Benedict XVI's Visit to Spain (November 2010)
On the Trip to Spain
"I Invited Europe to Open Itself Ever More to God"
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 10, 2010 - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today at the general audience in Paul VI Hall, as well as the preliminary greetings he gave in St. Peter's Basilica.
* * *
[In St. Peter's:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I am happy to receive you and to address to each one of you my cordial welcome. In particular, I greet you, faithful of Carpineto Romano, who come together with your pastor, Bishop Lorenzo Loppa, to repay the brief but intense visit that I had the joy of making to your land last September, on the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Pope Leo XIII. Dear friends, I wish to renew to all my heartfelt gratitude for the warm reception you gave me on that occasion. I am thinking of the availability of the civil authorities, particularly the mayor and the town council, as well as the eager commitment of your bishop, of the parish priest and of their collaborators, especially in the preparation of the Eucharistic celebration, so well taken care of and participated in. The memory of that event, charged with ecclesial and spiritual meaning, revives in each one the desire to reflect increasingly on the life of faith, in the wake of the teachings of your illustrious fellow citizen Pope Leo XIII, whose courageous pastoral action inspired a beneficial renewal of Catholics' commitment in society.
Dear friends, do not tire of entrusting yourselves to Christ and of proclaiming him with your life, in the family and in every environment. It is this that men also today expect from the Church. With such sentiments, I impart to all from my heart my blessing, which I willingly extend to your families and to all dear persons.
I cordially greet you pilgrims from the Czech Republic, who are gathered so numerously to exchange the visit I had the joy of making to your country last year. Dear friends, you are welcome! I keep a cherished and happy memory of my pleasant trip in you beautiful land. I am thinking in particular of the deferent courtesy of the various authorities; of the warm welcome I received from venerable brothers in the episcopate, from priests, from consecrated persons and from all the faithful, who wished to express their faith around the Successor of Peter with enthusiasm. I was also struck by the attentive consideration given to me by all those who, though being far from the Church, are however searching for genuine human and spiritual values, of which the Catholic community itself wishes to be joyful witness. I pray that the Lord will make fruitful the graces of that trip, and I hope that the Christian people of the Czech Republic will continue, with renewed impetus, to render everywhere a courageous evangelical testimony. I impart to all of you from my heart a special apostolic blessing, extended to your families and to your entire homeland.
[In Paul VI Hall]
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today I would like to recall with you the apostolic journey to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, which I had the joy of making last Saturday and Sunday. I went there to confirm my brothers in the faith (cf. Luke 22:32); I did so as a witness of the Risen Christ, as a sower of the hope that does not disappoint or deceive because its origin is the infinite love of God for all men.
The first stage was Santiago. From the welcome ceremony, I was able to experience the affection that the people of Spain nourish for the Successor of Peter. I was truly received with great enthusiasm and warmth. In this Compostelian Holy Year, I wished to be a pilgrim together with the very numerous people who went to that famous shrine. I was able to visit the "House of the Apostle James the Greater," who continues to repeat to him who arrives there in need of grace, that in Christ, God has come into the world to reconcile it with himself, not imputing to men their faults.
In the imposing cathedral of Compostela, giving with emotion the traditional embrace to the saint, I thought how this gesture of hospitality and friendship is also a way of expressing adherence to his word and participation in his mission. [It is] a strong sign of willingness to be conformed to the apostolic message, which, on one hand, urges us to be faithful custodians of the Good News that the apostles have transmitted, without yielding to the temptation to alter, diminish or bend it to other interests and, on the other, it transforms each one of us into tireless heralds of faith in Christ, by word and the testimony of life in all areas of society.
Seeing the number of pilgrims present at the solemn holy Mass, which I had the great joy to preside over in Santiago, I reflected on what made so many people leave their daily occupations to undertake the penitential way to Compostela, a way that at times is long and tiring: It is the desire to reach the light of Christ, for which they yearn in the depth of their heart, even if often they are unable to express this well in words. In moments of loss, of searching, of difficulty, as well as in the aspiration to reinforce the faith and to live in a more coherent way, the pilgrims to Compostela undertake a profound itinerary of conversion to Christ, who has assumed to himself weakness, the sin of humanity, the miseries of the world, bearing them to where evil no longer has any power, where the light of goodness illumines everything. It is a people of silent walkers, from every part of the world, who rediscover the ancient medieval and Christian tradition of pilgrimage, going through villages and cities permeated with Catholicism.
In that solemn Eucharist, lived by so many faithful present with intense participation and devotion, I prayed with fervor that all those who go on pilgrimage to Santiago may receive the gift of becoming true witnesses of Christ, whom they have rediscovered at the crossroads of thought-provoking roads leading to Compostela. I also prayed so that pilgrims, following in the footsteps of numerous saints who in the course of the centuries have undertaken the "Way of Santiago," may continue to keep alive the genuine religious, spiritual and penitential meaning, without yielding to banality, distraction or fashions. That road, intersected by ways that furrow vast lands forming a network through the Iberian Peninsula and Europe, was and continues to be the place of encounter of men and women of the most diverse provenance, united by the search for the faith and the truth about themselves, and inspired by profound experiences of sharing, fraternity and solidarity.
It is precisely faith in Christ that gives meaning to Compostela, a spiritually extraordinary place, which continues to be a point of reference for today's Europe in its new configurations and prospects. Preserving and reinforcing openness to the transcendent, as well as a fruitful dialogue between faith and reason, between politics and religion, between economy and ethics, will make possible the building of a Europe that, faithful to its essential Christian roots, is able to respond fully to its own vocation and mission in the world. Because of this, certain of the immense possibilities of the European continent and trusting in its future of hope, I invited Europe to open itself ever more to God, thus favoring the prospects of an authentic, respectful and solidary encounter with the populations and civilizations of the other continents.
Then on Sunday in Barcelona I had the truly great joy of presiding over the dedication of the Church of the Holy Family, which I declared a minor basilica. In contemplating the grandeur and beauty of that building, which invites raising one's gaze and soul to the Most High, to God, I remembered the large religious constructions, such as the medieval cathedrals, which have profoundly marked the history and physiognomy of the principal cities of Europe. That splendid work -- very rich in religious symbols, beautiful in the intertwining of shapes, fascinating in the play of lights and colors -- virtually an immense sculpture in stone, fruit of profound faith, of spiritual sensibility and of the artistic talent of Antoni Gaudí, refers one to the true sanctuary, the place of real worship, Heaven, where Christ entered to stand in the presence of God in our favor (cf. Hebrews 9:24). In that beautiful temple, the brilliant architect was able to represent admirably the mystery of the Church, to which the faithful are incorporated with baptism as living stones for the construction of a spiritual building (cf. 1 Peter 2:5).
The Church of the Holy Family was conceived and planned by Gaudí as a great catechesis on Jesus Christ, as a canticle of praise to the Creator. In that very imposing building, he put his genius at the service of the Beautiful. In fact, the extraordinary expressive and symbolic capacity of the artistic forms and motifs, as well as the innovative architectural and sculptural techniques evoke the supreme Source of every beauty. The famous architect considered this work as a mission in which his whole person was involved. From the moment he accepted the assignment of the construction of that church, his life was marked by a profound change, perceiving the need to prepare himself spiritually to succeed in expressing in the material reality the unfathomable mystery of God. It can be said that, while Gaudí worked on the construction of the temple, God was constructing in him the spiritual building (cf. Ephesians 2:22), reinforcing him in the faith and bringing him ever closer to the intimacy of Christ. Inspiring himself continually in nature, work of the Creator, and dedicating himself passionately to know sacred Scripture and the liturgy, he was able to realize in the heart of the city a building worthy of God and, hence, worthy of man.
In Barcelona, I also visited the work of the "Child God," an initiative from more than 100 years ago, very linked to that archdiocese, where children and young people of different abilities are looked after with professionalism and love. Their lives are precious in the eyes of God and invite us constantly to come out of our egoism. In that house, I participated in the joy and profound and unconditional charity of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts, in the generous work of doctors, educators and so many other professionals and volunteers, who work with praiseworthy dedication in that institution. I also blessed the first stone of a new residence that will be part of this work, where everything speaks of charity, of respect for the person and his dignity, of profound joy, because the human being's value is in what he is, and not just what he does.
While I was in Barcelona, I prayed intensely for families, vital cells and hope of society and of the Church. I also remembered those who suffer, in particular in these moments of serious economic difficulties. I had present, at the same time, young people -- who accompanied me throughout the visit to Santiago and Barcelona with their enthusiasm and joy -- so that they would discover the beauty, the value and commitment of marriage, in which a man and a woman form a family, which with generosity receives life and supports it from its conception until its natural end. All that is done to support marriage and the family, to help the neediest persons, all that enhances the grandeur of man and his inviolable dignity, contributes to the perfecting of society. No effort is vain in this sense.
Dear friends, I thank God for the intense days I spent in Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona. I renew my gratitude to the king and queen of Spain, to the princes of Asturias and to all the authorities. I turn my grateful and affectionate thought once again to the dear brother archbishops of those two particular Churches and to their collaborators, as also to all those who spent themselves generously so that my visit in those two wonderful cities would be fruitful. They were unforgettable days, which will remain impressed in my heart! In particular, the two Eucharistic celebrations, carefully prepared and intensely lived by all the faithful, also through songs taken from the great musical tradition of the Church or from the genius of modern authors, were moments of true interior joy. May God recompense all, as only he knows how; may the Most Holy Mother of God and the Apostle St. James continue to accompany their way with their support. Next year, God willing, I will go to Spain again, to Madrid, for World Youth Day. I entrust henceforth to your prayer this providential initiative, so that it will be an occasion of growth in the faith for so many young people.
[Translation by ZENIT]
[The Holy Father then greeted the people in various languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This past weekend I made an Apostolic Journey to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, two great cities of Spain and Europe. I came as a pilgrim among pilgrims in this Holy Year of Compostela, to venerate the Apostle Saint James the Greater. The traditional practice of embracing the image of the Saint symbolizes our embrace of the Gospel which he preached and the mission which we receive in Baptism to bear daily witness to Christ and to strengthen society by our fidelity to the wisdom and truth of the Gospel. On Sunday, in Barcelona, I dedicated the Church of the Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of the great architect Antoni Gaudi. In this magnificent edifice Gaudi wished to celebrate the eternal source of all beauty, made flesh in Jesus Christ, who calls all humanity to become, in the Church, a temple in which God dwells. Let us pray for all families, that they may fulfil their unique role in society, and for all the people of Spain and Europe, that they may always find in their Christian roots the inspiration to pursue, along the pathways of our time, the historic mission of the Continent in today's world.
I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking visitors present at today's Audience, especially those from England, Denmark, Sweden, Japan and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke Almighty God's blessings of joy and peace.
© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
[The Pope concluded in Italian:]
My thought now goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. In yesterday's liturgy we celebrated the feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, "caput et mater omnium ecclesiarum." Together with it we remembered also the churches in which your communities gather and those that still await to be built in Rome and in the world. Dear young people, sick people and Christian spouses, I exhort you to collaborate with all the People of God and with all men of good will to build up the House of the Lord. Always be "living stones" of the spiritual building that is the Church, walking together in service of the Gospel, in the offer of prayer and in the sharing of charity.
Benedict XVI's Q-and-A En Route to Spain
3 Trips to Nation "Is a Sign of Love"
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, NOV. 7, 2010 - Here is a translation of ZENIT's unofficial transcription of the press conference Benedict XVI participated in with journalists aboard his flight on Saturday to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, posed the questions on behalf of the journalists.
* * *
Father Lombardi: Your Holiness, in the message for the recent congress on shrines that took place, in fact, at Santiago de Compostela, you said that you are living your pontificate with the sentiments of a pilgrim. On your coat of arms there is also the scallop shell of the pilgrim. Would you like to tell us something about your perspective on this pilgrimage, in your personal life too and in your spirituality, and about the thoughts you have as you travel as a pilgrim to Santiago?
Benedict XVI: Hello! I can say that being on a journey is already inscribed in my biography. But this is perhaps something external; nevertheless, it makes me think of the instability of this life, of being on a journey. Of pilgrimages one could say: God is everywhere, there is no need to go to another place, but it is also true that faith, according to its essence, is being a pilgrim.
The Letter to the Hebrews shows [this] in the figure of Abraham, who leaves his land and remains a pilgrim toward the future all of his life, and this Abrahamic movement remains in the act of faith, it is being a pilgrim above all interiorly, but it must also express itself exteriorly. Sometimes, leaving behind the everyday, the world of the useful, of practical goals, leaving it behind only to be truly on the path to transcendence, transcending oneself and the everyday and thus also finding a new freedom, a time of interior rethinking, of identifying oneself, to see the other, God, and in this way it is also always being on a pilgrimage: not only a leaving behind of self but also a traveling together. The pilgrimage reunites, we are going together to the other and thus we both rediscover each other.
Let me just say that the trips taken to Santiago de Compostela are an element in the spiritual formation of the European continent. Making a pilgrimage here constitutes, has constituted the common European identity, and today too this movement is being reborn, these dreams of being in spiritual and physical movement, of this person or that finding himself and thus to find silence, freedom, renewal, and to find God.
Father Lombardi: Thank you, Your Holiness. Now let’s turn our gaze to Barcelona. What meaning can the consecration of a church such as the Sagrada Familia [Holy Family] at the beginning of the 21st century? And is there some specific aspect of the vision of [Antoni] Gaudí that has particularly struck you?
Benedict XVI: In reality, this cathedral is also a sign precisely for our time. There are above all 3 elements that I find in Gaudí’s vision. This synthesis between continuity and the new, tradition and creativity. Gaudí had this courage to insert himself in the great tradition of the cathedrals, to dare -- in his century, with a totally new vision -- once again the reality of the cathedral, the place of meeting between God and man in great solemnity, and this courage to be in the tradition but with a new creativity that renews the tradition and thus show the unity and progress of history; it is a beautiful thing.
Secondly, Gaudí desired this trinomial: the book of nature, the book of Scripture, the book of the liturgy. And precisely today this synthesis is of great importance. In the liturgy the Scripture becomes present, becomes reality today, it is no longer a bit of writing from 2,000 years ago but is celebrated, realized. And in the celebration of Scripture nature speaks, it meets creation and finds its true response, because, as St. Paul says, creation suffers – and instead of being destroyed, despised – awaits the children of God, that is, those who see it in the light of God. And thus this synthesis between the meaning of creation, Scripture and adoration is indeed a very important message for today.
And finally, the third point, this cathedral was born from a devotion typical of the 19th century: St. Joseph, the Holy Family of Nazareth, the mystery of Nazareth, but precisely this devotion of yesterday, one could say, is of very great relevance because of the problem of the family, of the renewal of the family as the basic cell of society – it is today’s big issue and tells us where we can go both in building society and in the unity between faith and life, between religion and society. The family is the fundamental theme that is expressed here, saying that God himself became the child of a family and calls us to build and live family.
Father Lombardi: And continuing along this line, Gaudí and the Sagrada Familia represent, as you said, the binomial of faith and art. How can faith rediscover its place today in the world of art and culture? Is this one of the important themes of your pontificate?
Benedict XVI: Yes. You know that I very much insist on the relationship between faith and reason, that faith, the Christian faith, has its identity only in opening up to reason, and that reason becomes itself if it transcends itself toward faith.
But the relationship between faith and art is in the same way important, because truth -- the goal and life of reason -- is expressed in beauty and becomes itself in beauty, it finds itself as beauty. And so where there is truth beauty must be born, where man realizes himself in the way that is proper and good, he expresses himself in beauty. The relationship between truth and beauty cannot be broken and this is why we need beauty.
In the Church at the beginning, even in the very modest and impoverished time of the persecutions, art, painting, the expressing of God’s salvation in images of the world, song, and then also in architecture, all of this is constitutive for the Church and always remains constitutive. Thus the Church was mother of the arts for centuries and centuries, the great treasury of art – music, architecture, painting – was born in the Church from faith.
Today there is a certain dissent, but this harms both art and faith: art that loses its root in transcendence, that no longer moves toward God, would be an art that is incomplete (“dimezzata”), would lose its vital root; and a faith whose art is only from the past, would no longer be a faith that is in the present. Thus, the dialogue or meeting, I would say, between art and faith is inscribed in the deepest essence of the faith; we must do all we can even today for faith to express itself in authentic art, like Gaudí in continuity and newness, and for art so that it does not lose contact with faith.
Father Lombardi: The new dicastery for the new evangelization is being launched in these months. And many have asked whether, in fact, Spain, with the developments of secularization and the rapid diminishment of religious practice, is a country about which you thought of as being an objective for the new dicastery, or whether it is not really the principal objective…
Benedict XVI: With this dicastery I thought per se of the whole world because the newness of thought, the difficulty of thinking in the terms of Scripture, of theology, is universal, but naturally there is a center and this is the Western world with its secularism, its laicism, and the continuity of faith that must try to renew itself to be faith today and to respond to the challenge of atheism.
In the West all the major countries have their own way of manifesting this problem: we traveled, for example, to France, to the Czech Republic, to the United Kingdom, where this same problem is present everywhere in way that is specific to this nation, to this history, and this is also true in a very real way for Spain.
Spain has always been, on the one hand, a foundational country for the faith. We think of the rebirth of Catholicism in the modern epoch that occurred above all thanks to Spain [with] such figures as St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John [of the Cross]; they are figures who finally renews Catholicism and formed the physiognomy of modern Catholicism.
But it is equally true that in Spain a laicism was born, an anti-clericalism, a strong and aggressive secularism, as we saw precisely in the 1930s, and this dispute, more, this conflict between faith and modernity, both very lively, occurs today too in Spain: thus for the future of faith and the engagement -- not the conflict! -- but the engagement between faith and laicism, has a central point even precisely in Spanish culture. In this sense I thought precisely of all the great countries of the West but above all also of Spain.
Father Lombardi: With the trip to Madrid next year for World Youth Day, you will have made three trips to Spain, something that has not happened for any other country. Why this privilege? Is it a sign of love or of special worry?
Benedict XVI: Naturally it is a sign of love. You could say that it is by chance that I will have gone to Spain three times. The first was the great international meeting of families in Valencia: How can the Pope be absent if the families of the world meet? Next year World Youth Day, the meeting of the youth of the world in Madrid, and the Pope cannot be absent on this occasion. And finally we have the holy year of St. James, we have the consecration after more than 100 years of work of the cathedral of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, how can the Pope not come? So, the occasions themselves are challenges, almost a necessity to go, but just the fact that precisely in Spain so many events are focused, really shows that it is country full of dynamism, full of the power of faith, and faith responds to challenges that are equally present in Spain: this is why we say that chance brought me here, but this chance demonstrates a deeper reality, the power of faith and the power of challenge for faith.
Father Lombardi: Thank you, Your Holiness. And now if you would like to say something further to conclude this meeting of ours, is there some special message that you hope to give to Spain to the world today on this trip?
Benedict XVI: I would say that this trip has 2 themes. It has the theme of pilgrimage, of being on the journey, and it has the theme of beauty, of the expression of truth in beauty, of the continuity between tradition and renewal. I think that these 2 themes of the trip are also a message: be on the journey, do not lose the journey of faith, seek the beauty of faith, the newness and tradition of the faith that knows how to express itself and knows how to engage with modern beauty, with the world of today. Thank you.
Benedict XVI Arrives In Spain As a Pilgrim
Urges Nation to Build Future on Freedom, Justice
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, NOV. 6, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI embarked on his brief two-day visit to Spain this weekend with an appeal to the country to build its present and future on the foundations of freedom, justice, and the "authentic truth" of the person.
The Pope arrived today to the International Airport of Santiago de Compostela, where he was greeted by, among others, the prince of Asturias, Felipe, son of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sophía; and the princess of Asturias, the prince's wife, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
In his address at the welcoming ceremony, the Holy Father encouraged both Spain and Europe to "build their present and to project their future on the basis of the authentic truth about man, on the basis of the freedom, which respects this truth and never harms it, and on the basis of justice for all, beginning with the poorest and the most defenseless."
He also made an appeal for "a Spain and a Europe concerned not only with people’s material needs but also with their moral and social, spiritual and religious needs," noting that these are the "genuine requirements of our common humanity."
The Holy Father made reference to Spain's past, which he said has "given the world a constellation of great saints, founders and poets, like Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross, Francis Xavier, among many others."
Benedict XVI said he is visiting Santiago de Compostela "as a pilgrim" and to confirm the faithful in their faith.
"In his deepest being," the Pope reflected, "man is always on a journey, ever in search of truth. The Church shares this profound human desire and herself sets out, accompanying humanity in its yearning for complete fulfillment."
The Pontiff said that the Church is also on a journey, which, "through faith, hope and love, leads her to become a transparent sign of Christ for the world. This is her mission and her path: to be among men and women an ever greater presence of Christ."
"For this reason, I too have journeyed here, to confirm my brothers and sisters in the faith," he affirmed.
Benedict XVI's visit takes place on the occasion of the 2010 "Jacobeo" Holy Year, which is under way through to the end of the year. The feast day of the Apostle James the Greater (in Spanish, Santiago) is July 25, and a holy year is celebrated each year that the feast falls on a Sunday, which happens 14 times every century.
The apostle is the patron of Spain, and tradition holds that his tomb is located in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Since the 10th and 11th centuries, the cathedral has been the destination of the historic and popular pilgrimage route El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The Way of St. James).
"I wish to join the great host of men and women who down the centuries have come to Compostela from every corner of this peninsula, from throughout Europe and indeed the whole world, in order to kneel at the feet of St. James and be transformed by the witness of his faith," Benedict XVI stated.
Benedict XVI will travel in the evening to Barcelona, and on Sunday he will consecrate the Church of the Holy Family (Sagrada Familia), and proclaim it a basilica.
The Pope said upon his arrival to Spain that he will travel to Barcelona "as a herald and witness of the Gospel [...] in order to nourish the faith of its welcoming and dynamic people."
He described the faith of Barcelona as "a faith sown already at the dawn of Christianity, one which blossomed and grew in the warmth of countless examples of holiness, giving rise to countless institutions of beneficence, culture and education."
It is a faith, he continued, "which inspired the gifted architect Antoni Gaudí to undertake in that city, with the fervor and cooperation of many people, that marvel which is the church of the Sagrada Familia. It will fall happily to me to dedicate that church, which reflects all the grandeur of the human spirit in its openness to God."
Benedict XVI added a greeting in Galician, the local dialect of the region, in which he reiterated his "affection and closeness to the beloved sons and daughters of Galicia, Catalonia and the other peoples of Spain."
"In commending my stay among you to the intercession of the Apostle St. James, I ask God to bestow his blessings on all of you," he added.
Path of dialogue
Prince Felipe, who greeted Benedict XVI on behalf of the king and queen of Spain, Juan Carlos I and Sophía, recalled the importance of Pope John Paul II's visits to the pilgrimage destination, which he visited first in 1982, and then again in 1989 when the city hosted World Youth Day.
"Since these dates, there has been a true explosion in the number of pilgrims and travelers that arrive to Compostela," the prince said. "They come from all parts of Spain, and from the rest of Europe and Latin America. And they are also coming increasingly from the rest of the world, from the rest of the continents, aware of the projection and universal dimension of the 'Way'."
The prince said the Way of St. James is also a "'Way' of encounter and of dialogue, so linked to our history and culture, which has passed through and united Europe for centuries."
The prince also expressed Spain's commitment to work with Benedict XVI for "peace, liberty and the dignity of the human person."
Pontiff's Address at Tomb of St. James
"The Church ... Stands at the Service of Both Truth and Freedom"
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, NOV. 6, 2010 - Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today upon visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, on the first day of his two-day trip to Spain.
* * *
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Priests, Seminarians and Religious,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank Archbishop Xulián Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela for his kind words. I am happy to greet all of you with affection in the Lord and with gratitude for your presence in this highly significant place.
To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe. Above all, Christians go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the places associated with the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. They go to Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, and also to Compostela, which, associated with the memory of Saint James, has welcomed pilgrims from throughout the world who desire to strengthen their spirit with the Apostle’s witness of faith and love.
In this Holy Year of Compostela, I too, as the Successor of Peter, wished to come in pilgrimage to the "House of Saint James", as it prepares to celebrate the eight-hundredth anniversary of its consecration. I have come to confirm your faith, to stir up your hope and to entrust to the Apostle’s intercession your aspirations, struggles and labours in the service of the Gospel. As I embraced the venerable statue of the Saint, I also prayed for all the children of the Church, which has her origin in the mystery of the communion that is God. Through faith we are introduced to the mystery of love that is the Most Holy Trinity. We are in some sense embraced by God, transformed by his love. The Church is this embrace of God, in which men and women learn also to embrace their brothers and sisters and to discover in them the divine image and likeness which constitutes the deepest truth of their existence, and which is the origin of genuine freedom.
Truth and freedom are closely and necessarily related. Honestly seeking and aspiring to truth is the condition of authentic freedom. One cannot live without the other. The Church, which desires to serve unreservedly the human person and his dignity, stands at the service of both truth and freedom. She cannot renounce either, because what is at stake is man himself, because she is moved by love for man, "the only creature on earth which God has wanted for its own sake" (Gaudium et Spes, 24), and because without this aspiration for truth, justice and freedom, man would lose his very self.
From Compostela, the spiritual heart of Galicia and at the same time a school of unbounded universality, allow me to exhort all the faithful of this beloved Archdiocese, and those of the Church in Spain, to live their lives enlightened by the truth of Christ, confessing the faith with joy, consistency and simplicity, at home, at work and in their commitment as citizens.
May the joy of knowing that you are God’s beloved children bring you to an ever deeper love for the Church and to cooperate with her in her work of leading all men and women to Christ. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that many young people will devote themselves to this mission in the priestly ministry and in the consecrated life: today, it is as worthwhile as ever to dedicate one’s whole life to the proclamation of the newness of the Gospel.
I cannot conclude without first expressing my appreciation and gratitude to the Catholics of Spain for the generosity with which they support so many institutions of charity and of human development. Continue to maintain these works which benefit society as a whole, and whose effectiveness has been shown in a special way in the present economic crisis, as well as when grave natural disasters have affected certain countries.
With these sentiments, I ask Almighty God to grant all of you the boldness which Saint James showed in bearing witness to the Risen Christ. In this way, may you remain faithful in the ways of holiness and spend yourselves for the glory of God and the good of our brothers and sisters in greatest need. Thank you.
© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Pope's Address at Welcoming Ceremony in Spain
"Man Is Always on a Journey, Ever in Search of Truth"
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, NOV. 6, 2010 - Here is the address Benedict XVI gave today at the International Airport of Santiago de Compostela at the beginning of his two-day trip to Spain. He was greeted by, among others, the prince of Asturias, Felipe, son of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sophía; and the princess of Asturias, the prince's wife, Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.
* * *
Your Royal Highnesses,
Distinguished national, regional and local authorities,
Your Grace the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela,
Your Eminence the President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference,
Your Eminences and Excellencies,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank Your Highness for the respectful words which you have addressed to me in the name of all, words which are a touching echo of the sentiments of affection for the Successor of Peter which mark the sons and daughters of these noble lands.
I cordially greet those present and all who join us through the means of social communication, and I express my gratitude as well to all those who have worked generously, on the part of the Church and civil society, to make this brief yet intense Journey to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona as fruitful as possible.
In his deepest being, man is always on a journey, ever in search of truth. The Church shares this profound human desire and herself sets out, accompanying humanity in its yearning for complete fulfilment. At the same time, the Church pursues her own interior journey which, through faith, hope and love, leads her to become a transparent sign of Christ for the world. This is her mission and her path: to be among men and women an ever greater presence of Christ "whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (1 Cor 1:30). For this reason, I too have journeyed here, to confirm my brothers and sisters in the faith (cf. Lk 22:32).
I have come as a pilgrim in this Holy Year of Compostela and I bring in my heart the same love of Christ which led the Apostle Paul to embark upon his journeys, with a desire also to come to Spain (cf. Rom 15: 22-29). I wish to join the great host of men and women who down the centuries have come to Compostela from every corner of this peninsula, from throughout Europe and indeed the whole world, in order to kneel at the feet of Saint James and be transformed by the witness of his faith. They, at every step and filled with hope, created a pathway of culture, prayer, mercy and conversion, which took shape in churches and hospitals, in inns, bridges and monasteries. In this way, Spain and Europe developed a spiritual physiognomy marked indelibly by the Gospel.
Precisely as a herald and witness of the Gospel, I am also going to Barcelona, in order to nourish the faith of its welcoming and dynamic people. A faith sown already at the dawn of Christianity, one which blossomed and grew in the warmth of countless examples of holiness, giving rise to countless institutions of beneficence, culture and education. A faith which inspired the gifted architect Antoni Gaudí to undertake in that city, with the fervour and cooperation of many people, that marvel which is the church of the Sagrada Familia. It will fall happily to me to dedicate that church, which reflects all the grandeur of the human spirit in its openness to God.
I am very pleased to be once again in Spain, which has given the world a constellation of great saints, founders and poets, like Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross, Francis Xavier, among many others; in the twentieth century it raised up new institutions, groups and communities of Christian life and apostolic activity and, in recent decades, it has advanced in harmony and unity, in freedom and peace, looking to the future with hope and responsibility. Moved by her rich patrimony of human and spiritual values, she seeks likewise to progress amid difficulties and to offer her solidarity to the international community.
These contributions and initiatives which have distinguished your long past, as well as the present, together with the significance of the two beautiful places I will visit on this occasion, lead me to look also to all the peoples of Spain and Europe. Like the Servant of God John Paul II, who from Compostela exhorted the old Continent to give a new impulse to its Christian roots, I too wish to encourage Spain and Europe to build their present and to project their future on the basis of the authentic truth about man, on the basis of the freedom which respects this truth and never harms it, and on the basis of justice for all, beginning with the poorest and the most defenceless. A Spain and a Europe concerned not only with people’s material needs but also with their moral and social, spiritual and religious needs, since all these are genuine requirements of our common humanity and only in this way can work be done effectively, integrally and fruitfully for man’s good.
Dear friends, I renew my thanks for your kind welcome and for your presence at this airport. I renew my affection and closeness to the beloved sons and daughters of Galicia, Catalonia and the other peoples of Spain. In commending my stay among you to the intercession of the Apostle Saint James, I ask God to bestow his blessings on all of you. Thank you very much.
© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela's Address to Pope
"Bring Us Words of Life, Which Will Renew Our Hope As Pilgrims"
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, NOV. 6, 2010 - Here is the address Archbishop Julián Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela delivered today at the Mass presided over by Benedict XVI in the Plaza del Obradoiro.
* * *
Welcome, Holy Father, to this Compostelan Archbishopric, to this city of
Santiago, to Galicia, to Spain! The echo of the voice of James the Apostle
continues to resound among us. And multitudes of pilgrims continue to arrive at this church of Santiago de Compostela, which, given its immemorial bonds with the Protomartyr Apostle, deepens its roots in the Gospel of Christ and keeps his memory alive. [These initial lines are pronounced in Galician]
Your Holiness, thanks to God the wish to have you among us has come true. Here we receive you at dusk like the disciples of Emmaus received the Lord, since those who the truth accompanies in their walk cannot be oblivious to charity. Many thanks for having come. I am sure that I can speak in the names of the whole Archbishopric, of the Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and priests; of the members of the religious orders and of the laity from sister dioceses, of their Royal Highnesses and of the national, regional and municipal authorities, when I manifest our happiness to receive you. There is a phrase in ancient Galician literature, which describes the fond expectation for someone special. It goes: "I am attending to my Friend." So thrilled we awaited your arrival.
When we knew you were coming, we found ourselves worshipping God more calmly, in the knowledge that the Successor of Peter would bring us words of life, which will renew our hope as pilgrims on our way to glory. As "Pilgrim of Faith and Witness of the Risen Christ," you join, Holy Father, so many other pilgrims who this year have participated in the Jubilee graces, remembering the apostolic Tradition and procuring spiritual goods.
Here the Way of Saint James arrives, or the ways, in which "new horizons may be contemplated, which make one ponder about the narrowness of one's own existence and about the immensity which the human being has within oneself and outside oneself, preparing him to go in search of what his heart really longs for." A pilgrim always goes back to his roots. Maybe this is why the network of the different ways to Santiago on a map resembles a huge root. And along the way there arise necessary questions, which look for clarifying answers.
Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago … Routes for the spirit of the human being, who rebels against disappearing under the suffocation of materialism. Ways to think and discover why we come to this world. Paths opened by the footsteps of God, giving an answer to the question of why we are not fully happy in our earthly pilgrimage in spite of having tried so many times.
This side of the way of Saint James we need the revitalization of our faith; the ardor and the courage of a new evangelization to announce Christ in fidelity and with pastoral creativity; the strength to continue our pilgrimage; conversion because there are wounds to heal; the profoundness that will rescue us from a dull and anesthetized superficiality which distracts us and makes us forget that the Church in its prophetic mission bears the seal of martyrdom, in order to be a witness of Christ, crucified and resurrected.
Holy Father, we would like to make your agenda go further among us in this beloved land, so welcoming and hospitable, which was once called Finisterre ["land's end"]. In any case we accompany you with our filial affection and support, which spring from our loyalty and gratitude. We love you and we know you love us. We walk with Your Holiness and we know you walk with us. When you go out to labor in the seas of the world in Peter's boat, remember that another small boat will be very close: that of Santiago, attentive to any signal that Peter's boat may send so as to help him as the Gospels tell us.
We want to throw our nets in the name of the Lord like the Twelve did, experiencing once again the astonishment of the results. This afternoon, in union with the successor of Peter, this local Church proclaims that Jesus is the Lord, living synthesis of all our vision of faith, who gives meaning to our life and illuminates our death.
On the Cross, Jesus gave us Mary as mother, whom the beloved disciple, John, welcomed in his house. In the Pilar of Zaragoza, the Apostle Santiago, his brother, was able to confirm in his apostolic anguish and suffering the maternal closeness of the Mother of Jesus. She as a pilgrim always at our side.
Holy Father, when I manifest feelings of profound joy to receive you in Santiago de Compostela, I offer you this House of the Friend of the Lord and in the name of everyone, like the disciples of Emmaus told the Lord, I tell you: "Stay with us, the table is ready," we want to pray with your Holiness, listen to Your word with faith, in order to loyally follow the guidelines that you may want to give us and we prepare ourselves to participate at the Table of the Eucharist, "bread of the pilgrim people," to continue our pilgrimage toward the saints reflected in the Portico of Glory, where we can discover how heaven is anticipated on earth, eternity in history, with everything tending toward what is to come in hope. With all our hearts, we say to you: Many thanks, Your Holiness! [these last lines are pronounced in Galician]
+Julián Barrio Barrio
Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela
Papal Homily at Mass for Compostela Holy Year
"Europe Must Open Itself to God, Must Come to Meet Him Without Fear"
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, NOV. 6, 2010 - Here is the homily delivered today by Benedict XVI on the occasion of the Compostelian Jubilee Year. The Mass took place in the Plaza del Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela.
* * *
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,
I give thanks to God for the gift of being here in this splendid square filled with artistic, cultural and spiritual significance. During this Holy Year, I come among you as a pilgrim among pilgrims, in the company of all those who come here thirsting for faith in the Risen Christ, a faith proclaimed and transmitted with fidelity by the apostles, among whom was James the Great, who has been venerated at Compostela from time immemorial.
I extend my gratitude to the Most Reverend Julián Barrio Barrio, Archbishop of this local church, for his words of welcome, to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Asturias for the kind presence, and likewise to the Cardinals and to my many Brother Bishops and priests here today. My greeting also goes to members of the Camino de Santiago group of the European Parliament, as well as to the national, regional and local authorities who are attending this celebration. This is eloquent of respect for the Successor of Peter and also of the profound emotion that Saint James of Compostela awakens in Galicia and in the other peoples of Spain, which recognizes the Apostle as its patron and protector. I also extend warm greetings to the consecrated persons, seminarians and lay faithful who take part in this Eucharistic celebration, and in a very special way I greet the pilgrims who carry on the genuine spirit of Saint James, without which little or nothing can be understood of what takes place here.
With admirable simplicity, the first reading states: "The apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord with great power" (Acts 4:33). Indeed, at the beginning of all that Christianity has been and still is, we are confronted not with a human deed or project, but with God, who declares Jesus to be just and holy in the face of the sentence of a human tribunal that condemned him as a blasphemer and a subversive; God who rescued Jesus from death; God who will do justice to all who have been unjustly treated in history.
The apostles proclaim: "We are witnesses to these things and so is the Holy Spirit whom God gives to those who are obedient to him" (Acts 5:32). Thus they gave witness to the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, whom they knew as he preached and worked miracles. Brothers and sisters, today we are called to follow the example of the apostles, coming to know the Lord better day by day and bearing clear and valiant witness to his Gospel. We have no greater treasure to offer to our contemporaries. In this way, we will imitate Saint Paul who, in the midst of so many tribulations, setbacks and solitude, joyfully exclaimed: "We have this treasure in earthenware vessels, to show that such transcendent power does not come from us" (2 Cor 4:7).
Beside these words of the Apostle of the Gentiles stand those of the Gospel that we have just heard; they invite us to draw life from the humility of Christ who, following in every way the will of his Father, came to serve, "to give his life in ransom for many" (Mt 20:28). For those disciples who seek to follow and imitate Christ, service of neighbour is no mere option but an essential part of their being. It is a service that is not measured by worldly standards of what is immediate, material or apparent, but one that makes present the love of God to all in every way and bears witness to him even in the simplest of actions. Proposing this new way of dealing with one another within the community, based on the logic of love and service, Jesus also addresses "the rulers of the nations" since, where self-giving to others is lacking, there arise forms of arrogance and exploitation that leave no room for an authentic integral human promotion. I would like this message to reach all young people: this core content of the Gospel shows you in particular the path by which, in renouncing a selfish and short-sighted way of thinking so common today, and taking on instead Jesus’ own way of thinking, you may attain fulfilment and become a seed of hope.
The celebration of this Holy Year of Compostela also brings this to mind. This is what, in the secret of their heart, knowing it explicitly or sensing it without being able to express it, so many pilgrims experience as they walk the way to Santiago de Compostela to embrace the Apostle. The fatigue of the journey, the variety of landscapes, their encounter with peoples of other nationalities - all of this opens their heart to what is the deepest and most common bond that unites us as human beings: we are in quest, we need truth and beauty, we need an experience of grace, charity, peace, forgiveness and redemption. And in the depth of each of us there resounds the presence of God and the working of the Holy Spirit. Yes, to everyone who seeks inner silence, who keeps passions, desires and immediate occupations at a distance, to the one who prays, God grants the light to find him and to acknowledge Christ. Deep down, all those who come on pilgrimage to Santiago do so in order to encounter God who, reflected in the majesty of Christ, welcomes and blesses them as they reach the Pórtico de la Gloria.
From this place, as a messenger of the Gospel sealed by the blood of Peter and James, I raise my eyes to the Europe that came in pilgrimage to Compostela. What are its great needs, fears and hopes? What is the specific and fundamental contribution of the Church to that Europe which for half a century has been moving towards new forms and projects? Her contribution is centred on a simple and decisive reality: God exists and he has given us life. He alone is absolute, faithful and unfailing love, that infinite goal that is glimpsed behind the good, the true and the beautiful things of this world, admirable indeed, but insufficient for the human heart. Saint Teresa of Jesus understood this when she wrote: "God alone suffices".
Tragically, above all in nineteenth century Europe, the conviction grew that God is somehow man’s antagonist and an enemy of his freedom. As a result, there was an attempt to obscure the true biblical faith in the God who sent into the world his Son Jesus Christ, so that no one should perish but that all might have eternal life (cf. Jn 3:16).
The author of the Book of Wisdom, faced with a paganism in which God envied or despised humans, puts it clearly: how could God have created all things if he did not love them, he who in his infinite fullness, has need of nothing (cf. Wis 11:24-26)? Why would he have revealed himself to human beings if he did not wish to take care of them? God is the origin of our being and the foundation and apex of our freedom, not its opponent. How can mortal man build a firm foundation and how can the sinner be reconciled with himself? How can it be that there is public silence with regard to the first and essential reality of human life? How can what is most decisive in life be confined to the purely private sphere or banished to the shadows? We cannot live in darkness, without seeing the light of the sun. How is it then that God, who is the light of every mind, the power of every will and the magnet of every heart, be denied the right to propose the light that dissipates all darkness? This is why we need to hear God once again under the skies of Europe; may this holy word not be spoken in vain, and may it not be put at the service of purposes other than its own. It needs to be spoken in a holy way. And we must hear it in this way in ordinary life, in the silence of work, in brotherly love and in the difficulties that years bring on.
Europe must open itself to God, must come to meet him without fear, and work with his grace for that human dignity which was discerned by her best traditions: not only the biblical, at the basis of this order, but also the classical, the medieval and the modern, the matrix from which the great philosophical, literary, cultural and social masterpieces of Europe were born.
This God and this man were concretely and historically manifested in Christ. It is this Christ whom we can find all along the way to Compostela for, at every juncture, there is a cross which welcomes and points the way. The cross, which is the supreme sign of love brought to its extreme and hence both gift and pardon, must be our guiding star in the night of time. The cross and love, the cross and light have been synonymous in our history because Christ allowed himself to hang there in order to give us the supreme witness of his love, to invite us to forgiveness and reconciliation, to teach us how to overcome evil with good. So do not fail to learn the lessons of that Christ whom we encounter at the crossroads of our journey and our whole life, in whom God comes forth to meet us as our friend, father and guide. Blessed Cross, shine always upon the lands of Europe!
Allow me here to point out the glory of man, and to indicate the threats to his dignity resulting from the privation of his essential values and richness, and the marginalization and death visited upon the weakest and the poorest. One cannot worship God without taking care of his sons and daughters; and man cannot be served without asking who his Father is and answering the question about him. The Europe of science and technology, the Europe of civilization and culture, must be at the same time a Europe open to transcendence and fraternity with other continents, and open to the living and true God, starting with the living and true man. This is what the Church wishes to contribute to Europe: to be watchful for God and for man, based on the understanding of both which is offered to us in Jesus Christ.
Dear friends, let us raise our eyes in hope to all that God has promised and offers us. May he give us his strength; may he reinvigorate the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela; may he renew the faith of his sons and daughters and assist them in fidelity to their vocation to sow and strengthen the Gospel, at home and abroad.
May Saint James, the companion of the Lord, obtain abundant blessings for Galicia and the other peoples of Spain, elsewhere in Europe and overseas, wherever the Apostle is a sign of Christian identity and a promoter of the proclamation of Christ.
© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
On the Sagrada Familia
"A Hymn of Praise to God Carved in Stone"
BARCELONA, Spain, NOV. 7 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered at the Church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family). The Pope consecrated the altar of the church, and designated it a basilica.
* * *
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Yesterday, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, there took place the celebration of the Beatification of the Servant of God, Maria Barbara of the Most Holy Trinity, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May the deep faith and fervent charity with which she followed Christ awaken in many the desire to devote their lives completely to the greater glory of God and the generous service of their brothers and sisters, especially the poorest and the most needy.
Today I had the great joy of dedicating this church to him who, being the Son of the Most High, emptied himself and became man, and who, under the watchful care of Joseph and Mary, in the silence of the home of Nazareth, taught us without words of the dignity and the primordial value of marriage and the family, the hope of humanity, in which life finds its welcome from conception to natural death. He has taught us also that the entire Church, by hearing and putting his word into practice, becomes his family. And he has exhorted us to be a seed of fraternity which, sown in every heart, nourishes hope.
Filled with devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth, a devotion spread among the Catalan people by St. Joseph Manyanet, the genius of Antoni Gaudí, inspired by the ardour of his Christian faith, succeeded in raising this sanctuary as a hymn of praise to God carved in stone. A praise of God which, as with the birth of Christ, has had as its protagonists the most humble and simple of people. In effect, Gaudí, through his work, sought to bring the Gospel to everyone. For this reason, he conceived of the three porticos of the exterior of the church as a catechesis on the life of Jesus Christ, as a great Rosary, which is the prayer of ordinary people, a prayer in which are contemplated the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of our Lord.
In collaboration with the parish priest Gil Parés, he also designed and financed from his own savings the creation of a school for the children of the workers and of the poorest families of the neighbourhood, which was at that time a outlying suburb of Barcelona. He brought concrete reality to the conviction, saying: "The poor must always find a welcome in the Church, which is an expression of Christian charity."
This morning I also had the satisfaction of declaring this church a minor basilica. In it, men and women of every continent can contemplate the façade of the Nativity. In prayer, let us now consider the mystery of the Incarnation and lift up our prayer to the Mother of God with the words of the Angel, as we entrust our lives and the life of the entire Church to her, while imploring the gift of peace for each and every person of good will.
© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Pope's Address at End of 2-Day Spain Trip
"I ... Came to Strengthen My Brothers and Sisters in the Faith"
BARCELONA, Spain, NOV. 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today at the departing ceremony held at the Barcelona International Airport, which marked the end of the Pope's two-day trip to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona.
* * *
Your Eminences the Archbishop of Barcelona and the Cardinal President of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference,
Your Eminences and Your Excellencies,
Dear Prime Minister,
Distinguished National Regional and Local authorities,
Dear Brother and Sisters,
Thank you very much. I wish to convey in these brief words my deep sentiments of gratitude at the conclusion of my visit to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona. I thank Your Majesties for coming here today. I am grateful to Your Majesty for your gracious words in which you expressed the affection of this noble people to the Successor of Peter. I also wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to the authorities present, to the Archbishops of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, to the Spanish Bishops and to all those who, without counting the cost, have helped to bring this journey to a happy conclusion. I am grateful for the many constant and touching gestures of attention offered in these days to the Pope, clear signs of the openness and hospitality characteristic of the people of these lands so dear to my heart.
At Compostela, as a pilgrim, I joined the many people from Spain and Europe and elsewhere who come to the tomb of the apostle to fortify their faith and to receive forgiveness and peace. As Peter’s Successor I also came to strengthen my brothers and sisters in the faith that at the very dawn of Christianity came to these lands and took such deep root that it has constantly shaped the spirit, customs, art and character of its peoples. The preservation of this rich spiritual patrimony demonstrates the love of your country for its history and culture, yet it is also a privileged way of transmitting to younger generations those fundamental values so necessary for building up a common future of harmony and solidarity.
The paths that cross Europe on the way to Santiago differed greatly, each marked by its own language and its particular characteristics, but the faith was the same. There was a common language, the Gospel of Christ. In any place pilgrims could feel at home. Beyond national differences, they knew that they were members of one great family to which the other pilgrims and people along the way also belonged. May this faith find new vigour on this continent and become a source of inspiration. May it give rise to an attitude of solidarity towards all, especially towards those communities and nations in greater need.
Here in Barcelona, I have had the immense joy of consecrating the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, which Gaudí conceived as a monument of praise in stone to God. I also visited an important charitable institution of the Church. They stand in today’s Barcelona as two symbols of the fruitfulness of that faith which has marked this people deeply and which, through charity and the mystery of God’s beauty, contributes to the creation of a society more worthy of man. Truly, beauty, holiness and the love of God enable people to live with hope in this world.
I return to Rome after visiting only two places in this beautiful country. Nevertheless, in my thoughts and prayers, I have wished to embrace all Spaniards without exception and all those born elsewhere but now living here. I hold all of you in my heart and I pray for you, especially for those who suffer. I place you under the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, so greatly venerated and invoked in Galicia, Catalonia and throughout Spain. I ask her to obtain for you from Almighty God abundant heavenly gifts, that you may live as one family, guided by the light of faith. I bless you in the name of the Lord. With his help, we will meet again next year in Madrid, to celebrate World Youth Day. Adios!
© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Holy Father's Words at Charity "Nen Deu"
"Every Man and Woman Is a True Sanctuary of God"
BARCELONA, Spain, NOV. 7, 2010 - Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today upon visiting the "Obra Benefico-Social Nen Deu" (social charity God-Child) in Barcelona.
* * *
Dear Brother Bishops,
Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious Men and Women,
I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet all those who represent what has been for more than a century the Obra Benéfico-Social del Nen Déu. I thank the Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, Sister Rosario, Superior of this community, young Antonio and María del Mar who spoke, as well as the children who have sung so marvellously. All of you have given me a beautiful welcome.
I also thank those present, in particular the Patrons of the Obra, the Mother General and the Franciscan Religious of the Sacred Heart, the children, the youth and adults of this institution, their parents and relatives, as well as the professionals and volunteers who carry out praiseworthy work in this place.
I would also like to express my appreciation to the authorities, and I invite them to increase their efforts to provide adequate social services and assistance to the most needy. I also thank those who, with their generous support, build up and sustain private welfare institutions, such as this Special Education School of Nen Déu. At a time when many households are faced with serious economic difficulties, the followers of Christ must multiply concrete gestures of effective and constant solidarity, showing in this way that charity is the hallmark of our Christian life.
The dedication of the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia this morning has highlighted that churches are the sign of the true sanctuary of God among men. Here, I would like to emphasize how, through the efforts of this and similar church institutions, including the new Residence which you have wished to name after the Pope, it is clear that, for the Christian, every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in need. In this way, the Church desires to put into practice the words of the Lord in the Gospel, “I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). In this land, these words of Christ have motivated many sons and daughters of the Church to dedicate their lives to teaching, to works of assistance and the care of the sick and the disabled. Inspired by their example, I ask you to continue to provide loving care to the smallest and the most needy, giving them the very best of yourselves.
In recent decades, remarkable advances in medicine have greatly contributed to the care of those in greatest need, advances which have been accompanied by a growing conviction of the importance of dedicated and humane treatment for the positive outcome of the healing process. Therefore, it is indispensable that new technological developments in the field of medicine never be to the detriment of respect for human life and dignity, so that those who suffer physical illnesses or handicaps can always receive that love and attention required to make them feel valued as persons in their concrete needs.
I now turn to you, dear children and young people, giving thanks to God for your lives, so precious in his eyes, and I assure you that you have a special place in the Pope’s heart. I pray for you every day and I ask you to help me by means of your prayers so that I may faithfully fulfil the mission entrusted to me by Christ. I always remember in my prayers those who are dedicated to helping the suffering, and those who work tirelessly so that the handicapped can take their rightful place in society and not be marginalized because of their limitations. In this respect, I wish to recognize, in a special way, the faithful witness of priests and those who visit the sick at home, in hospitals or in other specialized institutions. They incarnate that important ministry of consolation in the face of human frailty, which the Church seeks to carry out in imitation of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:29-37).
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Mercy and of Blessed Mother Carmen of the Child Jesus, may God bless all those who make up the great family of this splendid Obra, as well as your loved ones and those who collaborate in the work of this institution and those similar to it. As a pledge of this, I cordially impart to all my Apostolic Blessing.
© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Pontiff's Homily at Gaudí's Holy Family Church
"Beauty ... Calls Us to Freedom and Draws Us Away From Selfishness"
BARCELONA, Spain, NOV. 7, 2010 - Here is the homily Benedict XVI delivered today at the dedication Mass of the Church of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family), which took place today in Barcelona. The Pope also designated the church a basilica.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
"This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep. … The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh 8:9-11). With these words from the first reading that we have proclaimed, I wish to greet all of you taking part in this celebration. I extend an affectionate greeting to their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain who have graciously wished to be with us. I extend a thankful greeting to Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, Archbishop of Barcelona, for his words of welcome and for his invitation to me to dedicate this Church of the Sagrada Familia, a magnificent achievement of engineering, art and faith. I also greet Cardinal Ricardo María Carles Gordó, Archbishop Emeritus of Barcelona, the other Cardinals present and my brother bishops, especially the auxiliary bishop of this local church, and the many priests, deacons, seminarians, religious men and women, and lay faithful taking part in this solemn ceremony. I also extend a respectful greeting to the national, regional and local authorities present, as well as to the members of other Christian communities, who share in our joy and our grateful praise of God.
Today marks an important step in a long history of hope, work and generosity that has gone on for more than a century. At this time I would like to mention each and every one of those who have made possible the joy that fills us today, from the promoters to the executors of this work, the architects and the workers, all who in one way or another have given their priceless contribution to the building of this edifice. We remember of course the man who was the soul and the artisan of this project, Antoni Gaudí, a creative architect and a practising Christian who kept the torch of his faith alight to the end of his life, a life lived in dignity and absolute austerity. This event is also in a certain sense the high point of the history of this land of Catalonia which, especially since the end of the nineteenth century, has given an abundance of saints and founders, martyrs and Christian poets. It is a history of holiness, artistic and poetic creation, born from the faith, which we gather and present to God today as an offering in this Eucharist.
The joy which I feel at presiding at this ceremony became all the greater when I learned that this shrine, since its beginnings, has had a special relationship with Saint Joseph. I have been moved above all by Gaudí's confidence when, in the face of many difficulties, filled with trust in divine Providence, he would exclaim, "Saint Joseph will finish this church". So it is significant that it is also being dedicated by a Pope whose baptismal name is Joseph.
What do we do when we dedicate this church? In the heart of the world, placed before God and mankind, with a humble and joyful act of faith, we raise up this massive material structure, fruit of nature and an immense achievement of human intelligence which gave birth to this work of art. It stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the One who is Light, Height and Beauty itself.
In this place, Gaudí desired to unify that inspiration which came to him from the three books which nourished him as a man, as a believer and as an architect: the book of nature, the book of sacred Scripture and the book of the liturgy. In this way he brought together the reality of the world and the history of salvation, as recounted in the Bible and made present in the liturgy. He made stones, trees and human life part of the church so that all creation might come together in praise of God, but at the same time he brought the sacred images outside so as to place before people the mystery of God revealed in the birth, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this way, he brilliantly helped to build our human consciousness, anchored in the world yet open to God, enlightened and sanctified by Christ. In this he accomplished one of the most important tasks of our times: overcoming the division between human consciousness and Christian consciousness, between living in this temporal world and being open to eternal life, between the beauty of things and God as beauty. Antoni Gaudí did this not with words but with stones, lines, planes, and points. Indeed, beauty is one of mankind's greatest needs; it is the root from which the branches of our peace and the fruits of our hope come forth. Beauty also reveals God because, like him, a work of beauty is pure gratuity; it calls us to freedom and draws us away from selfishness.
We have dedicated this sacred space to God, who revealed and gave himself to us in Christ so as to be definitively God among men. The revealed Word, the humanity of Christ and his Church are the three supreme expressions of his self-manifestation and self-giving to mankind. As says Saint Paul in the second reading: "Let each man take care how he builds. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 3:10-11). The Lord Jesus is the stone which supports the weight of the world, which maintains the cohesion of the Church and brings together in ultimate unity all the achievements of mankind. In him, we have God's word and presence and from him the Church receives her life, her teaching and her mission. The Church of herself is nothing; she is called to be the sign and instrument of Christ, in pure docility to his authority and in total service to his mandate. The one Christ is the foundation of the one Church. He is the rock on which our faith is built. Building on this faith, let us strive together to show the world the face of God who is love and the only one who can respond to our yearning for fulfilment. This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord. In this sense, I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him. In this masterpiece, Gaudí shows us that God is the true measure of man; that the secret of authentic originality consists, as he himself said, in returning to one's origin which is God. Gaudí, by opening his spirit to God, was capable of creating in this city a space of beauty, faith and hope which leads man to an encounter with him who is truth and beauty itself. The architect expressed his sentiments in the following words: "A church [is] the only thing worthy of representing the soul of a people, for religion is the most elevated reality in man".
This affirmation of God brings with it the supreme affirmation and protection of the dignity of each and every man and woman: "Do you not know that you are God's temple? … God's temple is holy, and you are that temple" (1 Cor 3:16-17). Here we find joined together the truth and dignity of God and the truth and dignity of man. As we consecrate the altar of this church, which has Christ as its foundation, we are presenting to the world a God who is the friend of man and we invite men and women to become friends of God. This is what we are taught in the case of Zacchaeus, of whom today's gospel speaks (Lk 19:1-10), if we allow God into our hearts and into our world, if we allow Christ to live in our hearts, we will not regret it: we will experience the joy of sharing his very life, as the object of his infinite love.
This church began as an initiative of the Association of the Friends of Saint Joseph, who wanted to dedicate it to the Holy Family of Nazareth. The home formed by Jesus, Mary and Joseph has always been regarded as a school of love, prayer and work. The promoters of this church wanted to set before the world love, work and service lived in the presence of God, as the Holy Family lived them. Life has changed greatly and with it enormous progress has been made in the technical, social and cultural spheres. We cannot simply remain content with these advances. Alongside them, there also need to be moral advances, such as in care, protection and assistance to families, inasmuch as the generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end. Only where love and faithfulness are present can true freedom come to birth and endure. For this reason the Church advocates adequate economic and social means so that women may find in the home and at work their full development, that men and women who contract marriage and form a family receive decisive support from the state, that life of children may be defended as sacred and inviolable from the moment of their conception, that the reality of birth be given due respect and receive juridical, social and legislative support. For this reason the Church resists every form of denial of human life and gives its support to everything that would promote the natural order in the sphere of the institution of the family.
As I contemplate with admiration this sacred space of marvellous beauty, of so much faith-filled history, I ask God that in the land of Catalonia new witnesses of holiness may rise up and flourish, and present to the world the great service that the Church can and must offer to humanity: to be an icon of divine beauty, a burning flame of charity, a path so that the world may believe in the One whom God has sent (cf. Jn 6:29).
Dear brothers and sisters, as I dedicate this splendid church, I implore the Lord of our lives that, from this altar, which will now be anointed with holy oil and upon which the sacrifice of the love of Christ will be consumed, there may be a flood of grace and charity upon the city of Barcelona and its people, and upon the whole world. May these fruitful waters fill with faith and apostolic vitality this archdiocesan Church, its pastors and its faithful.
Finally, I wish to commend to the loving protection of the Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, April Rose, Mother of Mercy, all who enter here and all who in word or deed, in silence and prayer, have made this possible this marvel of architecture. May Our Lady present to her divine Son the joys and tribulations of all who come in the future to this sacred place so that here, as the Church prays when dedicating religious buildings, the poor may find mercy, the oppressed true freedom and all men may take on the dignity of the children of God. Amen.
© Copyright 2010 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Pope's Message to Santiago de Compostela
Thanks Archdiocese for Warm Welcome
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, DEC. 14, 2010 - Here is a
translation of the letter Benedict XVI sent to Archbishop Julián Barrio of
Santiago de Compostela after the Pontiff returned from his Nov. 6-7 trip to
Spain. The note was published today by the Archdiocese of Compostela.
* * *
To the Venerable Brother
Monsignor Julian Barrio Barrio
Metropolitan Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela
Upon returning to Rome, after the joyful ecclesial and spiritual experience of my pastoral visit to Santiago de Compostela, where, in this Holy Year, I wished to include myself among the pilgrims who present themselves at the feet of the Apostle to allow themselves to be transformed by the witness of his faith and the fire of his love for Christ, I wish to express to Your Excellency my most heartfelt gratitude for the exquisite reception, pleasing hospitality and happy stay in that beautiful city. I ask you also to communicate my gratitude to all your collaborators, as well as to the civil authorities, the security forces, and the numerous volunteers, for their generous cooperation in the preparation, development and execution of this beloved initiative.
I reciprocate these noble and eloquent gestures, asking God to enrich all the children of those noble lands with the abundance of the gifts of his love and mercy, may they serve as help in carrying out their personal, family and social duties.
With these sentiments, and at the same time entrusting to the Apostle James, friend of the Lord, the priests, religious communities, seminarians and faithful of that beloved archdiocese, I impart from my heart the apostolic blessing, pledge of copious divine favors.
Vatican, Nov. 9, 2010
Benedict XVI's Letter at End of Compostelan
"The Pilgrims Will Return to Their Homes ... Joyful and Grateful"
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2011 - Here is the letter Benedict XVI sent to Archbishop
Julián Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on the occasion of the
closing of the 2010 Compostelan Holy Year. The Vatican press office published
the letter Dec. 31.
* * *
To the Venerable Brother, Monsignor Julián Barrio Barrio,
Metropolitan Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela
1. On the occasion of the solemn closing of the Compostelan Holy Year of 2010, I again think with emotion about the House of St. James, which I visited recently with profound interior joy. I wish to join in thanksgiving to God for the gifts that his goodness has shed over these months on the multitude of persons who journeyed to that holy place with living faith, renewing their firm adherence to the message transmitted by the Apostles and living with a spirit of conversion the encounter with the mercy and love of Jesus Christ. On greeting affectionately the pastors, religious, seminarians and faithful gathered in that circumstance, evoking the unforgettable moments that we lived beside the tomb of the Protomartyr Apostle, I would like to address to you a word of encouragement, so that the fruits of Christian life and ecclesial renewal harvested copiously in the Holy Year will stimulate those who reached Santiago de Compostela to be witnesses of the Risen Christ.
2. In fact, on the way, they shared concerns, hopes and challenges with the brothers who were by their side, seeking to hear God who speaks to us and dwells in our interior, to come out of themselves and open themselves to others. On arriving at the Door of Glory, they were awaited by the loving and welcoming majesty of Christ, in whose light man can find the authentic meaning of his existence and paths for a peaceful and constructive coexistence among peoples. Under the serene look of the apostle, they renewed their profession of faith, intoned their praise and made humble confession of their sins. The profession of faith was followed by the reception of forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance and the encounter with the Lord in the Eucharist.
3. This meeting cannot leave them indifferent. The pilgrims will return to their homes as the disciples of Emmaus returned to Jerusalem, who conversed with Jesus on the way and recognized him in the breaking of bread. Joyful and grateful they went to the Holy City to communicate to all that he had risen and had appeared to them alive. Thus they became joyful and confident messengers of the living Christ, who is balm for our sorrows and foundation of our hope (cf. Luke 24:13-35). Also now, on leaving Compostela after having experienced the love of the Lord who came out to meet us, the longing will be felt to fulfill the charge of the Apostle Peter: "in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you" (a Peter 3:15). It requires the resolution to strengthen our faith every day, participating assiduously in the mysteries of grace entrusted to the Church and giving effective and concrete example of charity. We will not be credible witnesses of God if we are not faithful collaborators and servants of men. This service to a profound comprehension and to a courageous defense of man is an exigency of the Gospel and an essential contribution to the society of our Christian condition.
4. With these sentiments, I would now like to address in particular young people, whom I will have the good fortune of meeting next year in Madrid for the celebration of World Youth Day. I invite them to allow themselves to be interpellated by Christ, establishing with Him a frank and deliberate dialogue and also asking themselves: will the Lord count on me to be his apostle in the world, to be a messenger of his love? May generosity not be lacking in responding, nor that fearlessness which led James to follow the Master without sparing sacrifices. Likewise, I encourage seminarians to identify increasingly with Jesus, who calls them to work in his vineyard (cf. Matthew 20:3-4). The vocation to the priesthood is an admirable gift of which one must be proud, because the world needs persons dedicated completely to making Jesus Christ present, configuring all their life and their task with Him, repeating daily with humility his words and gestures, to be his transparency in the midst of the flock that has been entrusted to them. Here is the fatigue and also the glory of presbyters, whom I would like to remind with Saint Paul that nothing and no one in this world will be able to wrench from the love of God manifested in Christ (cf. Romans 8:39).
5. Keeping in my soul the memory of my pleasant stay in Compostela, I ask the Lord that the forgiveness and the aspiration to holiness that have germinated in this Compostelan Holy Year may help to make more present, under the guidance of James, the redeeming Word of Jesus Christ in that particular Church and in all the villages of Spain, and that his light may be perceived equally in Europe, as an incessant invitation to invigorate its Christian roots and thus empower its commitment to solidarity and the firm defense of the dignity of man.
6. To the loving protection of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, to whose maternal heart the Apostle James confided his sorrows and joys, according to venerable tradition, I entrust all the sons and daughters of those noble lands and impart to them the apostolic blessing, sign of consolation and of constant divine assistance.
Vatican, December 18, 2010
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI