The theme of his
Wednesday audience this week was ‘Service to communion within the
Church.’ It continues an ongoing catechesis series about the union of
Christ and the Church in light of the apostles.
particularly windy day in Rome, the pontiff, at one point, was forced
to hand his skullcap over to an aid to keep it from blowing away.
The Holy Father
began by saying that "The source of the communion of the disciples,
both with one another and with God, is the Spirit that pours the love
of God into our hearts."
Church is,” he continued, quoting St. Irenaeus, “there is the Spirit of
God, and where the Spirit is, there is the Church and all grace."
explained that "This intimate link with the Spirit does not eliminate
our humanity with all its weaknesses, as the community of disciples is
well aware." Proof of this, he added, is "constituted above all by the
contrasts concerning the truth of faith and the subsequent lacerations
Citing the First
Letter of John in the New Testament, the Pope said that “these
potential tensions within the experience of communion” are nothing new.
"No voice in the
New Testament”, he said, “rises with greater force to highlight the
reality and the duty of fraternal love between Christians; yet the same
voice addresses itself with drastic severity to the adversaries who
were members of the community but are so no longer.”
“The Church of
love”, he stressed, “is also the Church of truth, primarily understood
as being faithful to the Gospel that Christ entrusted to His followers."
The Holy Father
said that true communion "arises from a faith inspired by apostolic
preaching, it is nourished by the breaking of bread and by prayer, and
it is expressed in fraternal charity and in service.”
Because of this,
“The Apostles and their successors are…the custodians and authoritative
witnesses of the deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, just as they
are also ministers of the charity revealed and donated by the Lord
Jesus. In this way, theirs is above all a service of love; and the
charity they live and promote is inseparable from the truth they defend
love”, the Pope highlighted, “are two faces of the same gift that comes
from God and that, thanks to the apostolic ministry, is safeguarded
within the Church, reaching down to our own time."
people were on hand in St. Peter’s Square this morning to hear Pope
Benedict XVI as he chided those who break communion with and within the
Church by abandoning truth and denying the faith.