But what actually inspired me to post in this place is something that the translator of this first Papal address missed. Read the actual text the Holy Father gave, which he wrote and spoke in Latin, and you will see the return of the traditional Papal styling (not used by John Paul II), the capitalized royal "We/Us/Our," indicating the notion that Christ and His Vicar speak together with one voice.

Aristotle A. Esguerra

On the correctness of celebrations:

A list of music for this Mass may be found here. (I just finished watching the rerun on EWTN.com.)

Noteworthy is the fact that the Introit, Responsorial Psalm, Alleluia, Offertory and Communion chants were all taken from the Graduale Simplex - an actual innovation* of Vatican II which was lost in the whirlwind of vernacularization.

That the Mass setting used for this liturgy (Mass IX "Cum Iubilo") is designated for Masses of Our Lady (in both the 1962 and 1970 missals) is symbolic - to me, anyway.

*term not used pejoratively.


Mr. de Nunzio:

If you compare the Latin of many of JP2's encylicals, apostolic letters, etc., with the English and other vernacular versions, you'll see that he too actually used the first person plural.


But did John Paul II use the first person plural when reading those encyclicals?

Did Benedict the XVI use the first person plural in his actual speech? Does anyone know?

Aristotle A. Esguerra

Benedict XVI did speak in the first person plural.

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