God's forgiveness is the “fulcrum of every reform,” Pope Benedict told a group of Brazilian bishops on Saturday. It is in recognizing “true faults,” purifying herself and reflecting Christ in the world, said the Pope, that the Church might be the “youth of the world.”
The Holy Father met with bishops from the Brazilian Bishops' Conference's "East 1" region on Saturday morning at Castel Gandolfo. In his address to conclude their "ad limina" visit, he discussed the roots of the contemporary spiritual crisis in the "darkening of the grace of forgiveness."
In this darkened context, when the "real and effective" nature of forgiveness goes unrecognized, he told them, the person tends to be "liberated" of fault. But, the Pope observed, such "liberated" people "know it's not true, that sin exists and that they themselves are sinners."
Although some currents of pyschology might find it difficult to admit, the Pope continued, amid people's feelings of fault, there may also be "true fault." And when a person is “so cold so as not to have feelings of fault even when he should,” he must seek to recover such feelings of fault because “in the spiritual order they are necessary for the health of the soul."
In fact, explained the Pope, Jesus did not come to save those who thought they were already liberated, but for the salvation of "all who feel themselves sinners and are in need of Him."
All people, he concluded, "need Him, the divine Sculptor who removes the layers of dust and filth that are place over the image of God inscribed in us. We need forgiveness which constitutes the fulcrum of every reform: renewing the person's heart, becoming also the center of renewal of the community."
Reminded of the words of St. Paul, who said that he no longer lived, but Christ lived in him, Pope Benedict said that in the same way a person can "insert" himself into His being and unite himself with the Lord and all people. "Only beginning from this profundity of individual renewal is the Church born, is the community born which unites and sustains in life and death," he said.
In this way, he explained, purification is realized and the path becomes ever more joyful, a "joy that shines through the Church and is contagious to the world, so that it is the youth of the world."