Bookmark and Share

Papa Benedict XVI's Apostolic Visit to Portugal

11th - 14th May 2010

Papa Benedict XVI was a pilgrim to Portugal over the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Francisco and Jacinta. The theme of the visit was "With You We Walk in Hope: Wisdom and Mission".

After the official welcome at Lisbon airport and a meeting at Belém Presidential Palace, Papa Bento XVI celebrated Mass in Terreiro do Paço, gave a message in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Christ the King Shrine in Almada and greeted the young people gathered outside the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon, where he was staying.

On Day 2 of his pilgrimage, BXVI met with the world of culture in the Cultural Center of Belém, before traveling to Fátima, where he prayed to Our Lady in the Chapel of Apparitions before celebrating vespers with priests, religious, deacons and seminarians, in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity where Pope Benedict XVI made an act of entrustment and consecration of priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The day ended with the recitation of the Rosary during the vigil of prayer at the Shrine.

On 13 May, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Papa Benedetto celebrated Holy Mass on the Esplanade, blessing the sick during a time of adoration afterwards and then meeting social pastoral care organisations and then the bishops of Portugal.

Benedicto XVI was in Porto on his final day, celebrating Holy Mass again in the open air and greeting the faithful gathered in Avenida dos Aliados before departing back to Rome from Porto airport. On his flight to Portugal, BXVI had spoken with journalists.

Discurso do Papa Bento XVI na acolhimento oficial
Aeroporto da Portela, Lisboa, Terça-feira, 11 de Maio de 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Senhor Presidente da República, Ilustres Autoridades da Nação,
Venerados Irmãos no Episcopado, Senhoras e Senhores!
Só agora me foi possível aceder aos amáveis convites do Senhor Presidente e dos meus Irmãos Bispos para visitar esta amada e antiga Nação, que comemora no corrente ano um século da proclamação da República. Ao pisar o seu solo pela primeira vez desde que a Providência divina me chamou à Sé de Pedro, sinto-me honrado e agradecido pela presença deferente e acolhedora de todos vós. Agradeço-lhe, Senhor Presidente, as suas cordiais expressões de boas-vindas, dando voz aos sentimentos e esperanças do bom povo português. Para todos, independentemente da sua fé e religião, vai a minha saudação amiga, com um pensamento particular para quantos não podem vir ao meu encontro. Venho como peregrino de Nossa Senhora de Fátima, investido pelo Alto na missão de confirmar os meus irmãos que avançam na sua peregrinação a caminho do Céu.

Logo aos alvores da nacionalidade, o povo português voltou-se para o Sucessor de Pedro esperando na sua arbitragem para ver reconhecida a própria existência como Nação; mais tarde, um meu Predecessor havia de honrar Portugal, na pessoa do seu Rei, com o título de fidelíssimo (cf. Pio II, Bula Dum tuam, 25/I/1460), por altos e continuados serviços à causa do Evangelho. Que depois, há 93 anos, o Céu se abrisse precisamente sobre Portugal – como uma janela de esperança que Deus abre quando o homem lhe fecha a porta – para reatar, no seio da família humana, os laços da solidariedade fraterna assente no mútuo reconhecimento de um só e mesmo Pai, trata-se de um amoroso desígnio de Deus; não dependeu do Papa nem de qualquer outra autoridade eclesial: «Não foi a Igreja que impôs Fátima – diria o Cardeal Manuel Cerejeira, de veneranda memória –, mas Fátima que se impôs à Igreja».

Veio do Céu a Virgem Maria para nos recordar verdades do Evangelho que são para a humanidade, fria de amor e desesperada de salvação, fonte de esperança. Naturalmente esta esperança tem como dimensão primária e radical, não a relação horizontal, mas a vertical e transcendente. A relação com Deus é constitutiva do ser humano: foi criado e ordenado para Deus, procura a verdade na sua estrutura cognitiva, tende ao bem na esfera volitiva, é atraído pela beleza na dimensão estética. A consciência é cristã na medida em que se abre à plenitude da vida e da sabedoria, que temos em Jesus Cristo. A visita, que agora inicio sob o signo da esperança, pretende ser uma proposta de sabedoria e de missão.

De uma visão sábia sobre a vida e sobre o mundo deriva o ordenamento justo da sociedade. Situada na história, a Igreja está aberta a colaborar com quem não marginaliza nem privatiza a essencial consideração do sentido humano da vida. Não se trata de um confronto ético entre um sistema laico e um sistema religioso, mas de uma questão de sentido à qual se entrega a própria liberdade. O que divide é o valor dado à problemática do sentido e a sua implicação na vida pública. A viragem republicana, operada há cem anos em Portugal, abriu, na distinção entre Igreja e Estado, um espaço novo de liberdade para a Igreja, que as duas Concordatas de 1940 e 2004  formalizariam, em contextos culturais e perspectivas eclesiais bem demarcados por rápida mudança. Os sofrimentos causados pelas mutações foram enfrentados geralmente com coragem. Viver na pluralidade de sistemas de valores e de quadros éticos exige uma viagem ao centro de si mesmo e ao cerne do cristianismo para reforçar a qualidade do testemunho até à santidade, inventar caminhos de missão até à radicalidade do martírio.

Queridos irmãos e amigos portugueses, agradeço-vos uma vez mais as calorosas boas-vindas. Deus abençoe a quantos aqui se encontram e todos os habitantes desta nobre e dilecta Nação, que confio a Nossa Senhora de Fátima, imagem sublime do amor de Deus que a todos abraça como filhos."

Saudação do Papa Bento XVI ao Pessoal do Palácio de Belém
Palácio de Belém, Lisboa , 1Terça-feira, 11 de Maio de 2010- in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Queridos Amigos!
No âmbito da minha visita ao Senhor Presidente, não podia deixar de vos ver e saudar a vós que colaborais para bem servir os altos objectivos da Presidência da República e cuidar deste belo Palácio e a quantos nele vivem ou são recebidos. Pelo que me diz respeito, o meu sincero agradecimento com votos do melhor êxito nas respectivas funções. Asseguro-vos uma especial recordação nas minhas orações de cada um e cada uma de vós com os seus familiares. Queira o bom Deus do Céu abençoar-vos e fortalecer-vos com a sua graça e a sua luz para poderdes, através da consideração que demonstrais uns pelos outros no lugar de trabalho e mediante a vossa solicitude pelo bem comum que servis, favorecer no centenário da República Portuguesa uma sociedade mais justa e um futuro melhor para todos. Sobre todos, desça a bênção de Deus Todo-Poderoso Pai, Filho e Espírito Santo."

Homilia do Papa Bento XVI na Santa Missa
Praça Terreiro do Paço de Lisboa, 11 de Maio de 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Queridos Irmãos e Irmãs, Jovens amigos!
«Ide fazer discípulos de todas as nações, […] ensinai-lhes a cumprir tudo quanto vos mandei. E Eu estou sempre convosco, até ao fim dos tempos» (Mt 28, 20). Estas palavras de Cristo ressuscitado revestem-se de um significado particular nesta cidade de Lisboa, donde partiram em grande número gerações e gerações de cristãos – bispos, sacerdotes, consagrados e leigos, homens e mulheres, jovens e menos jovens –, obedecendo ao apelo do Senhor e armados simplesmente com esta certeza que lhes deixou: «Eu estou sempre convosco». Glorioso é o lugar conquistado por Portugal entre as nações pelo serviço prestado à dilatação da fé: nas cinco partes do mundo, há Igrejas locais que tiveram origem na missionação portuguesa.

Nos tempos passados, a vossa saída em demanda de outros povos não impediu nem destruiu os vínculos com o que éreis e acreditáveis, mas, com sabedoria cristã, pudestes transplantar experiências e particularidades abrindo-vos ao contributo dos outros para serdes vós próprios, em aparente debilidade que é força. Hoje, participando na edificação da Comunidade Europeia, levai o contributo da vossa identidade cultural e religiosa. De facto, Jesus Cristo, assim como Se uniu aos discípulos a caminho de Emaús, assim também caminha connosco segundo a sua promessa: «Estou sempre convosco, até ao fim dos tempos». Apesar de ser diferente da dos Apóstolos, temos também nós uma verdadeira e pessoal experiência da presença do Senhor ressuscitado. A distância dos séculos é superada e o Ressuscitado oferece-Se vivo e operante, por nós, no hoje da Igreja e do mundo. Esta é a nossa grande alegria. No rio vivo da Tradição eclesial, Cristo não está a dois mil anos de distância, mas está realmente presente entre nós e dá-nos a Verdade, dá-nos a luz que nos faz viver e encontrar a estrada para o futuro.

Presente na sua Palavra, na assembleia do Povo de Deus com os seus Pastores e, de modo eminente, no sacramento do seu Corpo e do seu Sangue, Jesus está connosco aqui. Saúdo o Senhor Cardeal-Patriarca de Lisboa, a quem agradeço as calorosas palavras que me dirigiu, no início da celebração, em nome da sua comunidade que me acolhe e que abraço nos seus quase dois milhões de filhos e filhas; a todos vós aqui presentes – amados Irmãos no episcopado e no sacerdócio, prezadas mulheres e homens consagrados e leigos comprometidos, queridas famílias e jovens, baptizados e catecúmenos – dirijo a minha saudação fraterna e amiga, que estendo a quantos estão unidos connosco através da rádio e da televisão. Sentidamente agradeço a presença do Senhor Presidente da República e demais Autoridades, com menção particular do Presidente da Câmara de Lisboa que teve a amabilidade de honrar-me com a entrega das chaves da cidade.

Lisboa amiga, porto e abrigo de tantas esperanças que te confiava quem partia e pretendia quem te visitava, gostava hoje de usar as chaves que me entregas para alicerçar as tuas esperanças humanas na Esperança divina. Na leitura há pouco proclamada da Epístola de São Pedro, ouvimos dizer: «Eu vou pôr em Sião uma pedra angular, escolhida e preciosa. E quem nela acreditar não será confundido». E o Apóstolo explica: «Aproximai-vos do Senhor. Ele é a pedra viva, rejeitada, é certo, pelos homens, mas aos olhos de Deus escolhida e preciosa» (1 Pd 2, 6.4). Irmãos e irmãs, quem acreditar em Jesus não será confundido: é Palavra de Deus, que não Se engana nem pode enganar. Palavra confirmada por uma «multidão que ninguém pode contar e provém de todas as nações, tribos, povos e línguas», e que o autor do Apocalipse viu vestida de «túnicas brancas e com palmas na mão» (Ap 7, 9). Nesta multidão incontável, não estão apenas os Santos Veríssimo, Máxima e Júlia, aqui martirizados na perseguição de Diocleciano, ou São Vicente, diácono e mártir, padroeiro principal do Patriarcado;  Santo António e São João de Brito que daqui partiram para semear a boa semente de Deus noutras terras e gentes, ou São Nuno de Santa Maria que, há pouco mais de um ano, inscrevi no livro dos Santos. Mas é formada pelos «servos do nosso Deus» de todos os tempos e lugares, em cuja fronte foi traçado o sinal da cruz com «o sinete de marcar do Deus vivo» (Ap 7, 2): o Espírito Santo. Trata-se do rito inicial cumprido sobre cada um de nós no sacramento do Baptismo, pelo qual a Igreja dá à luz os «santos».

Sabemos que não lhe faltam filhos insubmissos e até rebeldes, mas é nos Santos que a Igreja reconhece os seus traços característicos e, precisamente neles, saboreia a sua alegria mais profunda. Irmana-os, a todos, a vontade de encarnar na sua existência o Evangelho, sob o impulso do eterno animador do Povo de Deus que é o Espírito Santo. Fixando os seus Santos, esta Igreja local concluiu justamente que a prioridade pastoral hoje é fazer de cada mulher e homem cristão uma presença irradiante da perspectiva evangélica no meio do mundo, na família, na cultura, na economia, na política. Muitas vezes preocupamo-nos afanosamente com as consequências sociais, culturais e políticas da fé, dando por suposto que a fé existe, o que é cada vez menos realista. Colocou-se uma confiança talvez excessiva nas estruturas e nos programas eclesiais, na distribuição de poderes e funções; mas que acontece se o sal se tornar insípido?

Para isso é preciso voltar a anunciar com vigor e alegria o acontecimento da morte e ressurreição de Cristo, coração do cristianismo, fulcro e sustentáculo da nossa fé, alavanca poderosa das nossas certezas, vento impetuoso que varre qualquer medo e indecisão, qualquer dúvida e cálculo humano. A ressurreição de Cristo assegura-nos que nenhuma força adversa poderá jamais destruir a Igreja. Portanto a nossa fé tem fundamento, mas é preciso que esta fé se torne vida em cada um de nós. Assim há um vasto esforço capilar a fazer para que cada cristão se transforme em testemunha capaz de dar conta a todos e sempre da esperança que o anima (cf. 1 Pd 3, 15): só Cristo pode satisfazer plenamente os anseios profundos de cada coração humano e responder às suas questões mais inquietantes acerca do sofrimento, da injustiça e do mal, sobre a morte e a vida do Além.

Queridos Irmãos e jovens amigos, Cristo está sempre connosco e caminha sempre com a sua Igreja, acompanha-a e guarda-a, como Ele nos disse: «Eu estou sempre convosco, até ao fim dos tempos» (Mt 28, 20). Nunca duvideis da sua presença! Procurai sempre o Senhor Jesus, crescei na amizade com Ele, comungai-O. Aprendei a ouvir e a conhecer a sua palavra e também a reconhecê-Lo nos pobres. Vivei a vossa vida com alegria e entusiasmo, certos da sua presença e da sua amizade gratuita, generosa, fiel até à morte de cruz. Testemunhai a alegria desta sua presença forte e suave a todos, a começar pelos da vossa idade. Dizei-lhes que é belo ser amigo de Jesus e que vale a pena segui-Lo. Com o vosso entusiasmo, mostrai que, entre tantos modos de viver que hoje o mundo parece oferecer-nos – todos aparentemente do mesmo nível –, só seguindo Jesus é que se encontra o verdadeiro sentido da vida e, consequentemente, a alegria verdadeira e duradoura.

Buscai diariamente a protecção de Maria, a Mãe do Senhor e espelho de toda a santidade. Ela, a Toda Santa, ajudar-vos-á a ser fiéis discípulos do seu Filho Jesus Cristo."

Mensagem no Cinquentenário do Monumento a Cristo-Rei em Almada
Terreiro do Paço, Lisboa, 11 de Maio de 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Queridos Irmãos e Irmãs,
Neste momento, dirijo o olhar para a outra margem do Tejo onde se ergue o Monumento a Cristo-Rei, quase no encerramento das comemorações dos seus 50 anos. Na impossibilidade de visitar o santuário – como desejava Dom Gilberto, Bispo de Setúbal – quero daqui apontar às novas gerações os exemplos de esperança em Deus e lealdade ao voto feito, que nos deixaram esculpidos no mesmo os Bispos e fiéis cristãos de então, em sinal de amor e gratidão pela preservação da paz em Portugal. Dali a imagem de Cristo estende os braços a Portugal inteiro como que a lembrar-lhe a Cruz onde Jesus obteve a paz do universo e Se manifestou Rei e servo, porque o verdadeiro Salvador da humanidade.

Na sua função de santuário, seja cada vez mais lugar para cada fiel rever como os critérios do Reino de Cristo estão  impressos na sua vida de consagração baptismal, para fomentar a construção do amor, da justiça e da paz com intervenções na sociedade a favor dos pobres e oprimidos, para centrar a espiritualidade das comunidades cristãs em Cristo, Senhor e Juiz da história.

Para quantos dinamizam e servem no Santuário de Cristo-Rei, para os seus peregrinos e todos os diocesanos de Setúbal, imploro abundantes bênçãos do Céu, criadoras de esperança e paz duradouras nos corações, nas famílias e na sociedade.

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Saudação do Papa Bento XVI aos Jovens reunidos
Nunciatura Apostólica, Lisboa, 11 de Maio de 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Queridos amigos,
Gostei da participação viva e numerosa dos jovens na Eucaristia desta tarde no Terreiro do Paço, dando provas da sua fé e vontade de construir o futuro sobre o Evangelho de Jesus Cristo. Obrigado pelo testemunho jubiloso que prestais a Cristo, eternamente jovem, e pelo carinho que manifestais ao seu pobre Vigário na terra com esta serenata. Viestes desejar-me a boa-noite, e de coração vo-lo agradeço; mas agora tendes de me deixar dormir, senão a noite não seria boa, e o dia de amanhã está à nossa espera.

Sinto-me feliz por poder unir-me à multidão dos peregrinos de Fátima no décimo aniversário da Beatificação de Francisco e Jacinta. Estes, com a ajuda de Nossa Senhora, aprenderam a ver a luz de Deus nos seus corações e a adorá-la na sua vida. Que a Virgem Maria vos alcance a mesma graça e vos proteja! Continuo a contar convosco e com as vossas orações para que esta Visita a Portugal seja frutuosa. E agora, com grande afecto vos dou a minha Bênção, em nome do Pai e do Filho e do Espírito Santo.
Boa noite! Até amanhã. Muito obrigado!"

Benedict XVI's address at a meeting with the world of culture
Cultural Center of Belém, Lisbon, 12 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brother Bishops, Distinguished Authorities,
Eminent representatives of the arts and sciences, Dear friends,
I am very pleased to meet you, men and women devoted to research and expansion in the various fields of knowledge, and worthy representatives of the rich world of culture in Portugal. I take this occasion to express my deep esteem and appreciation of you and your work. The Government, represented here by the Minister for Culture, to whom I extend my respectful and warm greetings, gives praiseworthy support to the national priorities of the world of culture. I am grateful to all those who have made this meeting possible, particularly the Cultural Commission of the Bishops’ Conference and its President, Bishop Manuel Clemente, whom I thank for his kind words of welcome and his presentation of the multifaceted reality of Portuguese culture, represented here by some of its most distinguished leaders. Their sentiments and expectations have been expressed by film director Manoel de Oliveira, a man venerable in years and in professional activity, to whom I extend my affectionate greetings and esteem. I also thank him for his kind words, which have given a glimpse of the concerns and the mood of the soul of Portugal in this turbulent period of the life of society.

Today’s culture is in fact permeated by a “tension” which at times takes the form of a “conflict” between the present and tradition. The dynamic movement of society gives absolute value to the present, isolating it from the cultural legacy of the past, without attempting to trace a path for the future. This emphasis on the “present” as a source of inspiration for the meaning of life, both individual and social, nonetheless clashes with the powerful cultural tradition of the Portuguese people, deeply marked by the millenary influence of Christianity and by a sense of global responsibility. This came to the fore in the adventure of the Discoveries and in the missionary zeal which shared the gift of faith with other peoples. The Christian ideal of universality and fraternity inspired this common adventure, even though influences from the Enlightenment and laicism also made themselves felt. This tradition gave rise to what could be called a “wisdom”, that is to say, an understanding of life and history which included a corpus of ethical values and an “ideal” to be realized by Portugal, which has always sought to establish relations with the rest of the world.

The Church appears as the champion of a healthy and lofty tradition, whose rich contribution she sets at the service of society. Society continues to respect and appreciate her service to the common good but distances itself from that “wisdom” which is part of her legacy. This “conflict” between tradition and the present finds expression in the crisis of truth, yet only truth can provide direction and trace the path of a fulfilled existence both for individuals and for a people. Indeed, a people no longer conscious of its own truth ends up by being lost in the maze of time and history, deprived of clearly defined values and lacking great and clearly formulated goals. Dear friends, much still needs to be learned about the form in which the Church takes her place in the world, helping society to understand that the proclamation of truth is a service which she offers to society, and opening new horizons for the future, horizons of grandeur and dignity. The Church, in effect, has “a mission of truth to accomplish, in every time and circumstance, for a society that is attuned to man, to his dignity, to his vocation. […] Fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom (cf Jn 8, 32) and of the possibility of integral human development. For this reason the Church searches for truth, proclaims it tirelessly and recognizes it wherever it is manifested. This mission of truth is something that the Church can never renounce” (Caritas in Veritate, 9). For a society made up mainly of Catholics, and whose culture has been profoundly marked by Christianity, the search for truth apart from Christ proves dramatic. For Christians, Truth is divine; it is the eternal “Logos” which found human expression in Jesus Christ, who could objectively state: “I am the truth” (Jn 14, 6). The Church, in her adherence to the eternal character of truth, is in the process of learning how to live with respect for other “truths” and for the truth of others. Through this respect, open to dialogue, new doors can be opened to the transmission of truth.

“The Church – wrote Pope Paul VI – must enter into dialogue with the world in which she lives. The Church becomes word, she becomes message, she becomes dialogue” (Ecclesiam Suam, 67). Dialogue, without ambiguity and marked by respect for those taking part, is a priority in today’s world, and the Church does not intend to withdraw from it. A testimony to this is the Holy See’s presence in several international organizations, as for example her presence at the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre, established 20 years ago here in Lisbon, which is focused on intercultural dialogue with a view to promoting cooperation between Europe, the southern Mediterranean and Africa, and building a global citizenship based on human rights and civic responsibility, independent of ethnic origin or political allegiance, and respectful of religious beliefs. Given the reality of cultural diversity, people need not only to accept the existence of the culture of others, but also to aspire to be enriched by it and to offer to it whatever they possess that is good, true and beautiful.

Ours is a time which calls for the best of our efforts, prophetic courage and a renewed capacity to “point out new worlds to the world”, to use the words of your national poet (Luís de Camões, Os Lusíades, II, 45). You who are representatives of culture in all its forms, forgers of thought and opinion, “thanks to your talent, have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement. […] Do not be afraid to approach the first and last source of beauty, to enter into dialogue with believers, with those who, like yourselves, consider that they are pilgrims in this world and in history towards infinite Beauty!” (Address to Artists, 21 November 2009).

Precisely so as “to place the modern world in contact with the life-giving and perennial energies of the Gospel” (John XXIII, Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis, 3), the Second Vatican Council was convened. There the Church, on the basis of a renewed awareness of the Catholic tradition, took seriously and discerned, transformed and overcame the fundamental critiques that gave rise to the modern world, the Reformation and the Enlightenment. In this way the Church herself accepted and refashioned the best of the requirements of modernity by transcending them on the one hand and, on the other, by avoiding their errors and dead ends. The Council laid the foundation for an authentic Catholic renewal and for a new civilization – “the civilization of love” – as an evangelical service to man and society.

Dear friends, the Church considers that her most important mission in today’s culture is to keep alive the search for truth, and consequently for God; to bring people to look beyond penultimate realities and to seek those that are ultimate. I invite you to deepen your knowledge of God as He has revealed himself in Jesus Christ for our complete fulfilment. Produce beautiful things, but above all make your lives places of beauty. May Our Lady of Belém intercede for you, she who has been venerated down through the centuries by navigators, and is venerated today by the navigators of Goodness, Truth and Beauty."

Papa Benedict XVI's Prayer to Our Lady
Chapel of Apparitions, Esplanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima, 12 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Our Lady,
Mother of all men and women,
I come before you as a son
visiting his Mother,
and I do so in company
with a multitude of brothers and sisters.
As the Successor of Peter,
to whom was entrusted the mission
of presiding in the service
of charity in the Church of Christ
and of confirming all in faith and in hope,
I wish to present to your
Immaculate Heart
the joys and hopes
as well as the problems and sufferings
of each one of these sons and daughters of yours
who are gathered in the Cova di Iria
or who are praying with us from afar.

Mother most gentle,
you know each one by name,
you know each one’s face and personal history,
and you love them all
with maternal benevolence
that wells up from the very heart of Divine Love.
I entrust and consecrate them all to you,
Mary Most Holy,
Mother of God and our Mother."

Cantors and Assembly:
We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 1)

Holy Father:
"The Venerable Pope John Paul II,
who visited you three times here in Fatima
and thanked the “unseen hand”
that rescued him from death
in the assassination attempt on 13 May
in Saint Peter’s Square almost thirty years ago,
wanted to offer to the Shrine of Fatima
a bullet which gravely wounded him
and was placed in the crown of the Queen of Peace.
It is a profound consolation
to know that you are crowned
not only with the silver
and gold of our joys and hopes,
but also with the “bullet”
of our anxieties and sufferings.
I thank you, beloved Mother,
for the prayers and sacrifices
that the shepherd-children
of Fatima offered for the Pope,
led by the sentiments
that you inspired in them in the apparitions.
I also thank all those who,
every day,
pray for the Successor of Peter
and for his intentions,
that the Pope may be strong in faith,
bold in hope and zealous in love."

Cantors and Assembly:
We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 2)

Holy Father:
"Beloved Mother of us all,
here in your Shrine at Fatima I consign
the Golden Rose
that I have brought from Rome
as a homage of gratitude from the Pope
for the marvels that the Almighty
has worked through you
in the hearts of so many who come as pilgrims
to this your maternal home.
I am sure that the shepherd-children of Fatima,
Blessed Francisco and Jacinta
and the Servant of God Lucia of Jesus,
are united with us at this hour of prayer and jubilation."

Cantors and Assembly:
"We sing to you and we praise you, O Mary (v. 5)."

Papa Benedict XVI's address with Priests, Religious, Seminarians & Deacons
Vespers in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Fátima, 12 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son born of woman, […] so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4, 4,5). The fullness of time came when the Eternal broke into time; by the grace of the Holy Spirit the Son of the Most High was conceived and became man in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, type and lofty model of the believing Church. The Church does not cease to beget new sons in the Son, whom the Father willed to be the first-born of many brothers. Each one of us is called to be with Mary and like Mary, a humble and simple sign of the Church who offers herself constantly as a spouse into the hands of her Lord.

To all of you who have given your life to Christ I wish to express this evening the Church’s appreciation and recognition. Thank you for your witness, often silent and certainly not easy; thank you for your fidelity to the Gospel and to the Church. In Jesus, present in the Eucharist, I embrace my brothers in the priesthood and the deacons, the consecrated women and men, the seminarians and the members of the movements and new ecclesial communities present. May the Lord reward, as He alone can and does, all those who have made it possible for us to gather together before the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I mention especially the Episcopal Commission for Vocations and Ministries, with its President, Bishop António Santos, whom I thank for his greeting, full of collegial and fraternal affection, at the beginning of Vespers. In this “upper room” of faith which is Fatima, the Virgin Mother shows us the way to place our pure and holy offering into the hands of the Father.

Let me open my heart and tell you that the greatest concern of every Christian, especially of every consecrated person or minister of the altar, must be fidelity, loyalty to one’s own vocation, as a disciple who wishes to follow the Lord. Faithfulness over time is the name of love, of a consistent, true and profound love for Christ the Priest. “Since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of his Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalistic ethic and a shallow religiosity” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31). In this Year for Priests which is drawing to its close, may grace in abundance come down upon you that you may live joyfully your consecration and bear witness to your priestly fidelity grounded in the fidelity of Christ. This evidently supposes true intimacy with Christ in prayer, since it is the powerful and intense experience of the Lord’s love that brings priests and consecrated persons to respond to his love in a way that is exclusive and spousal.

This life of special consecration was born to keep the Gospel always before the People of God, as a reminder which manifests, certifies and proclaims to the whole Church the radical nature of the Gospel and the coming of the Kingdom. Dear consecrated men and women, by your dedication to prayer, asceticism and growth in the spiritual life, to apostolic action and mission, you are progressing towards the heavenly Jerusalem, you are a foretaste of the eschatological Church, solid in her possession and loving contemplation of God who is love. How much we need this witness today! Many of our brothers and sisters live as if there were nothing beyond this life, and without concern for their eternal salvation. Men and women are called to know and love God, and the Church has the mission to assist them in this calling. We know well that God is the master of his gifts and that conversion is a grace. But we are responsible for proclaiming the faith, the whole faith, with all its demands. Dear friends, let us imitate the Curé of Ars who prayed to the Lord in the following words: “Grant me the conversion of my parish, and I accept to suffer all that you wish for the rest of my life.” And he did everything to pull people away from their own lukewarm attitude in order to lead them back to love.

There exists a deep solidarity among all the members of the Body of Christ. It is not possible to love Christ without loving his brothers and sisters. For their salvation John Mary Vianney decided to become a priest: “to win souls for the good God”, as he said when, at eighteen years of age, he announced his vocation, just as Paul had said: “to win as many as I could” (1 Cor 9, 19). The Vicar General had told him: “there is not much love of God in the parish; you will bring it there”. In his priestly passion, this holy parish priest was merciful like Jesus in meeting each sinner. He preferred to insist on the attractive aspect of virtue, on God’s mercy, in comparison to which our sins are like “grains of sand”. He pointed to the merciful love of God which had been offended. He feared that priests would become “insensitive” and accustomed to the indifference of their faithful: “Woe to the Pastor – he would warn – who remains silent while God is offended and souls are lost”.

Dear brother priests, in this place, which Mary has made special, keep before your eyes her vocation as a faithful disciple of her Son Jesus from the moment of his conception to the Cross, and then beyond, along the path of the nascent Church, and consider the unheard-of grace of your priesthood. Fidelity to one’s vocation requires courage and trust, but the Lord also wishes that you join forces: that you be concerned for one another and support one another fraternally. Moments of common prayer and study, and sharing in the demands of the priestly life and work, are a necessary part of your life. It is a fine thing when you welcome one another into your homes with the peace of Christ in your hearts! It is important to assist one another with prayer, helpful advice and discernment! Be especially attentive to those situations where there is a certain weakening of priestly ideals or dedication to activities not fully consonant with what is proper for a minister of Jesus Christ. Then is the time to take a firm stand, with an attitude of warm fraternal love, as brother assisting his brother to “remain on his feet”.

The priesthood of Christ is eternal (cf Heb 5, 6), but the life of priests is limited. Christ has willed that others continue in time the priestly ministry that He instituted. Keep alive in your hearts, and in others around you, the desire to raise up – in cooperation with the grace of the Holy Spirit – new priestly vocations among the faithful. Trustful and persevering prayer, joyful love of one’s own vocation and commitment to the work of spiritual direction will allow you to discern the charism of vocation in those whom God calls.

Dear seminarians, who have taken the first step towards the priesthood and are preparing in the major seminary or in houses of formation, the Pope encourages you to be conscious of the great responsibility which you will have to assume. Carefully examine your intentions and your motivations. Devote yourselves with a steadfast heart and a generous spirit to your training. The Eucharist, which is the centre of Christian life and the school of humility and service, should be your first love. Adoration, piety and care for the Most Holy Sacrament during these years of preparation will lead you one day to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Altar in an edifying and devout manner.

Along this path of fidelity, beloved priests and deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and committed lay persons, may the Blessed Virgin Mary guide us. With her and like her, we are free so as to be saints; free so as to be poor, chaste and obedient; free for all because detached from all, free from self so that others may grow in Christ, the true Holy One of the Father and the Shepherd to whom priests, as his presence, lend their voice and their gestures; free to bring to today’s world Jesus who died and rose again, Jesus who remains with us until the end of time and who gives himself to all in the Most Holy Eucharist."

Pope Benedict XVI 's Act of Entrustment and Consecration of Priests
to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Fátima, Wednesday 12 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Immaculate Mother,
in this place of grace,
called together by the love of your Son Jesus
the Eternal High Priest, we,
sons in the Son and his priests,
consecrate ourselves to your maternal Heart,
in order to carry out faithfully the Father’s Will.

We are mindful that, without Jesus,
we can do nothing good (cf Jn 15, 5)
and that only through him, with him and in him,
will we be instruments of salvation
for the world.

Bride of the Holy Spirit,
obtain for us the inestimable gift
of transformation in Christ.
Through the same power of the Spirit that
overshadowed you,
making you the Mother of the Saviour,
help us to bring Christ your Son
to birth in ourselves too.
May the Church
be thus renewed by priests who are holy,
priests transfigured by the grace of him
who makes all things new.

Mother of Mercy,
it was your Son Jesus who called us
to become like him:
light of the world and salt of the earth (cf Mt 5, 13-14).

Help us,
through your powerful intercession,
never to fall short of this sublime vocation,
nor to give way to our selfishness,
to the allurements of the world
and to the wiles of the Evil One.

Preserve us with your purity,
guard us with your humility
and enfold us with your maternal love
that is reflected in so many souls
consecrated to you,
who have become for us
true spiritual mothers.

Mother of the Church,
we priests want to be pastors
who do not feed themselves
but rather give themselves to God for their brethren,
finding their happiness in this.
Not only with words, but with our lives,
we want to repeat humbly,
day after day,
Our “here I am”.

Guided by you,
we want to be Apostles
of Divine Mercy,
glad to celebrate every day
the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar
and to offer to those who request it
the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Advocate and Mediatrix of grace,
you who are fully immersed
in the one universal mediation of Christ,
invoke upon us, from God,
a heart completely renewed
that loves God with all its strength
and serves mankind as you did.

Repeat to the Lord
your efficacious word:
“They have no wine” (Jn 2, 3),
so that the Father and the Son will send upon us
a new outpouring of
the Holy Spirit.
Full of wonder and gratitude
at your continuing presence in our midst,
in the name of all priests
I too want to cry out:
“Why is this granted me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1, 43).

Our Mother for all time,
do not tire of “visiting us”,
consoling us, sustaining us.
Come to our aid
and deliver us from every danger
that threatens us.
With this act of entrustment and consecration,
we wish to welcome you
more deeply, more radically,
for ever and totally
into our human and priestly lives.

Let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth
in the desert of our loneliness,
let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness,
let it restore calm after the tempest,
so that all mankind shall see the salvation
of the Lord,
who has the name and the face of Jesus,
who is reflected in our hearts,
for ever united to yours! Amen!"

Papa Benedetto's words at the recitation of the Holy Rosary
Chapel of Apparitions, Fátima, 12 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear pilgrims,
All of you, standing together with lighted candles in your hands, seem like a sea of light around this simple chapel, lovingly built to the honour of the Mother of God and our mother, whose path from earth to heaven appeared to the shepherd children like a way of light. However, neither Mary nor we have a light of our own: we receive it from Jesus. His presence within us renews the mystery and the call of the burning bush which once drew Moses on Mount Sinai and still fascinates those aware of the light within us which burns without consuming us (cf Ex 3, 2-5). We are merely a bush, but one upon which the glory of God has now come down. To Him therefore be every glory, and to us the humble confession of our nothingness and the unworthy adoration of the divine plan which will be fulfilled when “God will be all in all” (cf 1 Cor 15, 28). The matchless servant of that plan was the Virgin full of grace: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1, 38).

Dear pilgrims, let us imitate Mary, letting her words “Let it be done to me” resound in our lives. God ordered Moses: “Take off your shoes, for the place on which you stand is holy ground” (Ex 3, 5). And that is what he did: he would put his shoes back on to free his people from slavery in Egypt and to guide them to the promised land. This was not about the possession of a parcel of land or about the national territory to which every people has a right; in the struggle for the freedom of Israel and in the exodus from Egypt, what appears central is above all the freedom to worship, the freedom of a religion of one’s own. Throughout the history of the chosen people, the promise of a homeland comes more and more to mean this: the land is granted in order to be a place of obedience, a window open to God.

In our time, in which the faith in many places seems like a light in danger of being snuffed out for ever, the highest priority is to make God visible in the world and to open to humanity a way to God. And not to any god, but to the God who had spoken on Sinai; the God whose face we recognize in the love borne to the very end (cf Jn 13, 1) in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Dear brothers and sisters, worship Christ the Lord in your hearts (cf 1 Pet 3, 15)! Do not be afraid to talk of God and to manifest without fear the signs of faith, letting the light of Christ shine in the presence of the people of today, just as the Church which gives birth to humanity as the family of God sings on the night of the Easter Vigil.

Brothers and sisters, in this place it is amazing to think how three children entrusted themselves to the interior force which had enflamed them in the apparitions of the Angel and of our heavenly Mother. In this place where we were repeatedly requested to recite the rosary, let us allow ourselves to be attracted by the mysteries of Christ, the mysteries of Mary’s rosary. The recitation of the rosary allows us to fix our gaze and our hearts upon Jesus, just like his Mother, the supreme model of contemplation of the Son. Meditating upon the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries as we pray our Hail Marys, let us reflect upon the interior mystery of Jesus, from the Incarnation, through the Cross, to the glory of the Resurrection; let us contemplate the intimate participation of Mary in the mystery of our life in Christ today, a life which is also made up of joy and sorrow, of darkness and light, of fear and hope. Grace invades our hearts, provoking a wish for an incisive and evangelical change of life so that we can say with Saint Paul: “For me to live is Christ” (Phil 1, 21) in a communion of life and destiny with Christ.

The devotion and affection of all of you, the faithful who have come here from all around the world, is clear to me. I bring with me the worries and hopes of our times, the sufferings of our wounded humanity and the problems of the world, and I place them at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima: Virgin Mother of God and our own dear Mother, intercede for us before your Son, that the family of nations, both those called Christians and those who do not yet know the Saviour, may live in peace and harmony, in order that they come together as the one people of God, to the glory of the most holy and indivisible Trinity. Amen."

Papa Bento XVI's Homily at Holy Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
splanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima, 13 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Pilgrims,
“Their descendants shall be renowned among the nations […], they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61, 9). So the first reading of this Eucharist began, and its words are wonderfully fulfilled in this assembly devoutly gathered at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima. Dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I too have come as a pilgrim to Fatima, to this “home” from which Mary chose to speak to us in modern times. I have come to Fatima to rejoice in Mary’s presence and maternal protection. I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation, converges upon this place. I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings. Finally, I have come to Fatima with the same sentiments as those of Blessed Francisco and Jacinta, and the Servant of God Lúcia, in order to entrust to Our Lady the intimate confession that “I love” Jesus, that the Church, that priests “love” Jesus and desire to keep their gaze fixed upon Him as this Year for Priests comes to its end, and in order to entrust to Mary’s maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a welcoming and beneficent.

These are the “people whom the Lord has blessed”. The people whom the Lord has blessed are you, the beloved Diocese of Leiria-Fatima, with your pastor, Bishop Antonio Marto. I thank him for his words of greeting at the beginning of Mass, and for the gracious hospitality shown particularly by his collaborators at this Shrine. I greet the President of the Republic and the other authorities who serve this glorious Nation. I spiritually embrace all the dioceses of Portugal, represented here by their Bishops, and I entrust to Heaven all the nations and peoples of the earth. In God I embrace all their sons and daughters, particularly the afflicted or outcast, with the desire of bringing them that great hope which burns in my own heart, and which here, in Fatima, can be palpably felt. May our great hope sink roots in the lives of each of you, dear pilgrims, and of all those who join us through the communications media.

Yes! The Lord, our great hope, is with us. In his merciful love, He offers a future to his people: a future of communion with Himself. After experiencing the mercy and consolation of God who did not forsake them along their wearisome return from the Babylonian exile, the people of God cried out: “I greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being exults in my God” (Is 61, 10). The resplendent daughter of this people is the Virgin Mary of Nazareth who, clothed with grace and sweetly marvelling at God’s presence in her womb, made this joy and hope her own in the canticle of the Magnificat: “My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. She did not see herself as one privileged in the midst of a barren people, but prophecied for them the sweet joys of a wondrous maternity of God, for “his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” (Lk 1, 47,50).

This holy place is the proof of it. In seven years you will return here to celebrate the centenary of the first visit made by the Lady “come from heaven”, the Teacher who introduced the little seers to a deep knowledge of the Love of the Blessed Trinity and led them to savour God himself as the most beautiful reality of human existence. This experience of grace made them fall in love with God in Jesus, so much so that Jacinta could cry out: “How much I delight in telling Jesus that I love him! When I tell him this often, I feel as if I have a fire in my breast, yet it does not burn me”. And Francisco could say: “What I liked most of all was seeing Our Lord in that light which Our Mother put into our hearts. I love God so much!” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 42 and 126).

Brothers and sisters, in listening to these innocent and profound mystical confidences of the shepherd children, one might look at them with a touch of envy for what they were able to see, or with the disappointed resignation of someone who was not so fortunate, yet still demands to see. To such persons, the Pope says, as does Jesus: “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” (Mk 12, 24). The Scriptures invite us to believe: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (Jn 20, 29), but God, who is more deeply present to me than I am to myself (cf St Augustine, Confessions, III, 6, 11) – has the power to come to us, particularly through our inner senses, so that the soul can receive the gentle touch of a reality which is beyond the senses and which enables us to reach what is not accessible or visible to the senses. For this to happen, we must cultivate an interior watchfulness of the heart which, for most of the time, we do not possess on account of the powerful pressure exerted by outside realities and the images and concerns which fill our soul (cf Theological Commentary on The Message of Fatima, 2000). Yes! God can come to us, and show Himself to the eyes of our heart.

Moreover, that Light deep within the shepherd children, which comes from the future of God, is the same Light which was manifested in the fullness of time and came for us all: the Son of God made man. He has the power to inflame the coldest and saddest of hearts, as we see in the case of the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf Lk 24, 32). Henceforth our hope has a real foundation, it is based on an event which belongs to history and at the same time transcends history: Jesus of Nazareth. The enthusiasm roused by his wisdom and his saving power among the people of that time was such that a woman in the midst of the crowd – as we heard in the Gospel – cried out: “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nursed you!”. And Jesus said: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Lk 11, 27-28). But who finds time to hear God’s word and to let themselves be attracted by his love? Who keeps watch, in the night of doubt and uncertainty, with a heart vigilant in prayer? Who awaits the dawn of the new day, fanning the flame of faith? Faith in God opens before us the horizon of a sure hope, one which does not disappoint; it indicates a solid foundation on which to base one’s life without fear; it demands a faith-filled surrender into the hands of the Love which sustains the world.

“Their descendants shall be known among the nations, […] they are a people whom the Lord has blessed” (Is 61:9) with an unshakable hope which bears fruit in a love which sacrifices for others, yet does not sacrifice others. Rather, as we heard in the second reading, this love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13, 7). An example and encouragement is to be found in the shepherd children, who offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God. Our Lady helped them to open their hearts to universal love. Blessed Jacinta, in particular, proved tireless in sharing with the needy and in making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.  Only with this fraternal and generous love will we succeed in building the civilization of love and peace.

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4, 9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and He does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which He will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162).

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity."

Papa Benedicto XVI's words to the sick & greeting to all the pilgrims
splanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima, 13 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear brothers and sisters who are sick,
Before I walk among you carrying the monstrance containing Jesus present in the Eucharist, I would like to offer you a word of encouragement and hope, a word which I extend to all those following us on television and radio, and to those without even such means, but who are united to us by the deeper bonds of the Spirit, that is, in faith and prayer.

My brother and my sister, in the eyes of God you are “worth so much to God that he himself became man in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way — in flesh and blood — as is revealed to us in the account of Jesus's Passion. Hence in all human suffering we are joined by one who experiences and carries that suffering with us; hence con-solatio is present in all suffering, the consolation of God's compassionate love — and so the star of hope rises” (Spe Salvi, 39). With such hope in your heart, you can leave behind the quicksand of illness and death and stand on the firm rock of divine love. In other words, you can overcome the feeling of the uselessness of suffering which consumes a person from within and makes him feel a burden to those around him when, in reality, suffering which is lived with Jesus assists in the salvation of your brethren.

How is this possible? Because the spring of divine power rises in the midst of human weakness. This is the paradox of the Gospel. Therefore, the divine Master, instead of explaining the reasons for suffering, preferred to call everyone to follow him, saying: Take up your cross and follow me (cf Mk 8, 34). Come with me. With your suffering, take part in the work of salvation which is realized through my suffering, by means of my cross. As you gradually embrace your own cross, uniting yourself spiritually to my cross, the salvific meaning of suffering will be revealed to you. In suffering, you will discover an interior peace and even spiritual joy.

Dear friends who are sick, welcome the call of Jesus who will shortly pass among you in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and entrust to Him every setback and pain that you face, so that they become - according to his design – a means of redemption for the whole world. You will be redeemers with the Redeemer, just as you are sons in the Son. At the cross… stands the mother of Jesus, our mother."

Il Santo Padre rivolge un saluto alla moltitudine dei pellegrini, in diverse lingue:

"Chers pèlerins francophones, venus chercher ici, à Fatima, auprès du cœur de Marie, la Mère de Jésus, un supplément d’espérance afin d’être autour de vous source de consolation et d’encouragement sur les routes humaines: que Notre-Dame vous protège et intercède pour tous ceux que vous aimez! Ma Bénédiction vous accompagne!

I welcome the English-speaking pilgrims present today who have come from near and far. As we offer our fervent prayers to our Lady of Fátima, I encourage you to ask her to intercede for the needs of the Church throughout the world. I cordially invoke God’s blessing upon all of you, and in a particular way upon the young and those who are sick.

Ganz herzlich grüße ich alle deutschsprachigen Pilger. Auch heute ruft uns die Muttergottes hier in Fatima zum Gebet für die Bekehrung der Sünder und den Frieden in der Welt auf. Gerne vertraue ich euch und eure Familien ihrem unbefleckten Herzen an. Maria führe euch zu ihrem Sohn Jesus Christus.

Queridos peregrinos de lengua española, que habéis acudido con entusiasmo a este encuentro ante la Virgen de Fátima para compartir con tantos otros devotos vuestra confianza y fervor a nuestra Madre del cielo, la Santísima Virgen María. Que ella os lleve con ternura y mano segura hacia Cristo, su Hijo, y sea así fuente de gozosa esperanza y de firmeza en la fe. Muchas gracias.

Con affetto mi rivolgo ora ai pellegrini italiani e a quanti dall’Italia sono spiritualmente uniti a noi. Cari fratelli e sorelle, da Fatima, dove la Vergine Maria ha lasciato un segno indelebile del suo amore materno, invoco la sua protezione su di voi, sulle vostre famiglie, specialmente su quanti sono nella prova. Vi benedico di cuore!

Pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Gromadzi nas tu Niepokalana Matka Boga, która w tym miejscu zechciała pozostawić ludzkości przesłanie pokoju. Wiąże się ono z wezwaniem do zawierzenia i pełnej nadziei modlitwy, abyśmy mogli przyjąć łaskę miłosierdzia, którą Ona nieustannie wyprasza u swego Syna dla kolejnych pokoleń. W tym duchu polecam Jej opiece Was, wasze rodziny i wspólnoty, i z serca Wam błogosławię.

Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, sob o olhar materno de Nossa Senhora de Fátima, saúdo a todos vós que aqui viestes dos vários países lusófonos à procura de conforto e de esperança. Dando-nos Jesus, Maria é a verdadeira fonte da esperança. A Ela vos entrego e acompanho com a minha Bênção."

Papa Benedetto's Homily with Social Pastoral Care Organizations
Celebration of the Word, Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Thursday 13 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear Friends,
You have heard Jesus say: “Go and do likewise” (Lk 10, 37). He exhorts us to imitate the example of the Good Samaritan, which was just now proclaimed, when approaching situations which call for fraternal assistance. And what is this example? It is that of “a heart which sees”. “This heart sees where love is needed and acts accordingly” (Deus Caritas Est, 31). This is how the Good Samaritan acted. Jesus does not only exhort us; as the Fathers of the Church taught, He is Himself the Good Shepherd who draws near to each man and “pours upon his wounds the oil of consolation and the wine of hope” (Portuguese Common Preface VIII). Christ then leads him to the inn, which is the Church, entrusts him to the care of his ministers and pays in person, beforehand, for his healing. “Go and do likewise”. The unconditional love of Jesus which has healed us must now become a love bestowed freely and generously, through justice and charity, if we want to live with a good Samaritan’s heart.

I am very happy to meet you in this holy place where God chose to remind mankind, through Mary, of his plan of merciful love. I offer a friendly greeting to all of you, and to the institutions which you represent. Yours is a variety of faces, all one in concern for social issues and, above all, in showing compassion to the poor, the infirm, prisoners, the lonely and abandoned, the disabled, children and the elderly, migrants, the unemployed and all those who experience needs which compromise personal dignity and freedom. I thank Bishop Carlos Azevedo for the pledge of communion and fidelity to the Church and to the Pope which he has expressed both on the part of this assembly of charity and of the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Social Work of which he is President, which constantly encourages this great sowing of charitable works throughout Portugal. Conscious, as the Church, of not being able to provide practical solutions to each concrete problem, and lacking any kind of power, yet determined to serve the common good, you are ready to assist and to offer the means of salvation to all.

Dear brothers and sisters working in the vast world of charity, “Christ reveals to us that ‘God is love’ (1 Jn 4, 8) and at the same time teaches that the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love. He assures those who trust in the charity of God that the way of love is open to all” (Gaudium et Spes, 38). History presently offers us a scenario of socio-economic, cultural and spiritual crisis, which highlights the need for a discernment guided by a creative proposal of the Church’s social message. The study of her social doctrine, which takes charity as its principal strength and guide, will make possible a process of integral human development capable of engaging the depths of the human heart and achieving a greater humanization of society (cf Caritas in Veritate, 20). This is not simply a matter of intellectual knowledge, but of a wisdom which can provide creativity, a sort of flavour and seasoning, to the intellectual and practical approaches aimed at meeting this broad and complex crisis. May the Church’s institutions, together with all non-ecclesial organizations, perfect their theoretical analyses and their concrete directives in view of a new and grandiose process capable of leading to “that civilization of love, whose seed God has planted in every people, in every culture” (ibid, 33).

In its social and political dimension, this service of charity is the proper realm of the lay faithful, who are called
organically to promote justice and the common good, and to configure social life correctly (cf Deus Caritas Est, 29). One pastoral conclusion which emerged in your recent reflections is that a new generation of servant leaders needs to be trained. Attracting new lay workers for this pastoral field surely calls for particular concern on the part of the Church’s pastors as they look to the future. Anyone who learns from the God who is Love will inevitably be a person for others. In effect, “the love of God is revealed in responsibility for others” (Spe Salvi, 28). United to Christ in his consecration to the Father, we are seized by his compassion for the multitudes who cry out for justice and solidarity, and like the Good Samaritan in the parable, committed to providing concrete and generous responses.

Often, however, it is not easy to arrive at a satisfactory synthesis between spiritual life and apostolic activity. The pressure exerted by the prevailing culture, which constantly holds up a lifestyle based on the law of the stronger, on easy and attractive gain, ends up influencing our ways of thinking, our projects and the goals of our service, and risks emptying them of the motivation of faith and Christian hope which had originally inspired them. The many pressing requests which we receive for support and assistance from the poor and marginalized of society impel us to look for solutions which correspond to the logic of efficiency, quantifiable effects and publicity. Nonetheless, the synthesis which I mentioned above is absolutely necessary, dear brothers and sisters, if you are to serve Christ in the men and women who look to you. In this world of division, all of us are called to have a profound and authentic unity of heart, spirit and action.

The many social institutions which serve the common good, and are close to those in need, include those of the Catholic Church. The guiding principles of the latter need to be clear, so that they can be clearly identifiable by the inspiration of their aims, in the choice of their human resources, in their methods of operation, in the quality of their services, and in the serious and effective management of their means. The solid identity of these institutions provides a real service, and is of great help to those who benefit from them. Beyond this issue of identity, and connected with it, it is a fundamental step to ensure that Christian charitable activity is granted autonomy and independence from politics and ideologies (cf Deus Caritas Est, 31b), even while cooperating with state agencies in the pursuit of common goals.

The services you provide and your educational and charitable activities must all be crowned by projects of freedom whose goal is human promotion and universal fraternity. Here we can locate the urgent commitment of Christians in defence of human rights, with concern for the totality of the human person in its various dimensions. I express my deep appreciation for all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socio-economic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion, and are openly concerned to defend life and to promote the reconciliation and healing of those harmed by the tragedy of abortion. Initiatives aimed at protecting the essential and primary values of life, beginning at conception, and of the family based on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today’s most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good. Such initiatives represent, alongside numerous other forms of commitment, essential elements in the building of the civilization of love.

All this fits very closely with the message of Our Lady which resounds in this place: penance, prayer and forgiveness aimed at the conversion of hearts. In this way you are building the civilization of love, whose seeds God has sown in the heart of every man and woman, to which faith in Christ the Saviour gives abundant growth."

Discurso do Papa Bento XVI em um encontro com os Bispos de Portugal
Salão das Conferências de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Fátima,  Quinta-feira, 13 de Maio de 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Venerados e queridos Irmãos no Episcopado,
Dou graças a Deus pela oportunidade de vos encontrar a todos aqui no coração espiritual de Portugal, que é o Santuário de Fátima, onde multidões de peregrinos, vindos dos mais variados lugares da terra, procuram reaver ou reforçar em si mesmos as certezas do Céu. Entre eles veio de Roma o Sucessor de Pedro, acedendo aos repetidos convites recebidos e movido por uma dívida de gratidão à Virgem Maria, que aqui comunicara aos seus videntes e peregrinos um intenso amor pelo Santo Padre que frutifica numa vigorosa retaguarda de oração com Jesus à cabeça: Pedro, «Eu roguei por ti, a fim de que a tua fé não desfaleça. E tu, uma vez convertido, fortalece os teus irmãos» (Lc 22, 32).

Como vedes, o Papa precisa de abrir-se cada vez mais ao mistério da Cruz, abraçando-a como única esperança e derradeiro caminho para ganhar e reunir no Crucificado todos os seus irmãos e irmãs em humanidade. Obedecendo à Palavra de Deus, é chamado a viver não para si mesmo mas para a presença de Deus no mundo. Serve-me de conforto a determinação com que seguis no meu encalço, sem nada mais temer que a perda da salvação eterna do vosso povo, como bem o demonstram as palavras com que Dom Jorge Ortiga quis saudar a minha chegada ao vosso meio e testemunhar a fidelidade incondicional dos Bispos de Portugal ao Sucessor de Pedro. De coração vo-lo agradeço. Obrigado ainda por todo o desvelo que pusestes na organização desta minha Visita. Que Deus vos pague, derramando em abundância o Espírito Santo sobre vós e vossas dioceses a fim de que, num só coração e numa só alma, possais levar a cabo o empenho pastoral que vos propusestes: oferecer a todos os fiéis uma iniciação cristã exigente e atractiva, comunicadora da integridade da fé e da espiritualidade radicada no Evangelho, formadora de agentes livres no meio da vida pública.

Na verdade, os tempos que vivemos exigem um novo vigor missionário dos cristãos chamados a formar um laicado maduro, identificado com a Igreja, solidário com a complexa transformação do mundo. Há necessidade de verdadeiras testemunhas de Jesus Cristo, sobretudo nos meios humanos onde o silêncio da fé é mais amplo e profundo: políticos, intelectuais, profissionais da comunicação que professam e promovem uma proposta mono-cultural com menosprezo pela dimensão religiosa e contemplativa da vida. Em tais âmbitos, não faltam crentes envergonhados que dão as mãos ao secularismo, construtor de barreiras à inspiração cristã. Entretanto, amados Irmãos, aqueles que lá defendem com coragem um pensamento católico vigoroso e fiel ao Magistério continuem a receber o vosso estímulo e palavra esclarecedora para, como leigos, viverem a liberdade cristã.

Mantende viva a dimensão profética sem mordaças no cenário do mundo actual, porque «a palavra de Deus não pode ser acorrentada» (2 Tm 2, 9). As pessoas clamam pela Boa Nova de Jesus Cristo, que dá sentido às suas vidas e salvaguarda a sua dignidade. Como primeiros evangelizadores, ser-vos-á útil conhecer e compreender os diversos factores sociais e culturais, avaliar as carências espirituais e programar eficazmente os recursos pastorais; decisivo, porém, é conseguir inculcar em todos os agentes evangelizadores um verdadeiro ardor de santidade, cientes de que o resultado provém sobretudo da união com Cristo e da acção do seu Espírito.

Ora, quando no sentir de muitos a fé católica deixa de ser património comum da sociedade e, frequentemente, se vê como uma semente insidiada e ofuscada por «divindades» e senhores deste mundo, muito dificilmente aquela poderá tocar os corações graças a simples discursos ou apelos morais e menos ainda a genéricos apelos aos valores cristãos. O apelo corajoso e integral aos princípios é essencial e indispensável; todavia a mera enunciação da mensagem não chega ao mais fundo do coração da pessoa, não toca a sua liberdade, não muda a vida. Aquilo que fascina é sobretudo o encontro com pessoas crentes que, pela sua fé, atraem para a graça de Cristo dando testemunho d’Ele. Vêm-me à mente estas palavras do Papa João Paulo II: «A Igreja tem necessidade sobretudo de grandes correntes, movimentos e testemunhos de santidade entre os fiéis, porque é da santidade que nasce toda a autêntica renovação da Igreja, todo o enriquecimento da fé e do seguimento cristão, uma re-actualização vital e fecunda do cristianismo com as necessidades dos homens, uma renovada forma de presença no coração da existência humana e da cultura das nações» (Discurso no XX aniversário da promulgação do Decreto conciliar «Apostolicam actuositatem», 18/XI/1985). Poderia alguém dizer: «É certo que a Igreja tem necessidade de grandes correntes, movimentos e testemunhos de santidade…, mas não os há»!

A propósito, confesso-vos a agradável surpresa que tive ao contactar com os movimentos e novas comunidades eclesiais. Observando-os, tive a alegria e a graça de ver como, num momento de fadiga da Igreja, num momento em que se falava de «inverno da Igreja», o Espírito Santo criava uma nova primavera, fazendo despertar nos jovens e adultos a alegria de serem cristãos, de viverem na Igreja que é o Corpo vivo de Cristo. Graças aos carismas, a radicalidade do Evangelho, o conteúdo objectivo da fé, o fluxo vivo da sua tradição comunicam-se persuasivamente e são acolhidos como experiência pessoal, como adesão da liberdade ao evento presente de Cristo.

Condição necessária, naturalmente, é que estas novas realidades queiram viver na Igreja comum, embora com espaços de algum modo reservados para a sua vida, de maneira que esta se torne depois fecunda para todos os outros. Os portadores de um carisma particular devem sentir-se fundamentalmente responsáveis pela comunhão, pela fé comum da Igreja e devem submeter-se à guia dos Pastores. São estes que devem garantir a eclesialidade dos movimentos. Os Pastores não são apenas pessoas que ocupam um cargo, mas eles próprios são carismáticos, são responsáveis pela abertura da Igreja à acção do Espírito Santo. Nós, Bispos, no sacramento, somos ungidos pelo Espírito Santo e, por conseguinte, o sacramento garante-nos também a abertura aos seus dons. Assim, por um lado, devemos sentir a responsabilidade de aceitar estes impulsos que são dons para a Igreja e lhe dão nova vitalidade, mas, por outro, devemos também ajudar os movimentos a encontrarem a estrada justa, com correcções feitas com compreensão – aquela compreensão espiritual e humana que sabe unir guia, gratidão e uma certa abertura e disponibilidade para aceitar aprender.

Iniciai ou confirmai nisto mesmo os presbíteros. Neste Ano Sacerdotal que está para concluir, redescobri, amados Irmãos, a paternidade episcopal sobretudo para com o vosso clero. Durante demasiado tempo se relegou para segundo plano a responsabilidade da autoridade como serviço ao crescimento dos outros, e antes de mais ninguém dos sacerdotes. Estes são chamados a servir, no seu ministério pastoral, integrados numa acção pastoral de comunhão ou de conjunto, como nos recorda o decreto conciliar Presbyterorum ordinis: «Nenhum sacerdote pode realizar sozinho suficientemente a sua missão, mas só num esforço conjunto com o dos demais sacerdotes, sob a orientação dos que estão à frente da Igreja» (n. 7). Não se trata de voltar ao passado nem de um mero regresso às origens, mas de uma recuperação do fervor das origens, da alegria do início da experiência cristã, fazendo-se acompanhar por Cristo como os «discípulos de Emaús» no dia de Páscoa, deixando que a sua palavra aqueça o coração, que o «pão partido» abra os nossos olhos à contemplação do seu rosto. Só assim é que o fogo da sua caridade será bastante ardente para impelir cada fiel cristão a tornar-se dispensador de luz e vida na Igreja e entre os homens.

Antes de terminar, queria pedir-vos, na vossa qualidade de presidentes e ministros da caridade na Igreja, para revigorardes em vós e ao vosso redor os sentimentos de misericórdia e compaixão capazes de corresponder às situações de graves carências sociais. Criem-se e aperfeiçoem-se as organizações existentes, com criatividade para corresponder a todas as pobrezas, mesmo a de falta de sentido da vida e de ausência de esperança. É muito louvável o esforço que fazeis por ajudar dioceses mais necessitadas, sobretudo dos países lusófonos. As dificuldades, agora mais sentidas, não vos deixem esmorecer na lógica do dom. Continue bem vivo no país o vosso testemunho de profetas de justiça e da paz, defensores dos direitos inalienáveis da pessoa, juntando a vossa voz à dos mais débeis a quem tendes sabiamente motivado para ter voz própria, sem temer nunca levantar a voz em favor dos oprimidos, humilhados e molestados.

Enquanto vos confio a Nossa Senhora de Fátima, pedindo-Lhe que vos sustente maternalmente nos desafios em que estais empenhados, para serdes promotores de uma cultura e de uma espiritualidade de caridade e de paz, de esperança e de justiça, de fé e de serviço, de coração vos concedo, extensiva aos vossos familiares e comunidades diocesanas, a minha Bênção Apostólica."

Homilia do Bento XVI na Missa em Porto
Grande Praça da Avenida dos Aliados, Porto, Sexta-feira 14 de Maio de 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Amados Irmãos e Irmãs,
«Está escrito no Livro dos Salmos: […] receba outro o seu cargo. É necessário, portanto, que […] um se torne connosco testemunha da ressurreição» (Act 1, 20-22). Assim falou Pedro, lendo e interpretando a palavra de Deus no meio de seus irmãos, reunidos no Cenáculo depois da Ascensão de Jesus ao Céu. O escolhido foi Matias, que tinha sido testemunha da vida pública de Jesus e do seu triunfo sobre a morte, permanecendo-Lhe fiel até ao fim, não obstante a debandada de muitos. A «desproporção» de forças em campo, que hoje nos espanta, já há dois mil anos admirava os que viam e ouviam a Cristo. Era Ele apenas, das margens do Lago da Galileia às praças de Jerusalém, só ou quase só nos momentos decisivos: Ele em união com o Pai, Ele na força do Espírito. E todavia aconteceu que por fim, pelo mesmo amor que criou o mundo, a novidade do Reino surgiu como pequena semente que germina na terra, como centelha de luz que irrompe nas trevas, como aurora de um dia sem ocaso: É Cristo ressuscitado. E apareceu aos seus amigos, mostrando-lhes a necessidade da cruz para chegar à ressurreição.

Uma testemunha de tudo isto, procurava Pedro naquele dia. Apresentadas duas, o Céu designou «Matias, que foi agregado aos onze Apóstolos» (Act 1, 26). Hoje celebramos a sua memória gloriosa nesta «Cidade Invicta», que se vestiu de festa para acolher o Sucessor de Pedro. Dou graças a Deus por me trazer até ao vosso meio, encontrando-vos à volta do altar. A minha cordial saudação para vós, irmãos e amigos da cidade e diocese do Porto, vindos da província eclesiástica do norte de Portugal e mesmo da vizinha Espanha, e quantos mais estão em comunhão física ou espiritual com esta nossa assembleia litúrgica. Saúdo o Senhor Bispo do Porto, Dom Manuel Clemente, que desejou com grande solicitude a minha visita, me acolheu com grande afecto e se fez intérprete dos vossos sentimentos no início desta Eucaristia. Saúdo seus Predecessores e demais Irmãos no episcopado, os sacerdotes, os consagrados e consagradas, e os fiéis leigos, com um pensamento particular para quantos estão envolvidos na dinamização da Missão Diocesana e, mais concretamente, na preparação desta minha Visita. Sei que a mesma pôde contar com a real colaboração do Presidente da Câmara do Porto e de outras Autoridades públicas, muitas das quais me honram com a sua presença, aproveitando este momento para as saudar e lhes desejar, a elas e a quantos representam e servem, os melhores sucessos a bem de todos.

«É necessário que um se torne connosco testemunha da ressurreição»: dizia Pedro. E o seu Sucessor actual repete a cada um de vós: Meus irmãos e irmãs, é necessário que vos torneis comigo testemunhas da ressurreição de Jesus. Na realidade, se não fordes vós as suas testemunhas no próprio ambiente, quem o será em vosso lugar? O cristão é, na Igreja e com a Igreja, um missionário de Cristo enviado ao mundo. Esta é a missão inadiável de cada comunidade eclesial: receber de Deus e oferecer ao mundo Cristo ressuscitado, para que todas as situações de definhamento e morte se transformem, pelo Espírito, em ocasiões de crescimento e vida. Para isso, em cada celebração eucarística, ouviremos mais atentamente a Palavra de Cristo e saborearemos assiduamente o Pão da sua presença. Isto fará de nós testemunhas e, mais ainda, portadores de Jesus ressuscitado no mundo, levando-O para os diversos sectores da sociedade e quantos neles vivem e trabalham, irradiando aquela «vida em abundância» (Jo, 10, 10) que Ele nos ganhou com a sua cruz e ressurreição e que sacia os mais legítimos anseios do coração humano.

Nada impomos, mas sempre propomos, como Pedro nos recomenda numa das suas cartas: «Venerai Cristo Senhor em vossos corações, prontos sempre a responder a quem quer que seja sobre a razão da esperança que há em vós» (1 Ped 3, 15). E todos afinal no-la pedem, mesmo quem pareça que não. Por experiência própria e comum, bem sabemos que é por Jesus que todos esperam. De facto, as expectativas mais profundas do mundo e as grandes certezas do Evangelho cruzam-se na irrecusável missão que nos compete, pois «sem Deus, o ser humano não sabe para onde ir e não consegue sequer compreender quem seja. Perante os enormes problemas do desenvolvimento dos povos, que quase nos levam ao desânimo e à rendição, vem em nosso auxílio a palavra do Senhor Jesus Cristo que nos torna cientes deste dado fundamental: “Sem Mim, nada podeis fazer” (Jo 15, 5), e encoraja: “Eu estarei sempre convosco até ao fim do mundo” (Mt 28, 20)» (Bento XVI, Enc. Caritas in veritate, 78).

Mas, se esta certeza nos consola e tranquiliza, não nos dispensa de ir ao encontro dos outros. Temos de vencer a tentação de nos limitarmos ao que ainda temos, ou julgamos ter, de nosso e seguro: seria morrer a prazo, enquanto presença de Igreja no mundo, que aliás só pode ser missionária, no movimento expansivo do Espírito. Desde as suas origens, o povo cristão advertiu com clareza a importância de comunicar a Boa Nova de Jesus a quantos ainda não a conheciam. Nestes últimos anos, alterou-se o quadro antropológico, cultural, social e religioso da humanidade; hoje a Igreja é chamada a enfrentar desafios novos e está pronta a dialogar com culturas e religiões diversas, procurando construir juntamente com cada pessoa de boa vontade a pacífica convivência dos povos. O campo da missão ad gentes apresenta-se hoje notavelmente alargado e não definível apenas segundo considerações geográficas; realmente aguardam por nós não apenas os povos não-cristãos e as terras distantes, mas também os âmbitos sócio-culturais e sobretudo os corações que são os verdadeiros destinatários da actividade missionária do povo de Deus.

Trata-se de um mandato cuja fiel realização «deve seguir o mesmo caminho de Cristo: o caminho da pobreza, da obediência, do serviço e da imolação própria até à morte, de que Ele saiu vencedor pela sua ressurreição» (Conc. Ecum. Vaticano II, Decr. Ad gentes, 5). Sim! Somos chamados a servir a humanidade do nosso tempo, confiando unicamente em Jesus, deixando-nos iluminar pela sua Palavra: «Não fostes vós que Me escolhestes; fui Eu que vos escolhi e destinei, para que vades e deis fruto e o vosso fruto permaneça» (Jo 15, 16). Quanto tempo perdido, quanto trabalho adiado, por inadvertência deste ponto! Tudo se define a partir de Cristo, quanto à origem e à eficácia da missão: a missão recebemo-la sempre de Cristo, que nos deu a conhecer o que ouviu a seu Pai, e somos nela investidos por meio do Espírito na Igreja. Como a própria Igreja, obra de Cristo e do seu Espírito, trata-se de renovar a face da terra a partir de Deus, sempre e só de Deus!

Queridos irmãos e amigos do Porto, levantai os olhos para Aquela que escolhestes como padroeira da cidade, Nossa Senhora de Vandoma. O Anjo da anunciação saudou Maria como «cheia de graça», significando com esta expressão que o seu coração e a sua vida estavam totalmente abertos a Deus e, por isso, completamente invadidos pela sua graça. Que Ela vos ajude a fazer de vós mesmos um «sim» livre e pleno à graça de Deus, para poderdes ser renovados e renovar a humanidade pela luz e a alegria do Espírito Santo."

Saudação do Papa Bento aos Fiéis reunidos na Avenida dos Aliados
Câmara Municipal do Porto, Sexta-feira, 14 de Maio de 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Queridos Irmãos e Amigos,
Sinto-me feliz por me encontrar entre vós e agradeço o festivo e cordial acolhimento que me reservastes no Porto, a «Cidade da Virgem». À sua protecção materna, confio as vossas vidas e famílias, as vossas comunidades e estruturas ao serviço do bem comum, nomeadamente as universidades desta cidade cujos estudantes se reuniram e me fizeram saber da sua gratidão e adesão ao magistério do Sucessor de Pedro.

Obrigado pela presença e pelo testemunho da vossa fé. Agradeço novamente a quantos cooperaram de diversos modos para a preparação e a realização desta minha visita, para a qual vos preparastes sobretudo com a oração. Teria acedido de boa vontade ao convite para prolongar a minha permanência na vossa cidade, mas não me é possível. Permiti, pois, que parta, abraçando-vos a todos carinhosamente em Cristo, nossa Esperança, enquanto vos abençoo em nome do Pai e do Filho e do Espírito Santo."

Discurso do Papa Bento XVI na Cerimônia de Despedida
Aeroporto Internacional de Porto, 14 de Maio de 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Senhor Presidente da República,  Ilustres Autoridades,
Amados Irmãos no Episcopado Queridos amigos,
No termo da minha visita, repassa no meu espírito a densidade de tantos momentos vividos nesta peregrinação a Portugal. Levo guardada na alma a cordialidade do vosso acolhimento afectuoso, a forma tão calorosa e espontânea como se cimentaram os laços de comunhão com os grupos humanos com quem pude contactar, o empenhamento que significou a preparação e a realização do programa pastoral planeado.

Neste momento da despedida, exprimo a todos a minha sincera gratidão: ao Senhor Presidente da República, que me honrou com a sua presença desde que cheguei até aqui, aos meus irmãos Bispos com quem renovei a profunda união no serviço do Reino de Cristo, ao Governo e a todas as autoridades civis e militares, que se desdobraram em visível dedicação ao longo de toda a viagem. Bem hajam! Os meios de comunicação social permitiram-me chegar a muitas pessoas a quem não era possível contactar na proximidade. Também lhes estou muito grato.

Para todos os portugueses, fiéis católicos ou não, aos homens e mulheres que aqui vivem, mesmo sem aqui terem nascido, vai a minha saudação na hora da despedida. Não cesse entre vós de crescer a concórdia, essencial para uma sólida coesão, caminho necessário para enfrentar com responsabilidade comum os desafios com que vos debateis. Continue esta gloriosa Nação a manifestar a grandeza de alma, profundo sentido de Deus, abertura solidária, pautada por princípios e valores bebidos no humanismo cristão. Em Fátima, rezei pelo mundo inteiro pedindo que o futuro traga maior fraternidade e solidariedade, um maior respeito recíproco e uma renovada confiança e confidência em Deus, nosso Pai que está nos céus.

Foi uma alegria para mim ser testemunha da fé e devoção da comunidade eclesial portuguesa. Pude verificar a energia entusiasta das crianças e dos jovens, a adesão fiel dos presbíteros, diáconos e religiosos, a dedicação pastoral dos bispos, a procura livre da verdade e da beleza patente no mundo da cultura, a criatividade dos agentes de pastoral social, a vibração da fé dos fiéis nas dioceses que visitei. O meu desejo é que a minha visita se torne incentivo para um renovado impulso espiritual e apostólico. Que o Evangelho seja acolhido na sua integridade e testemunhado com paixão por todos os discípulos de Cristo, a fim de que se revele como fermento de autêntica renovação de toda a sociedade!

Desça sobre Portugal e todos os seus filhos e filhas a minha Bênção Apostólica, portadora de esperança, de paz e de coragem, que imploro de Deus pela intercessão de Nossa Senhora de Fátima, a quem manifestais tanta confiança e firme amor. Continuemos a caminhar na esperança! Adeus!"

Benedict XVI's interview with journalists during the flight to Portugal
Papal flight, Tuesday 11 May 2010 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

Father Lombardi: "Your Holiness, what concerns and feelings do you have about the situation of the Church in Portugal? What can be said to Portugal, which was once very Catholic and brought the faith to the world, but which today is undergoing a profound secularization, both in daily life as well as legally and culturally? How is the faith to be proclaimed in a context which is indifferent and even hostile to the Church?"

Holy Father: "Before all else, I wish you all a good morning, and may we have a good journey, despite the famous cloud beneath us. With regard to Portugal, I feel happy and grateful for everything that this country has done and is doing in the world and in history, and for the deep humanity of this people which I came to know from an earlier visit and from many Portuguese friends. I would say that it is true, very true, that Portugal has been a great force for the Catholic faith, it carried that faith throughout the world; a courageous, intelligent and creative faith; it was able to create a great culture which we see in Brazil and in Portugal itself, but also in the presence of the Portuguese spirit in Africa and Asia. On the other hand, the spirit of secularism is nothing new. The dialectic between secularism and faith in Portugal has a long history. Already in the eighteenth century the presence of the Enlightenment was strongly felt: we need only think of the name Pombal. So we can see that in these last centuries Portugal has always been living in a dialectic, which nowadays has naturally become more radical and appears with all the marks of the contemporary European spirit. This strikes me both as a challenge and a great opportunity. In these centuries of a dialectic between enlightenment, secularism and faith, there were always individuals who sought to build bridges and create a dialogue, but unfortunately the prevailing tendency was one of opposition and mutual exclusion. Today we see that this very dialectic represents an opportunity and that we need to develop a synthesis and a forward-looking and profound dialogue. In the multicultural situation in which we all find ourselves, we see that if European culture were merely rationalist, it would lack a transcendent religious dimension, and not be able to enter into dialogue with the great cultures of humanity all of which have this transcendent religious dimension – which is a dimension of man himself. So to think that there exists a pure, anti-historical reason, solely self-existent, which is “reason” itself, is a mistake; we are finding more and more that it affects only part of man, it expresses a certain historical situation but it is not reason as such. Reason as such is open to transcendence and only in the encounter between transcendent reality and faith and reason does man find himself. So I think that the precise task and mission of Europe in this situation is to create this dialogue, to integrate faith and modern rationality in a single anthropological vision which approaches the human being as a whole and thus also makes human cultures communicable. So I would say that the presence of secularism is something normal, but the separation and the opposition between secularism and a culture of faith is something anomalous and must be transcended. The great challenge of the present moment is for the two to come together, and in this way to discover their true identity. This, as I have said, is Europe’s mission and mankind’s need in our history."

Father Lombardi: "Thank you, Your Holiness. Let us continue with the subject of Europe. The economic crisis has recently worsened in Europe and involves Portugal in particular. Some European leaders think that the future of the European Union is at risk. What lessons can be learned from this crisis, also from the ethical and moral standpoint? What are the keys for consolidating unity and cooperation among Europe’s countries in the future?"

Holy Father: "I would say that this very economic crisis, with its moral component, that no one can ignore, is a practical, concrete case of what I said earlier, that is, that two separate cultural currents have to meet each other, or else we will not find the way to the future. Here too we find a false dualism, that is, an economic positivism that thinks it can work without an ethical component, a market regulated purely by itself, by economic forces alone, by the positivist and pragmatic reasoning of economics – while ethics would be something else, completely separate from it. The fact is, we are now seeing that a pure economic pragmatism which prescinds from the reality of man – who is an ethical being – does not end happily, but creates insoluble problems. So now is the time to see that ethics is not something extraneous, but intrinsic to economic reasoning and pragmatism. On the other hand, we must also confess that the Catholic, Christian faith, was often excessively individualistic; it left practical, economic matters to the world and thought only of individual salvation, religious acts, without seeing that these imply global responsibility, responsibility for the world. Hence, here too we need to enter into a concrete dialogue. I set out in my encyclical Caritas in Veritate – and the whole tradition of the Church’s social teaching goes in this direction – to broaden the ethical aspect of the faith above and beyond the individual towards responsibility for the world, towards a “performative” reasoning inspired by ethics. On the other hand, the most recent events in the market, over the past two or three years, have shown that the ethical dimension is internal and needs to enter deeply into economic activity, since man is a unified being, and it is man that we are speaking of, as well as a sound anthropology which embraces the whole, and only thus can the problem be solved, and only thus can Europe carry out and achieve its mission."

Father Lombardi: "Thank you, and now come to Fatima, in some way the culmination, even spiritually, of this visit. Your Holiness, what meaning do the Fatima apparitions have for us today? In June 2000, when you presented the text of the third secret in the Vatican Press Office, a number of us and our former colleagues were present. You were asked if the message could be extended, beyond the attack on John Paul II, to other sufferings on the part of the Popes. Is it possible, to your mind, to include in that vision the sufferings of the Church today for the sins involving the sexual abuse of minors?"

Holy Father: "Before all else, I want to say how happy I am to be going to Fatima, to pray before Our Lady of Fatima. For us, Fatima is a sign of the presence of faith, of the fact that it is precisely from the little ones that faith gains new strength, one which is not limited to the little ones but has a message for the entire world and touches history here and now, and sheds light on this history. In 2000, in my presentation, I said that an apparition – a supernatural impulse which does not come purely from a person’s imagination but really from the Virgin Mary, from the supernatural – that such an impulse enters into a subject and is expressed according to the capacities of that subject. The subject is determined by his historical, personal, temperamental conditions, and so translates the great supernatural impulse into his own capabilities for seeing, imagining, expressing; yet these expressions, shaped by the subject, conceal a content which is greater, which goes deeper, and only in the course of history can we see the full depth, which was – let us say - “clothed” in this vision that was accessible to specific individuals. Consequently, I would say that, here too, beyond this great vision of the suffering of the Pope, which we can in the first place refer to Pope John Paul II, an indication is given of realities involving the future of the Church, which are gradually taking shape and becoming evident. So it is true that, in addition to the moment indicated in the vision, there is mention of, there is seen, the need for a passion of the Church, which naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope, yet the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is sufferings of the Church that are announced. The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world. The important thing is that the message, the response of Fatima, in substance is not directed to particular devotions, but precisely to the fundamental response, that is, to ongoing conversion, penance, prayer, and the three theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. Thus we see here the true, fundamental response which the Church must give – which we, every one of us, must give in this situation. As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice. In a word, we need to relearn precisely this essential: conversion, prayer, penance and the theological virtues. This is our response, we are realists in expecting that evil always attacks, attacks from within and without, yet that the forces of good are also ever present and that, in the end, the Lord is more powerful than evil and Our Lady is for us the visible, motherly guarantee of God’s goodness, which is always the last word in history."

Father Lombardi: "Thank you, Your Holiness, for the clarity and the depth of your answers and for this concluding word of hope which you have given us. We offer you our very best wishes that this very demanding journey will be a pleasant one for you and that during it you will experience all the joy and spiritual depth that an encounter with the mystery of Fatima inspires in us. We wish you a happy visit and we will strive to do a good job in our service, and to report objectively what you will do."

 

 

 

 

© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana