Pope Benedict XVI: "The Pope of the Word"

I’ve just read the Holy Father’s message for World Youth Day 2006, and it is a ripper. It encourages young people to conform their lives to the Word of God, taking the theme “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

I found myself thinking that Veronica Brady and Paul Collins et al might have benefited from what it says. In particular I noted Papa Benny’s reference to Hebrews 4:12: “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” It is not only able to do so, it does do so. It stands above, and not beneath, our conscience.

And there is no mistaking B16’s identification of where one will find that Word which holds our consciences up for judgement. He quotes the Catechism (n. 65):

“Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father’s one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one.”

And he goes on to say:

“The Apostles received the word of salvation and passed it on to their successors as a precious gem kept safely in the jewel box of the Church: without the Church, this pearl runs the risk of being lost or destroyed… Love and follow the Church, for it has received from its Founder the mission of showing people the way to true happiness. It is not easy to recognise and find authentic happiness in this world in which we live, where people are often held captive by the current ways of thinking. They may think they are “free”, but they are being led astray and become lost amid the errors or illusions of aberrant ideologies.”

And in case folk like Judge Geraghty think he is not referring to the Bible when he says “Word of God”:

“My dear young friends, I urge you to become familiar with the Bible, and to have it at hand so that it can be your compass pointing out the road to follow. By reading it, you will learn to know Christ. Note what Saint Jerome said in this regard: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (PL 24,17; cf Dei Verbum, 25).

They say that JPII was the “Pope of the Eucharist”. Perhaps in years to come they will say that Benedict XVI was the “Pope of the Word”.

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