Recently in Weekly General Audience Category

Vatican Drop Squad nabs one

VATICAN CITY - A man tried to jump into Pope Benedict XVI's uncovered popemobile as the pontiff began his general audience Wednesday and held onto it for a few seconds before being wrestled to the ground by security officers.

The pope was not hurt and didn't even appear to notice that the man — who was between 20 or 30 years old — had jumped over the protective barrier in the square and toward the white popemobile as it drove by. The pontiff kept waving to the audience.

At least eight security officers who were trailing the vehicle as it moved slowly through the square grabbed the man and wrestled him to the ground. The pope didn't even look back.

The man "looked a little crazy," said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman. He said the man was being held for questioning by Vatican police.

The story has a link to a raw video feed.

UPDATE: More direct video feed here

Fr. Z has lots more.

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Pre-Christmas Audience


One of this blog's beats used to be the weekly papal general audience. I've dropped that ball for a while now, but I have them all bookmarked and will be getting around to them soon, I hope. In the meantime, here is the general audience address Pope Benedict delivered this past Wednesday, in anticipation of Christ Mass.


On Christmas Eve, we will place ourselves once again before the Crib to contemplate, astonished, the "Word made flesh." Sentiments of joy and gratitude, like in every year, are renewed in our hearts as we hear the melodies of Christmas carols, which sing of, in so many languages, the same, extraordinary miracle. The Creator of the universe, out of love, came to make his dwelling among men. In the Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul affirms that Christ, "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (2:6). He appeared in human form, adds the Apostle, humbling himself. At holy Christmas we will relive the realization of this sublime mystery of grace and mercy.

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Christ and His Church


The Holy Father yesterday gave the first of a series of Wednesday general audience addresses that will focus on the relationship between Christ and his Church. Zenit has the English translation here.

This Pope does not beat around the bush. After paying respect to his predecessor by delivering the addresses which John Paul II had already prepared, Benedict is now delving into one of the greatest mysteries of the faith.

In this first address of the cycle, Benedict refutes the notion that the Christian faith is a "just me 'n' Jesus" faith. "Although [Jesus'] preaching is always a call to personal conversion, in reality it continually tends to build the People of God which he came to gather together and save."

The address focuses on the Apostles, and is specifically a reflection on the calling of the Twelve in Mark, chapter 3. This calling, according to the Holy Father, is "an evident sign of the Nazarene's intention to gather together the community of the covenant in order to manifest in it the fulfillment of the promises made to the forefathers."

The symbolism of the Twelve Apostles is an important sign for the Jews as Benedict shows:

The number 12, which evidently refers to the 12 tribes of Israel, reveals the meaning of the prophetic-symbolic action implied in the new initiative of founding the holy people again. After the downfall of the system of the 12 tribes, Israel awaited the reconstruction of this system as a sign of the arrival of the eschatological time (this can be read in the conclusion of the Book of Ezekiel 37:15-19; 39:23-29; 40-48).

By choosing the Twelve, introducing them into a communion of life with him and making them sharers in the same mission of announcing the Kingdom with words and deeds (cf. Mark 6:7-13; Matthew 10:5-8; Luke 9:1-6; 6:13), Jesus wants to say that the definitive time has arrived; the time for rebuilding God's people, the people of the 12 tribes, which is now converted into a universal people, his Church.

Through the Sacraments, all Christians share in the universal unity symbolized by the Apostles:

In a certain sense, we could say that the Last Supper is precisely the act of founding his Church, because he gives himself and in this way creates a new community, a community united in the communion with himself. and in their mission of building up the Church.

Let's connect the dots. The Church is the community founded by the Lord by gathering the Twelve Apostles and numerous disciples. He was among them, teaching them and sanctifying them. Christ entrusted his ministry to the Apostles. They brought more and more sheep into the flock and brought Christ to them in the Sacraments. Today, our bishops who are themselves the successors of the Twelve continue to gather together the scattered and continue to bring Christ to the faithful in the Sacraments.

It's so simple, yet so profound. Most importantly, it works. The bishops and the priests who share in the bishops' ministry are Christ's guarantee of being among us. Christ is always present in the community of the Church. Our eternal Lord, whom Augustine refered to as a "beauty ever-ancient, ever-new," is always with us, renewing us and giving us the fullness of his life.

Benedict ends the address with a marvelous profession of confidence:

He is always our contemporary -- our contemporary in the Church built upon the foundation of the Apostles. He is alive in the succession of the Apostles. And his presence in the community, in which he himself always gives himself, is the reason for our joy. Yes, Christ is with us, the Kingdom of God is coming.

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Here is the Zenit translation of the Holy Father's address at the general audience on Ash Wednesday last week.

There was no audience this week as the pope is participating in the Curia's annual Lenten retreat.

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Today's audience


Yes, the Pope did deiver an address in addition to announcing the creation of new cardinals.

He spoke of today's liturgical celebration: the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. I'll have a translation later. UPDATE: Here it is.

This points to an interesting possibility - that Benedict will use the general audiences to catechize on the liturgy. The need for liturgical reform in line with Vatican II is very close to the Holy Father's heart, and he may use this particular weekly pulpit to take the "reform of the reform" directly to the faithful.

Pure speculation, grant you, but it's an exciting possibility.

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General Audiences and a special occasion


Behind again! Here are the last three Wednesday general audience addresses given by the Pope, including yesterday's:

February 1, on the first half of Psalm 144(145).

February 8, on the second half of Psalm 144(145).

Yesterday, February 15, on the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise found in the first chapter of Luke.

Yesterday's address is of special note, because it marks the last of the series of addresses that were prepared by the late Pope John Paul II.

John Paul was the first pope to use the Wednesday general audience to develop continuing themes from one week to the next. The first cycle was of course the "Theology of the Body" (actually, the TOTB consists of four cycles) which he developed over the first few years of his pontificate. The series ending today goes back to 2001 and have had as their focus the psalms and canticles prayed by the Church as part of Morning and Evening Prayer.

(For the curious, on March 28, 2001, JP2 explained his desire to dedicate his audeience addresses to the psalms and canticles of the Liturgy of the Hours. It's a nice read.)

It will be interesting (and, for a Pope-geek like me, somewhat exciting) to see over the next few weeks whether Benedict decides to continue his predecessor's practice of developing theological or devotional themes and ideas over multiple addresses, and if so, what the content of those addresses would be.

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Playing catch up with the Pope again. Here's the general audience address from 1/18/06, kicking off the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Excerpt:

"Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:19). This solemn assurance of Jesus to his disciples sustains our prayer. Today begins the by-now traditional Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an important appointment to reflect on the tragedy of the division of the Christian community and to pray with Jesus himself "that they may all be one so that the world may believe" (John 17:21). We also do so here, in harmony with a great multitude in the world. The prayer "for the unity of all" involves, in different ways and times, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, united by faith in Jesus Christ, only Lord and Savior.

Here's the audience address from 1/25/06, a commentary on Psalm 143 (144): 9-15. Excerpt:

This picture of a different but possible world is entrusted to the work of the Messiah, as well as to that of his people. All of us together, under the guidance of the Messiah, Christ, must work for this project of harmony and peace, preventing the destructive action of hatred, of violence and of war. It is necessary, however, to be on the side of the God of love and justice.

For this reason, the psalm concludes with the words: "Happy the people so blessed; happy the people whose God is the Lord." God is the good of goods, the condition of all other goods. Only a people that acknowledges God and that defends spiritual and moral values can truly go out to find a profound peace and become itself a force of peace for the world, for other peoples, and, therefore, can intone with the psalmist the "new song," full of confidence and hope. It recalls spontaneously the new Covenant, the very novelty that Christ and his Gospel are.

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Catching up with the Pope


Here are the general audience addresses from the past three weeks.. I've been busy, ya know...

December 28, on the second part of Psalm 138(139).


After pondering on the gaze and presence of the Creator that sweeps across the whole cosmic horizon, in the second part of the Psalm on which we are meditating today Goel' turns his loving gaze upon the human being, whose full and complete beginning is reflected upon.

He is still an "unformed substance" in his mother's womb: The Hebrew term used has been understood by several biblical experts as referring to an "embryo," described in that term as a small, oval, curled-up reality, but on which God has already turned his benevolent and loving eyes (verse 16)

Pretty neat words to come on Charlie's birthday, huh?

January 4, on Colossians 1:3,12-20.


Christ visibly re-proposes among us the "invisible God." In him we see the face of God through the common nature that unites them. By virtue of his most exalted dignity, Christ precedes "all things," not only because of his eternity, but also and especially in his creative and provident work: "In him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible ... and in him all things hold together" (cf. verses 16-17). Indeed, they were also created "for him" (verse 16).

And so St. Paul points out to us a very important truth: History has a destination, a direction. History moves toward humanity united in Christ and thus moves in the direction of the perfect man, toward the perfect humanism.

In other words, St. Paul tells us: Yes, there is progress in history. There is, we could say, an evolution of history. Progress is all that which brings us closer to Christ and thus closer to a united humanity, to true humanism. And so, hidden within these indications there is also an imperative for us: to work for progress, something that we all want. We can do this by working to bring others to Christ; we can do this by personally conforming ourselves to Christ, thereby taking up the path of true progress.

January 11, on Psalm 143(144):1-8.


The hymn begins with a blessing, that is, with an exclamation of praise addressed to the Lord, celebrated with a little litany of salvific titles: He is the sure and stable rock, he is loving grace, he is the protected fortress, the refuge of defense, liberation, the shield that forestalls every evil assault (cf. Psalm 143[144]:1-2). Also appearing is the martial image of God who trains his faithful in the struggle so that he will be able to face the hostilities of the environment, the dark powers of the world.

Despite his royal dignity, before the Almighty Lord, the psalmist feels weak and fragile. Then he expresses a profession of humility that is formulated, as he already said, with the words of Psalms 8 and 38. He feels like "a breath," like "a passing shadow," inconsistent, submerged in the flux of time that passes, marked by the limitation proper to the creature (cf. Psalm 143[114]:4).

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The Lord Jesus is coming!


Here is Zenit's translation of Pope Benedict XVI's address at yesterday's general audience, delivered in St. Peter's Square.


In preparing to celebrate the birth of the Savior with joy in our families and ecclesial communities -- while a certain modern and consumer culture tries to make the Christian symbols of the celebration of Christmas disappear -- let us assume the commitment to understand the value of the Christmas traditions, which are part of the patrimony of our faith and our culture, in order to transmit them to the new generations.

In particular, on seeing the streets and squares of our cities adorned with glittering lights, let us remember that these lights evoke another light, invisible to our eyes, but not to our hearts. Contemplating them, when lighting the candles of churches or the Nativity and Christmas tree lights in our homes, may our spirits open to the true spiritual light brought to all men and women of good will. The God with us, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary is the Star of our lives!

"Rising Sun, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, illuminate those who lie in darkness and in the shadows of death." On assuming this invocation of today's liturgy, let us pray to the Lord to hasten his glorious coming among us, among all those who are suffering, as only in him can they find the answer to the authentic expectations of the human heart.

May this Star of light that never sets, communicate to us the strength to follow always the path of truth, justice and love! Let us live intensely these days that precede Christmas together with Mary, the Virgin of silence and listening. May she, who was totally enveloped by the light of the Holy Spirit, help us to understand and to live fully the mystery of Christ's Christmas.

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General Audience 12-14-05


Here is the English translation of the address Pope Benedict XVI delivered this past Wednesday at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.


Even darkness, in which it is difficult to advance and see, is penetrated by the gaze and by the presence the Lord of being and of time. He is always willing to take us by the hand to guide us on our earthly path (cf. verse 10). Therefore, it is not a closeness of a judge that provokes terror, but rather of support and freedom.

In this way, we are able to understand the ultimate, essential content of this psalm. It is a song of confidence: God is always with us. Even in the dark nights of our life, he does not abandon us. Even in the difficult moments, he is present. And even in the final night, in the final solitude in which no one will be able to accompany us, in the night of death, the Lord does not abandon us. He accompanies us, as well, in this last solitude of the night of death. And for this reason, as Christians, we can be confident: We are never alone. The goodness of God is always with us.

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December 07, 2005 General Audience


Here is Zenit's English translation of the address Pope Benedict XVI delivered during today's general audience in St. Peter's Square.


[T]he psalmist extends his gaze over the world and imagines that his testimony spans the whole horizon: "All the kings of earth," in a sort of universal adherence, associate themselves with the Hebrew psalmist in a common praise in honor of the Lord's grandeur and sovereign power (see verses 4-6).

The content of this common praise that rises from all the peoples enables one to see already the future Church of pagans, the future universal Church. This content has as its first subject the "glory" and "ways of the Lord" (see verse 5), namely, his plans of salvation and his revelation. Thus one discovers that God is certainly "high" and transcendent, but "cares for the lowly" with affection, while he averts his gaze from the haughty in sign of rejection and judgment (see verse 6).

UPDATE: Welcome subscribers! Please feel free to look around and comment on anything you see.

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November 30, 2005 General Audience


Here is the Zenit translation of the address given by Pope Benedict XVI.

Here is an excerpt:

God, who is the ultimate arbiter of history, will be able to understand and accept, according to his justice, the cry of the victims, beyond the harsh tones that it sometimes acquires.

We want to commend to St. Augustine a further meditation on our psalm. In it, the Father of the Church introduces a surprising element of great timeliness: He knows that also among the inhabitants of Babylon there are people who are committed to peace and the good of the community, despite the fact that they do not share the biblical faith, that they do not know the hope of the Eternal City to which we aspire. They have a spark of desire for the unknown, for the greatest, for the transcendent, for a genuine redemption.

And he says that among the persecutors, among the nonbelievers, there are people with this spark, with a kind of faith, of hope, in the measure that is possible for them in the circumstances in which they live. With this faith in an unknown reality, they are really on the way to the authentic Jerusalem, to Christ. And with this opening of hope, valid also for the Babylonians -- as Augustine calls them -- for those who do not know Christ, and not even God, and who nevertheless desire the unknown, the eternal, he exhorts us not to look only at the material things of the present moment, but to persevere in the path to God. Only with this greater hope can we transform this world in a just way.

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Wednesday's with Benedict


Here is Zenit's translation of the address Pope Benedict XVI delivered at today's general audience in St. Reter's Square.


In Psalm 135(136) are interlaced, therefore, two modalities of the only divine Revelation, the cosmic (cf. verses 4-9) and the historical (cf. verses 10-25). The Lord is, of course, transcendent as Creator and arbiter of being; but he is also close to his creatures, entering into space and time. He does not stay far away, in the distant heaven. On the contrary, his presence among us reaches its summit in the incarnation of Christ.

This is what the Christian interpretation of the psalm proclaims clearly, as attested by the Fathers of the Church who see the summit of the history of salvation and the supreme sign of the merciful love of the Father in the gift of the Son, as Savior and Redeemer of humanity (cf. John 3:16).

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General Audiences - last week, this week


It looks like I'm a week behind bringing you the text of the Holy Father's weekly audiences.

Here is last week's, from November 2, a reflection on Psalm 111 (112).


Docility to God is, therefore, the root of hope and interior and exterior harmony. Observance of the moral law is the source of profound peace of conscience.

At the end of this address, while addressing members of the Italian Association of Large Families, the Holy Father made an appeal for help for large families.

"Your presence gives me the opportunity to recall the central character of the family, the fundamental cell of society and primary place of acceptance and service to life," the Holy Father told the parents, many of whom were accompanied by their children.

"In the present social context, family nuclei with many children are a testimony of faith, courage and optimism, as without children there is no future!" he exclaimed, prompting applause and smiles from those present.

"I hope that more social and legislative measures will be promoted in defense and support of the largest families, which constitute a richness and hope for the whole country," Benedict XVI concluded.

Here is this week's, from November 9, on Psalm 135 (136): 1-9.


The first visible sign of this divine charity -- says the Psalmist -- is to be sought in creation. Then history enters. The gaze, full of admiration and wonder, pauses first of all on creation: the heavens, the earth, the waters, the sun, the moon and the stars.

Even before discovering the God who reveals himself in the history of a people, there is a cosmic revelation, open to all, offered to the whole of humanity by the only Creator, "God of gods" and "Lord of lords" (cf. verses 2-3).

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Jesus Christ is Lord!


Wednesday's general audience held by the pope was on Phillipians 2:6-11. The Zenit English translation is here.

No time to excerpt, gotta run to mass.

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De profundis, clamo ad te, Domine


For some reason that line always is followed in my head by "I see dead people."

Anyway, here is the English translation of the Pope's General audience from yesterday, October 19, which was on Psalm 129 (130) or 130 (129), however you prefer.

Significant is the fact that what generates respect, an attitude of fear mixed with love, is not punishment but forgiveness. More than the anger of God, his generous and disarming magnanimity must arouse a holy fear in us. God, in fact, is not an inexorable sovereign who condemns the guilty, but a loving Father, whom we must love not out of fear of punishment, but because of his goodness ready to forgive.
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General Audience of October 12, 2005

The canticle we just heard and enjoyed as a prayer is one of the most beautiful and moving of the "songs of ascent." It is Psalm 121(122), a lively and participatory celebration in Jerusalem, the Holy City toward which the pilgrims ascend.

In fact, immediately in the opening, two moments come together lived by the faithful one: that of the day in which he accepted the invitation to "go to the house of the Lord" (verse 1), and that of the joyful arrival at the "gates" of Jerusalem (see verse 2); now his feet finally tread on that holy and beloved land. Precisely then, lips part to intone a festive song in honor of Zion, understood in its profound spiritual meaning.

Read the rest.

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General Audience October 10, 2005

From all the community gathered in the temple rises a blessing in unison to God Creator of the universe and Savior of his people, expressed in the diversity of voices and humility of faith.

The liturgy is the privileged place to listen to the divine Word, which renders present the Lord's salvific acts, but it is also the circle in which the communitarian prayer rises which celebrates divine love. God and man meet in a saving embrace, which finds its fulfillment precisely in the liturgical celebration.

Full text

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28.09.05 General Audience


Here is the Zenit English translation of the address delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at the weekly general audience held this past Wednesday.

An excerpt:

he divine omnipotence is manifested continually in the whole world "in heaven and on earth, in the seas and the oceans." He it is who produces the clouds, lightning and winds, imagined as kept in "stocks" or storehouses (see verses 6-7).

But it is above all another aspect of the divine activity that is celebrated in this profession of faith. It is the amazing intervention in history, where the Creator shows his face as Redeemer of his people and sovereign of the world. The great events of the Exodus are made to pass before the eyes of Israel recollected in prayer.

Mentioned first of all is the synthetic and essential commemoration of the "plagues" of Egypt, the scourges inflicted by the Lord to subdue the oppressor (see verses 8-9). It is followed afterward with the evocation of the victories of Israel after the long march in the desert. They are attributed to the powerful intervention of God, who "smote many nations and slew mighty kings" (verse 10). Finally, there is the much longed for and awaited end, the promised land: [He] "made their land a heritage, a heritage for Israel his people" (verse 12).

Divine love becomes concrete and can almost be experienced in history with all its harsh and glorious vicissitudes. The liturgy has the task of making the divine gifts always present and effective, above all in the great paschal celebration which is the root of every other solemnity and constitutes the supreme emblem of freedom and salvation.

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