Loading
Holy Father highlights 'special contribution' women make to theology
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Continuing his focus on the contribution of women to the Church, Pope Benedict XVI turned a second time to the medieval nun St. Hildegard of Bingen, whose life demonstrates that “women make a special contribution to theology.”

The Pope gave his general audience catechesis this morning in the Paul VI Hall, dedicating his teaching to a subject he began last week with a reflection on St. Hildegard of Bingen, a twelfth-century German Benedictine religious.

Speaking on the mystical visions that the saint had throughout her life, the Holy Father commented that “they were rich in theological content.” “They referred to the main events of the history of salvation and use a mainly poetic and symbolic language,” he noted. “For example, in her best known work entitled 'Scivias' (Know the Ways) she summarized the events of the history of salvation in thirty-five visions, from the creation of the world to the end of time.”

“In the central part of her work she develops the theme of the mystical marriage between God and humankind which came about in the Incarnation,” the Holy Father added.

“Even in this brief outline,” he continued, “we see how theology can receive a special contribution from women, because they are capable of speaking of God and of the mysteries of the faith with their specific intelligence and sensitivity.”

The Pope then exhorted all women “who undertake this service to do so with a profound ecclesial spirit, nourishing their reflections with prayer and looking to the great riches - still partly unexplored - of the medieval mystical tradition, especially as represented by such shining examples as Hildegard of Bingen.”

She was also interested in “medicine and the natural sciences, as well as music,” the Pope noted. "For her, all of creation was a symphony of the Holy Spirit, Who is in Himself joy and contentment.”

“Hildegard's popularity led many people to consult her,” the Holy Father recalled. “Monastic communities, both male and female, as well as bishops and abbots all sought her guidance. And many of her answers remain valid, even for us.”

“With the spiritual authority she possessed, in the last years of her life Hildegard began to travel,” the Pope recounted. “She was considered to be a messenger sent by God, in particular calling monastic communities and clergy to a life in conformity with their vocation. Hildegard especially opposed the German Cathar movement.”

“The Cathars - their name literally means 'pure' - supported radical reform of the Church, principally to combat clerical abuses,” he explained. “She reprimanded them fiercely, accusing them of wanting to subvert the very nature of the Church and reminding them that the true renewal of the ecclesial community is not obtained by changing structures so much as by a sincere spirit of penance and a fruitful journey of conversion.”

“This is a message we must never forget,” the Holy Father emphasized.

In his concluding remarks, the Pontiff said: “Let us always invoke the Holy Spirit that He may bring saintly and courageous women to the Church, like St. Hildegard of Bingen, who using the gifts received from God, may make their precious and specific contribution to the spiritual growth of our communities.”

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

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
31

Liturgical Calendar

October 31, 2014

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 14:1-6

Gospel
Date
10/31/14
10/29/14
10/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Phil 1: 1-11
Gospel:: Lk 14: 1-6

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/31/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 14:1-6

Homily
Date
10/31/14
10/29/14
10/28/14