Aide: Lefebvrite Letter Places Gospel at Center

Spokesman Comments on Papal Message

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2009 ( The letter Benedict XVI sent Thursday to the world’s bishops to explain the lifting of the excommunications of four Lefebvrite served to place the Gospel at the center of the Church’s life, explained a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, analyzed the letter, which he called “original, in straightforward and personal style,” in his editorial on the most recent episode of the Vatican Television program “Octava Dies.”

“The occasion, as everyone knows, was the discussions touched off by the decision to lift the excommunications of the four bishops who were ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre,» explained Father Lombardi. «The Pope clearly explains the nature, limits and intention of this decision, namely, the seeking of unity even when it is difficult.

«But the letter has an even larger meaning, because it becomes a powerful witness to the priority for and Benedict XVI and his criteria in his service governing the Church.”

“The Pope again stresses, in fact, the great priorities of his pontificate: bringing people to God, the God who reveals himself in the Bible and in Christ; Christian unity and ecumenism; dialogue among believers in God, that is, interreligious dialogue for peace in the world; the social dimension of Christian charity,” he added.

According to Father Lombardi, “these are the priorities that were well known to us from Benedict XVI’s first speech in the Sistine Chapel, priorities that he has faithfully translated into practice every day with his words and deeds. But the Pope also forcefully brings to light the criterion that guides his governing and the spirit that animates him.

“It is the Gospel, the new law of Christ. If he dedicates himself to and is a promoter of a way of reconciliation that stirs up so much resistance, it is because the Lord has told us that if our ‘brother has something against us’ we must leave our offering at the altar and go first and reconcile ourselves with him.”

“And the Gospel must be taken seriously, without watering it down,» the spokesman concluded. «The commandment of love is demanding.

«Let us thank the Pope for having testified once again with such effectiveness to the Church and the world that God comes first, and the Jesus’ Gospel is best way to him.»

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