Benedict XVI's Top 15 "Words"

Used During His First 100 Days

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 27, 2005 ( Here are some of the most striking “words,” as Benedict XVI likes to call the formulation of his thoughts, articulated during the first 100 days of his pontificate.

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First words: “Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope, John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard” — first words after being elected Pope, from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, April 19.

John Paul II: “I seem to feel his strong hand clasping mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and hear his words, at this moment addressed specifically to me, ‘Do not be afraid!'” — first message from the Sistine Chapel, April 20.

Program of pontificate: “My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by him, so that he himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history” — homily during the inaugural Mass of his pontificate, April 24.

Eucharist: “The Sunday precept is not, therefore, an externally-imposed duty, a burden on our shoulders. On the contrary, taking part in the celebration, being nourished by the Eucharistic bread and experiencing the communion of their brothers and sisters in Christ is a need for Christians, it is a joy; Christians can thus replenish the energy they need to continue on the journey we must make every week” — homily during the closing Mass of the Italian National Eucharistic Congress in Bari, May 29.

Ecumenism: “With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter’s current successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers” — first message from the Sistine Chapel, April 20.

Interreligious dialogue and dialogue with non-believers: “Aware of this, I address everyone, including the followers of other religions, or those who are simply seeking an answer to the fundamental questions of life and have not yet found it. I address all with simplicity and affection, to assure them that the Church wants to continue to weave an open and sincere dialogue with them, in the search for the true good of the human being and of society” — first message from the Sistine Chapel, April 20.

Human rights and the defense of life: “The freedom to kill is not true freedom, but a tyranny that reduces the human being to slavery” — homily during the Mass to take possession of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, May 7.

Family: “The Church cannot cease to proclaim that in accordance with God’s plans (cf. Matthew 19:3-9), marriage and the family are irreplaceable and permit no other alternatives” — letter to Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 17.

Relativism: “Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of educating is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own ‘ego'” — address to participants in the ecclesial congress of the Diocese of Rome, June 6.

Solidarity: “To make a concrete response to the appeal of our brothers and sisters in humanity, we must come to grips with the first of these challenges: solidarity among generations, solidarity between countries and entire continents, so that all human beings may share more equitably in the riches of our planet. This is one of the essential services that people of good will must render to humanity. The earth, in fact, can produce enough to nourish all its inhabitants, on the condition that the rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to all” — audience to seven new ambassadors to the Holy See, June 16.

Terrorism: “To all who nurture sentiments of hatred and to all who carry out such repugnant terrorist acts I say: God loves life, which he created, and not death. Stop in the name of God!” — Angelus address, July 10.

On if it’s difficult to be Pope: “In a certain sense, yes. I never thought of this ministry, but the people are very good to me and support me” — statements to journalists, Introd, Italy, July 25.

St. Benedict of Norcia: “He is a fundamental reference point for European unity and a powerful reminder of the indispensable Christian roots of his culture and civilization” — first general audience, April 27.

Judaism: “The history of relations between our two communities has been complex and often painful, yet I am convinced that the ‘spiritual patrimony’ treasured by Christians and Jews is itself the source of the wisdom and inspiration capable of guiding us toward ‘a future of hope’ in accordance with the divine plan” — address to a delegation of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, June 9.

Islam and peace: “I wouldn’t like to generalize. It certainly has elements that could make peace prevail; it also has other elements. We must always try to identify the best elements” — statements to journalists, Introd, Italy, July 25.

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