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Vatican spokesman calls Benedict XVI's pontificate 'rich and full'
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.- In the midst of difficulties, the Holy Father continues to pursue the priorities of his pontificate with “consistency and courage,” stated Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi on his weekly television program this past Saturday. He briefly reviewed the milestones of Pope Benedict’s tenure, noting the “rich and full balance” the Pope has struck “between serving God and humanity.”

Reflecting on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate on his weekly television Vatican Television show, “Octava Dies,” Fr. Lombardi observed that to gain a proper perspective on the period, “we must return to the Sistine Chapel.” From this venue on the morning following his election, the Holy Father spoke of the spiritual legacy of Pope John Paul II and indicated the priorities that would be the focus of his pontificate, recalled the Vatican spokesman.

On April 20, 2005, the Holy Father directed his first address to the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel, clearly stating his wish to renew his "unconditional promise of fidelity" to the Lord and his intention "to serve him alone," dedicating himself completely to the service of his Church.

Among the priorities the Pope spoke of on that day, Fr. Lombardi listed “man’s relationship with God” as revealed by Christ and found in the Eucharist and Church worship, a tireless commitment to “full and visible” Christian unity and a response to the “call for help” from a fearful and uncertain modern humanity for answers regarding its future.

Fr. Lombardi noted another priority for Pope Benedict is to work for an “open and sincere dialogue” on the ecumenical and inter-religious fronts.

“There is no doubt,” he related, “that these have been the real priorities of the pontificate, pursued with consistency and courage in a context often not without tensions and obstacles.”

Reviewing the major journeys the Pope has taken and his substantial contributions to society through his writings, Fr. Lombardi commented that it was not his own light that the Pope declared he would shine on that day, “but that of Christ.”

The Vatican spokesman finished his weekly editorial by saying, “The pontificate thus far has seen a rich and full balance between serving God and humanity.

It is, he said, “A path to continue with a sure course.”

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