The Words that Benedict XVI Adds Spontaneously, When He Preaches to the Faithful
March 13, 2008 by Irenaeus
Textual analyses of five of his most recent Wednesday catechesis, on Saint Augustine. The words that the pope added spontaneously, beyond the written text, are underlined. They’re on the themes closest to his heart
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, March 11, 2008 – Last Wednesday, Benedict XVI dedicated his weekly audience with the faithful and the pilgrims to a catechesis on Pope St. Leo the Great.
Joseph Ratzinger recalled that he was not only “at the same time both a theologian and a pastor,” but was “also the first pope whose preaching has reached us today, first addressed to the people who gathered around him during the liturgies.” It is a preaching that consists of “very beautiful sermons” written in “splendid and clear Latin.”
And he added:
“It comes naturally to think of him also in the context of the current Wednesday general audiences, appointments that over the past two decades have become for the bishop of Rome a normal form of the encounter with the faithful and with the many visitors from every part of the world.”
These words are enough to indicate how Benedict XVI recognizes in himself many traits of this great predecessor, who was a respected advocate of the primacy of Peter and of the bishops of Rome – a primacy that was “necessary then as it is today” – a sure teacher of faith in Christ as true God and true man, in a time of great Christological disputes, and an authoritative celebrant of a Christian liturgy that “is not the memory of past events, but the actualization of invisible realities at work in the life of each person.”
Before turning to St. Leo the Great, Benedict XVI dedicated his Wednesday audiences to other Fathers of the Church, after dedicating a previous cycle of audiences to the Apostles and to other figures of the New Testament.
After the Easter season, the pope will dedicate catecheses to other great Patristic figures like Gregory the Great, and then, little by little, to Western and Eastern pioneers of medieval theology like Anselm, Bernard, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Gregory Palamas.