Pope Benedict to the Roman Curia

Last Friday, the Holy Father gave his Christmas address to the Roman Curia. Reviewing the year, he spoke at some length about his visit to Brazil. He used the reflection as an opportunity to answer the question of whether the visit to Aparecida (a pilgrimage site where a miraculous statue of Our Lady is venerated) was an excessive retreat into interiority when we should be occupied with questions of justice. He also dealt with the question of whether we should evangelise today instead of simply working with other faiths for peace. Sandro Magister has a translation of the relevant sections of the address. (Surprise: The Pope Takes the Curia to Brazil)

After speaking more briefly of his other pastoral visits during the year, he concluded (my translation):
We must not deceive ourselves, certainly: the secularism of our times and the pressure of the ideological presumptions to which the secularist conscience tends, with its exclusive claim to definitive rationality, pose no small problem. We know this and we are aware of the burden of the struggle that is imposed on us in these times. But we also know that the Lord keeps his promise: "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the end of the world." (Mt 28.20) In this joyful certainty, welcoming the incentive of the reflections of the Aparecida for us also to renew our being with Christ, let us go forward with trust into the New Year. Let us go under the maternal gaze of the Aparecida; of Her as the one designated "handmaid of the Lord". Her protection keeps us safe and full of hope.

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