VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican spokesman is affirming that in the past year, through his messages to the world, Benedict XVI has succeeded in bringing God to men and men to God.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, stated this in an assessment of the pontificate on the fourth anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger’s election to the Chair of Peter — celebrated today — in his editorial on “Octava Dies.”
“One year ago,” the priest recalled, “Benedict XVI celebrated his birthday and the anniversary of his election while he was in the United States and addressed himself to the people of the world from the seat of the United Nations.”
He continued: “His travels continued to other shores: in July he was in Australia to meet the representatives of the youth of the world; in September in France, in Paris and Lourdes, reference points of European culture and spirituality; a few weeks ago he was in Africa, to encourage the hope of people desirous of redemption and to advance the path toward a new continental synod.”
“Four trips, four continents,” Father Lombardi said, observing that in less than a month the Pope will touch a fifth continent, Asia, “to make a pilgrimage in faith to the places of the Holy Land and to speak about reconciliation in a land that is crucial for the dialogue between the great religions and for peace in the world.”
Faith and dialogue
The Jesuit also noted “the great synod on the Word of God,” that gathered the bishops of the world together at the Vatican in October of 2008. He described it as a “true time of grace for the Church” that brought to light “the wealth of a catechesis and of a spiritual magisterium that enriches and nourishes whoever opens his ears to listen.”
The priest stated that the meaning of the pontificate of Benedict XVI could be summed up in this formula: “Bringing God to men and men to God, the God that manifests himself in the countenance of Christ, and translating faith into dialogue, by force of unity and in the witness of active charity.”
The goal, Father Lombardi said, as the Pope himself reemphasized in his recent letter to the bishops of the world, is that of taking care that “a brief period of tensions in the Church and around her does not make us lose sight of the center, that which is truly essential, or make us forget the vastness of the task and the historical, cultural and spiritual frontiers to which it is directed.”
With this in mind, the priest said that he looks ahead to a fifth year of the pontificate that will open with a difficult pilgrimage that will include Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.
“Every person of good will and peace cannot but accompany the Pope to the Holy Land with the most sincere wishes and with deep human and spiritual solidarity,” he concluded.