Loading
Benedict XVI: I knew during his life that John Paul II was a saint
Benedict XVI. Photo Credit: Mazur.
Benedict XVI. Photo Credit: Mazur.

.- In a rare interview, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI recalled his close friendship with Blessed John Paul II, saying that the pontiff’s sanctity and deep spirituality were apparent during his life.

“In the years in which I collaborated with him, it was ever clearer to me that John Paul II was a saint,” said Benedict XVI during an interview with Polish journalist Wlodzimierz Redzioch, which was published April 20 in the Spanish newspaper “La Razon.”

“Naturally, his intense relationship with God, being immersed in communion with the Lord, needs to be taken into account above all,” the former Pope said of his predecessor.

Benedict XVI, who served under Pope John Paul II as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the Polish pontiff courageously “embraced his task in a truly difficult time.”

“John Paul II did not ask for applause nor did he look around worried about how his decisions were going to be received. He acted based on his faith and his convictions, and he was also willing to take hits,” Benedict recounted. “The courage for truth is, in my view, a primary measure of holiness. Only by looking first at his relationship with God is it possible to also understand his unfailing pastoral determination.”

In this sense, he recalled the decision of the future saint to confront head on the spread of liberation theology in Latin America.

“Both in Europe and in North America, the common view was that it was about supporting the poor and that therefore it was a cause that ought to be approved outright. But that was an error. Poverty and the poor were undoubtedly addressed by Liberation Theology but from a very specific perspective,” Benedict XVI explained.

Liberation Theology used the Christian faith and transformed it “into a kind of political force. The religious traditions of the faith were placed at the service of political action. In this way, the faith was profoundly alienated from itself and true love for the poor was thus weakened as well. It was necessary to oppose such a falsification of the Christian faith precisely out of love for the poor and service to them,” he continued.

The situation in John Paul II’s native Poland – ruled at that time by Communism – “had showed him that the Church should truly act for freedom and liberation not in a political way but by awakening in men, through the faith, the forces of authentic liberation,” Benedict XVI said.

During the interview, the Pope Emeritus underscored that his collaboration with John Paul II “was always marked by friendship and affection,” on both an official and personal level. “The Pope was very versed in contemporary German literature and it was very beautiful (for both of us) to seek out the right decision together on these things,” he said.
 
Benedict XVI recalled that each Tuesday, the two would discuss the catechesis for the Wednesday audience. “Through the catechesis, the Pope decided to offer over time a catechism. He chose the themes and had us prepare brief preliminary considerations to be developed later (…). Here also the theological competence of the Pope became apparent. But at the same time I admired his willingness to learn.”

The retired pontiff also noted “three encyclicals of particular importance” issued by John Paul II. The first is “Redemptor hominis,” in which he offered his personal synthesis of the Christian faith. The second is “Redemptoris mission,” in which he examined “the relationship between inter-religious dialogue and the missionary task.” The third is “Veritatis splendor,” in which he addressed moral problems in a way that continues to be relevant today.

“The encyclical ‘Fides et ratio’ was also very significant, in which the Pope strived to offer a new vision of the relationship between the Christian faith and philosophical reason. And lastly, it is absolutely necessary to mention ‘Evangelium vitae,’ which developed one of the most fundamental themes of the entire pontificate of John Paul II: the intangible dignity of human life, from the moment of conception,” Benedict XVI added.

The retired Pope also said the spirituality of his predecessor was characterized “by the intensity of his prayer, which was profoundly rooted in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.”  

“All of us were aware of his great love for the Mother of God. To give everything to Mary meant being, with her, totally for the Lord. Just as Mary did not live for herself but for Him, so also he learned from her and from being with her a complete and rapid devotion to Christ.”

“My memory of John Paul II is filled with gratitude. I couldn’t and shouldn’t try to imitate him, but I have tried to carry forward his legacy and his work the best that I could,” Benedict XVI said.

Tags: Canonizations, Benedict XVI, John Paul II


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A state without territory elects new government
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Jul
24

Liturgical Calendar

July 24, 2014

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:10-17

Gospel
Date
07/24/14
07/23/14
07/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 2: 1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Gospel:: Mt 13: 10-17

Saint of the Day

St. Charbel Makhlouf »

Saint
Date
07/23/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:10-17

Homily
Date
07/24/14
07/23/14
07/21/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: