Church responsible for spreading Christ's kingdom, Pope recalls

Pope Benedict XVI Credit Mazur CNA500x315 Vatican Catholic News 5 29 12 Pope Benedict XVI. | Mazur/

After he celebrated Mass with six new cardinals for the feast of Christ the King, Pope Benedict spoke about God's kingdom and the Church's role in making it present in the world.

 "The whole mission of Jesus and the content of his message consists in proclaiming the Kingdom of God and its practical application in the midst of men with signs and wonders," he said on the feast of Christ the King.

"But, as recalled by Vatican Council II, the Kingdom first manifests itself in the person of Christ, who established it through his death on the cross and his resurrection," he said.

"This Kingdom of Christ has been given to the Church, which is the seed and the beginning, and it has the task of proclaiming and spreading it among all nations by the power of the Holy Spirit."

The Pope also reminded the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Nov. 25 Angelus prayer that "at the end of the prescribed time, the Lord will deliver the kingdom to God the Father and offer him all those who have lived according to the commandment of love."

Pope Benedict then turned his attention to the Gospel for today's feast.

He recalled that Pilate asked Jesus if he is a king and Jesus replied 'Yes, I'm a king. I was born for this. I came unto the world for this: to bear witness to the truth and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.'

The Pope explained that all Christians are called to "prolong God's saving work by converting ourselves to the Gospel, by placing ourselves with conviction in the footsteps of that King who came not to be served but to serve and to bear witness to the truth."

"In this perspective," he added, "I invite everyone to pray for the six new cardinals that I created yesterday, that the Holy Spirit may strengthen them in faith and charity and fill them with his gifts, so that they may live their new responsibilities as a further commitment to Christ and his kingdom."

The new members of the College of Cardinals, he said, "represent well the universal dimension of the Church and one of them has long been at service of the Holy Spirit," referring to American Cardinal James Michael Harvey.

He was head of the Papal Household for 14 years, in charge of arranging the Pope's schedule, including private and public audiences and looked after visiting world leaders. He will now serve as the cardinal-deacon for San Pio V a Villa Carpegna and as archpriest of the St. Paul Outside the Walls Basilica.

Pope Benedict pointed out that on Dec. 1 Rome's university students will partake in a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter to celebrate the Year of Faith. Their visit will include the Pope celebrating First Vespers with them on the first Sunday of Advent.

The pontiff then offered a warm welcome to all the visitors and pilgrims in different languages.

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