Benedict XVI, Pope (Ratzinger, Joseph) 1927-
Città del Vaticano 04/02/2009Pope Benedict XVI expresses "unquestionable solidarity'
The Shoah warns against reductionism
Directly after the General Audience, the Holy Father made the following comments in Italian. A translation follows.
Before greeting the Italian pilgrims, I have three more announcements to make.
The first: I have received with joy the news of the election of Metropolitan Kirill as the new Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. I invoke the light of the Holy Spirit upon him for a generous service to the Russian Orthodox Church, entrusting him to the special protection of the Mother of God.
The second: in the Homily pronounced on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of my Pontificate, I said that an "explicit" duty of the Pastor is the "call to unity", and commenting on the Gospel passage about the miraculous catch, I said: "although the fish were so many, the net was not torn". I then followed with these Gospel words: "Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has been torn!". I continued, "But no we must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of your promise, which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path towards the unity you have promised.... Do not allow your net to be torn, and help us to be servants of unity!" (Installation Mass, 24 April 2005, L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 27 April 2005, p. 9).
Precisely in fulfillment of this service to unity, which qualifies my ministry as Successor to Peter in a specific way, I decided several days ago to grant the remission of the excommunication to which the four Bishops, ordained in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre without a Papal mandate, were subject. I fulfilled this act of paternal compassion because these Bishops repeatedly manifested their active suffering for the situation in which they had found themselves. I hope that this gesture of mine will be followed by an earnest commitment on their behalf to complete the necessary further steps to achieve full communion with the Church, thus witnessing true fidelity to, and true recognition of, the Magisterium and the authority of the Pope and the Second Vatican Council.
The third statement: in these days when we remember the Shoah, images come to mind from my repeated visits to Auschwitz, one of the concentration camps in which the heinous slaughter of millions of Jews occurred, innocent victims of a blind racial and religious hatred. As I affectionately renew the expression of my full and unquestionable solidarity with our fellow receivers of the First Covenant, I hope that the memory of the Shoah will lead humanity to reflect upon the unfathomable power of evil when it conquers the heart of man.
May the Shoah be a warning for all against forgetfulness, denial or reductionism, because violence committed against one single human being is violence against all. No man is an island, as a famous poet wrote. May the Shoah especially teach both old and new generations that only the arduous path of listening and dialogue, of love and forgiveness leads peoples, cultures and religions of the world to the desired goal of fraternity and peace in truth. May violence no longer degrade the dignity of man!
(©L'Osservatore Romano - 4 February 2009)
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