BRESCIA, Italy, NOV. 8, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Pope Paul VI’s priesthood was under the protection of Mary and devotion to her accompanied him for his whole life, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope spoke of his predecessor today before praying the midday Angelus with crowds who attended a Mass the Holy Father celebrated in Brescia, where Giovanni Montini was born. Benedict XVI made a one-day trip to Paul VI’s birthplace today.
With a brief discourse, the German Pontiff highlighted a particular contribution Paul VI made to marian devotion.
“[H]is Nov. 21, 1964, address at the closing of the third session of the Second Vatican Council is memorable,” the Pope said. “During that session of the council the Constitution on the Church, ‘Lumen Gentium,’ was promulgated. The document had, as Paul VI noted, ‘an entire chapter dedicated to the Madonna as its apex and crown.’
“[Paul VI] noted that it contained the largest synthesis of marian doctrine ever elaborated by an ecumenical council, with the purpose of ‘manifesting the countenance of the Church to which Mary is intimately joined.'”
It was in this context that Paul VI proclaimed Mary Most Holy Mother of the Church, Benedict XVI recalled, “underscoring with lively ecumenical sensitivity that ‘devotion to Mary … is a means essentially ordained to orient souls to Christ and thus join them to the Father, in the love of the Holy Spirit.'”
“Echoing the words of Paul VI,” the Holy Father concluded, “we too today pray: O Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to you we commend this Church of Brescia and all the people of this region. Remember all your children; bring their prayers before God; keep their faith firm; strengthen their hope; make their charity grow. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of Angelus address: www.zenit.org/article-27484?l=english