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The dynamic of true renewal

· Benedict XVI during the celebration of Chrism Mass points to the word that reveals the Son and shows us the way. ·

The Pope's collection for charity taken up at the Mass of the Lord's Supper is earmarked for the Syrian refugees

The true renewal of the Church is the configuration of self to Christ. That was Benedict XVI's prompt response to “a group of priests from a European country”, who recently “ issued a summons to disobedience, and at the same time gave concrete examples of the forms this disobedience”, with the pretext of bringing renewal to the Church. And, significantly, the Pope's response came during Chrism Mass – this morning, Holy Thursday, in St Peter's Basilica – in  which priests are called  to renew their promise of consecration. A promise, recalled the Pope, that implies on the one hand “an interior bond, a configuration to Christ”, which makes credible one's entire mission in the humility of the Cross, and on the other “a renunciation of what is simply our own, of the much-vaunted self-fulfilment”.

Therefore,  accepting the possibility as well that the signers of this summons were motivated “by concern for the Church”, Benedict XVI invites us to reflect on how it is possible to realize this configuration to Christ  “in the often dramatic situation of the Church today”. The temptation to disobedience, the Pope explained, seems to be merely “a desperate push to do something to change the Church in accordance with one’s own preferences and ideas”.  Maybe because Christ “seems too lofty and too great for us to dare to measure ourselves by him”.

To help us come the great ecclesial figures, the long line of saints and martyrs who knew how to configure themselves to Christ and “who have gone before us and shown us the way”, to “show us how”. And taking up an argument developed by opponents, that is the ordination of women, Benedict XVI referred back to the teaching of John Paul II, who “stated irrevocably that the Church has received no authority from the Lord”. The referent was perhaps no coincidence, Pope  Wojtyła is well loved still today, a person who left us a “wealth of documents”, still “far”, Benedict noted, “from being fully explored”.

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St. Peter’s Square

Sept. 20, 2019

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