VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Many are recalling the words, actions and achievements of Pope John Paul II this weekend, but the testimony of Benedict XVI is one that stands out among the rest, says a Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi noted in his weekly editorial of the Vatican Television program “Octava Dies” that the current Pontiff “is the first Pope in modern times to proclaim his predecessor blessed, and who was during more than two decades one of his closest collaborators.”
He recalled the interview Benedict XVI gave to the public television station in Poland in October 2005, and broadcast on the recently established Pope John Paul II Day.
At that time, Benedict XVI said that John Paul II “created a new sensitivity for moral values, for the importance of religion in the world.”
“Despite the differences and despite their non-recognition of the Successor of Peter, all Christians have recognized that he is the spokesman of Christianity,” he added. “He was the spokesman of the great values of humanity for non Christians and other religions too.”
The German Pontiff noted that John Paul II “knew how to infuse enthusiasm for Christ in young people,” as well as for the “Church and for difficult values.”
“It was his personality and charisma that helped mobilize the youth of the world for the cause of God and for the love of Christ,” he added.
Moreover, Benedict XVI spoke of his mission as one of continuing the legacy of John Paul II: “My personal mission is not to issue many new documents, but to ensure that his documents are assimilated, because they are a rich treasure, they are the authentic interpretation of Vatican II.
“We know that the Pope was a man of the Council, that he internalized the spirit and the word of the Council. Through these writings he helps us understand what the Council wanted and what it didn’t. This helps us to be the Church of our times and of the future.”
Father Lombardi stated that Benedict XVI has followed through on the “inheritance” left to him by John Paul II: “God, Jesus Christ, the unity of Christians, interreligious dialogue for the good of the person and for all of humanity: these have been since the first day of his pontificate the priorities for Benedict XVI.”
The spokesman added that this “inheritance” has been not simply a list of “indications” to follow, but it has also been a “powerful spiritual inspiration, that arises from his testimony, his life, and his continual spiritual presence in the path of the People of God.”
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On the Net:
Benedict XVI’s interview with Polish TV: www.zenit.org/article-14277?l=english