In Conflict, Look to Rome, Pope Recommends

Considers Example of 12th Century Monk

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2009 ( When there is conflict in the Church, the way to find sound doctrine, as well as serenity, is following the See of Peter, Benedict XVI says.

The Pope noted how this truth is taught by the example of Rupert of Deutz, a 12th-century Benedictine monk. The Holy Father considered the life and teaching of Rupert during today’s general audience.

He recounted how the monk had firsthand experience of the conflict between the empire and the Church, as the two entities clashed over the right to appoint bishops.

Rupert’s abbot was exiled in the midst of the turmoil, and the young monk followed him, refusing to be ordained at the hands of a bishop who was opposed to the Pope.

«Rupert teaches us that when controversies arise in the Church, reference to the Petrine ministry guarantees fidelity to sound doctrine and gives interior serenity and liberty,» Benedict XVI said.

Christ’s presence

Rupert was also embroiled in theological debates of the day, the Pope observed.

The monk «forcefully defended the reality of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist,» the Holy Father noted, offering in this regard another lesson appropriate for today.

The Pope said that also in our times, there is the danger of considering the Eucharist «almost as just a rite of communion, of socialization, forgetting too easily that the risen Christ is really present — with his risen body — which is placed in our hands to draw us out of ourselves, to be incorporated in his immortal body and thus lead us to new life. This great mystery that the Lord is present in all his reality in the Eucharistic species is a mystery to be adored and loved always anew.»

In other debates of his day, Rupert «insisted that the origin of evil is to be found in man’s mistaken use of freedom, not in the positive will of God,» the Pope continued. And he also «contributed to the medieval discussion of the purpose of the Incarnation, which he set within the vast vision of history centered on Christ.»

Finally, his teaching «on the dignity and privileges of the Virgin Mary, presented with a broad ecclesiological context, would prove influential for later theology and find an echo in the doctrine of the Second Vatican Council.»

The Bishop of Rome noted the monk’s «ability to harmonize the rational study of the mysteries of faith with prayer and contemplation,» saying this makes him a «typical representative of the monastic theology of his time.»

«His example,» the Holy Father added, «inspires us to draw near to Christ, present among us in his Word and in the Eucharist, and to rejoice in the knowledge that he remains with us at every moment of our lives and throughout history.»

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