Pope Benedict XVI’s “exquisitely evangelical witness” this week show his "personal and direct commitment" to creating communion in the Church, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has said, citing the Holy Father’s launch of a new evangelization of the West and his action to reconcile disputes and to renew the Church.
During his "Octava Dies" editorial aired on Vatican Television on Saturday morning, Fr. Lombardi remarked that in recent days the words and actions of the Pope have been “exceptionally intense and determinant for the life of the Church community."
The activity of the Pope, he continued, has been made more meaningful due to its proximity to the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. This is a feast which brings our attention back to the mission "entrusted by Christ to Peter and his successors" to support and guide the faith of believers, he explained.
For Fr. Lombardi, the announcement of the new Vatican department for renewed evangelization of areas subject to secularization stands out among the Pope's activities this week. However, he particularly wanted to highlight the pontiff’s “personal and direct commitment to the union of the Church community.”
"The Pope has repeated many times that the dangers and the gravest temptations for the Church come from within," pointed out Fr. Lombardi. "In difficult times, such as those that we are living, the tensions induced from the outside make it easier also for tensions to emerge inside and these combine and increase confusion and uncertainty."
Papal audiences this week included two meant to bring about healing within the Church. Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn who has spoken out against the actions of Cardinal Angelo Sodano in the past was brought together with him and Pope Benedict on Monday. Also, on Thursday, ex-Bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, who resigned this year reportedly for embezzling and physically abusing children in an orphanage, met with the Pope in the Vatican.
These events, Fr. Lombardi indicated, "demonstrate that (the Pope) is working himself ... to heal the tensions and incomprehensions that afflict the community."
The Vatican spokesman quoted the Holy Father's words from the communique reporting the content of Benedict XVI's audience with Bishop Mixa: "In a time of contrasts and uncertainties, the world expects from Christians the harmonious witness that they, based on their encounter with the risen Lord, are able to offer and in which they help each other as also in all of society to find the right way towards the future."
Fr. Lombardi concluded by saying that "These are the sentiments of the Pope; his exquisitely evangelical witness is clear. We should follow it."