VATICAN CITY, JUNE 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Monday before praying the midday Angelus with crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Dear brothers and sisters:
Today we solemnly celebrate the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, special patrons of the Church of Rome: Peter, the fisherman from Galilee, “the first to confess the faith … [who] gathered the earliest Church from among the flock of Israel”; Paul, the former persecutor of Christians who “proclaimed [the faith’s] deepest mysteries […] the teacher and doctor who announced salvation to all people” (cf. Preface of the Mass for today).
In one of his homilies to the community of Rome, Pope St. Leo the Great affirmed, “These are your fathers and true pastors, who have established you so that you would thus be inserted into the heavenly kingdom” (Sermo I in Nat. App Petri et Pauli, c I, PL 54,422). On the occasion of this feast, I would like to direct a particularly warm greeting, joined to my fervent wishes of congratulations, to the diocesan community of Rome, which Divine Providence has entrusted to my care as the Successor of the Apostle Peter. It is a greeting that I happily extend to all the inhabitants of our city and the pilgrims and tourists who are visiting us during this time, which also coincides with the closing of the Pauline year.
Dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord bless you and protect you through the intercession of Sts. Peter and Paul! As your pastor, I exhort you to remain faithful to your Christian vocation, to resist being conformed to the mentality of this world — as the Apostle to the Gentiles wrote precisely to the Christians of Rome — and always to allow yourselves to be transformed and renewed by the Gospel, to follow what is truly good and pleasing to God (cf. Romans 12:2).
I pray constantly for this, so that Rome will keep alive its Christian vocation, not only conserving unaltered its immense spiritual and cultural patrimony, but also so that its residents can turn the beauty of the faith they have received into concrete ways of thinking and acting, and thereby offer to those who arrive to this city for various reasons, an atmosphere full of humanity and Gospel values. Therefore — in the words of St. Peter — I invite you, dear brothers and sisters, disciples of Christ, to be “living stones,” packed together around him who is the “living stone, rejected by men, but chosen and precious in the sight of God” (cf. 1 Peter 2:4).
Today’s solemnity also has a universal character: It expresses the unity and catholicity of the Church. That’s why every year on this date, the new metropolitan archbishops come to Rome to receive the pallium, the symbol of communion with the Successor of Peter. I renew my greeting to these brothers in the episcopate for whom this morning in the basilica I have performed this gesture, and the faithful who accompany them.
I also warmly greet the delegation from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which has come to Rome, like every year, for the celebration of Sts. Peter and Paul. May the common veneration of these martyrs be a pledge for a communion among Christians from every part of the world that is ever more complete and heartfelt. For this, let us invoke the maternal intercession of Mary, the Mother of the one Church of Christ, with the customary recitation of the Angelus.[After the prayer, the Holy Father continued in Italian:]
The publication of my third encyclical is near. [It] is called “Caritas in Veritate.” Taking up again the social themes in “Populorum Progressio,” written by the Servant of God Paul VI in 1967, this document — dated in fact today, June 29, feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul — aims to go deeper in certain aspects of the integral development of our age, in the light of charity in truth. I entrust to your prayer this new contribution that the Church offers to humanity in its commitment to sustainable progress, in full respect of human dignity and the real needs everyone has.[Translation by ZENIT] [Then the Pope greeted the people in various languages. In English, he said:]
I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus, including the new Metropolitan Archbishops who have received the pallium, accompanied by their relatives and friends. I also extend a warm welcome to the Delegation of the Patriarch of Constantinople, present for this joyous celebration. May the Apostles Peter and Paul inspire all Christians, and especially our new Archbishops, to continue to bear clear and generous witnesses to the Gospel. God bless you all!
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