He's Preaching With His Suffering, Says Cardinal Ratzinger

John Paul II “Shares in the Passion of Christ”

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ROME, MARCH 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke with John Paul II and later said that the Pope’s suffering these days is another way of preaching.

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith contended that pain lived with Christ and with those who suffer is decisive for the Church and the world, which tries in vain to banish suffering.

“The example of a suffering Pope is very important and we have witnessed it in the last years: to suffer is a special way of preaching,” the cardinal explained on Vatican Radio’s German program, after meeting with the Pope at the Gemelli Polyclinic. The Holy Father is recovering from a tracheotomy operation.

“Because of the many letters they have sent me, as well as numerous direct testimonies, I have understood that many people who are suffering now feel that they are finally accepted,” added the dean of the College of Cardinals.

“The association of persons suffering from Parkinson’s wrote me to thank the Pope, as it helps patients to rehabilitate, so to speak, their image, as the Holy Father has the courage to appear in public as a person who suffers and continues working,” he said.

“John Paul II has communicated many things to us through his suffering: that suffering is a phase in life’s journey and that he shares in the passion of Jesus Christ,” Cardinal Ratzinger added.

In this way, it can be fruitful “when we share it with the Lord and live it with all those who suffer in the world,” he continued. “Suffering takes on great value and can be something positive.

“If we take into account the Pope’s activity and life, we understand that this is an important message, especially in a world which tends to conceal or do away with pain, which cannot be eliminated.”

According to Cardinal Ratzinger, John Paul II’s latest book, “Memory and Identity,” reveals in a particular way how the Pope sees the meaning of evil and pain.

Especially since the 1981 assassination attempt, the Pope believes that the Polish religious Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), the messenger of Divine Mercy, offered a theological lead in her response to the reasons why God permits evil.

God, the cardinal said, “does not oppose evil with violence; he limits it through his compassion, he does not commit evil, but receives and accepts human beings and the world in their suffering.”

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