He called the rings "a sign of dignity, pastoral solicitude and ever stronger communion with the See of Peter."
homily, Benedict recalled that the previous day’s celebration coincided
with the liturgical Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, during
which, he said, "we recognize the origins of the Church."
began from there," he said. "Every historical achievement of the Church
and every one of her institutions must be shaped by that primordial
wellspring. They must be shaped by Christ, the incarnate Word of God."
The Pope gave particular attention to the word “beloved”, with which the Angel Gabriel addresses the Virgin Mary.
pointed out, “observes that no such title had ever been given to a
human being, and that it is unparalleled in all of Sacred Scripture. It
is a title expressed in passive form, but this 'passivity' of Mary ...
implies her free consent. ... In being loved, Mary is fully active,
because she accepts with personal generosity the wave of God's love
poured out upon her."
Turning then, to
the day’s reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews, the pontiff
said that the mystery of the double 'yes' to God from Christ and from
the Virgin must illuminate the lives of the ministers of the Church,
and support the cardinals in their mission as the "Senate of Peter's
He said that
“Today's event emphasizes the Petrine principle of the Church, in the
light of the other, Marian, principle which is even more fundamental.”
of the Marian principle in the Church”, Benedict recalled, “was
particularly highlighted, after the [Second Vatican Council], by my
beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II, in keeping with his motto 'Totus
the Church, every institution and ministry, including that of Peter and
his successors,” he stressed, “is 'included' under the Virgin's mantle,
within the grace-filled horizon of her 'yes' to God's will. ... The
theme of the relationship between the Petrine principle and the Marian
principle is also to be found in the symbol of the ring which I am
about to consign to you.
He called the
ring a “nuptial sign” saying that it must remind the cardinals that
“first and foremost you are intimately united with Christ so as to
accomplish your mission as bridegrooms of the Church, ... which you are
called to serve with the love of a spouse.”
In this light,
the Pope said that “the two dimensions of the Church, Marian and
Petrine, come together in the supreme value of charity, which
constitutes the fulfillment of each."
this world will pass away. In eternity only Love will remain," said the
Holy Father who went on to recall how the Virgin, after receiving the
Angel's message, went to he cousin Elizabeth "'in order to be of
service to her.' ... Those who love forget about themselves and place
themselves at the service of their neighbor.”
This, he said is
the “image and model of the Church…Every ecclesial community, like the
Mother of Christ, is called to accept with total generosity the mystery
of God Who comes to dwell within her and guides her steps in the ways
concluded by saying that “this is the path along which I chose to
launch my pontificate, inviting everyone, with my first Encyclical, to
build up the Church in charity as a 'community of love'."
Saturday, Pope Benedict celebrated Mass with the 15 new cardinals
created in Friday’s consistory. In presenting them with their new
ecclesial rings of office, he compared their new roles to that of
spouses, stressing their duty to serve with love.