Today at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope focused his attention on the monk Ambrose Autpert. Drawing on the monk's teachings, the Pope pointed to greed as the root of the global economic crisis.
Continuing his series of teachings on the great writers of the Eastern and Western Churches in the middle ages, the Holy Father explained that Ambrose Autpert "is a little-known author of the eighth century.
Born to a high-ranking family in Provence, France, Autpert was tutor to the future emperor Charlemagne before traveling to Italy to enter a Benedictine monastery. He was ordained a priest in 761 and was elected abbot 16 years later. He died on January 30, 784.
As a monk and abbot, he observed “the lust for profit of the rich and powerful members of the society of his time,” and was moved to write especially to them. In his letter, he denounced, as did the Apostle Paul, “greed as the root of all evil," explained Pope Benedict, highlighting how, "in the light of the current world economic crisis, this still has great relevance. From this root, from greed, this crisis was born."
Autpert's teaching also has relevance the wealthy, who “have the duty to struggle against greed, against the desire to possess, to show off, against a false concept of freedom understood as being able to dispose of everything in accordance with one's own will. The rich must also discover the authentic path of truth, love and a just life," Benedict said.
The Pope went on to highlight Autpert’s “most important work,” his commentary on the Book of Revelation, which he called “the first in-depth commentary in the Latin world on the last book of Holy Scripture." In this work Autpert makes it clear that "the Church cannot be separated from Jesus Christ. He is the Mediator and the Church participates in such mediation because she is His Body."
Autpert also "looks to Mary as a model of the Church," recognizing that the Virgin has "a decisive role in the work of Redemption." Thus, "with good reason is he considered the first great Marian theologian of the West,” the Holy Father explained.
According to Pope Benedict, Ambrose Autpert's world was not unlike the turbulent world today.
"In Ambrose Autpert we see a person who lived in a time of great political manipulation of the Church, a time in which nationalism and tribalism disfigured her face. Yet amidst these difficulties, which we too also experience, he was able to discover the true face of the Church in Mary and the saints, and thus he understood what it means to be Catholic, to be Christian, to live from the Word of God, to enter into its profundity and so experience the mystery of the Mother of God. Let us listen to this message and ask the Lord to help us live the mystery of the Church, also in our own time," the Pope concluded.