Everything in the Church Rests Upon Faith
L’Osservatore Romano – February 20, 2012
Benedict XVI celebrates Mass with the new Cardinals
Everything in the Church is founded upon faith: love and authority, evangelization and charity, the sacraments and the liturgy. In reminding the new Cardinals created in the Consistory on Saturday of this, Benedict XVI asked of them “an additional readiness to be of service to Christ and to the entire Christian community”. This readiness “to serve the Gospel”, he explained further, must be “firmly founded upon the certitude of faith”.
The Pontiff celebrated Mass with the new Cardinals in the Vatican Basilica on Sunday morning, 19 February, the Solemnity of the Chair of St Peter (brought forward this year because 22 February coincides with Ash Wednesday). And referring to the Prince of the Apostles himself, the Pope underlined the significance of the mission entrusted to them by Christ: “being the ‘rock’, the visible foundation on which the entire spiritual edifice of the Church is built”.
To describe the characteristics of the Petrine ministry Benedict XVI used the symbolism of Bernini’s complex sculpture which adorns the Altar of the Chair in the Vatican Basilica. Starting with the window in the apse, decorated with the image of the dove of the Holy Spirit, in which, he said, is contained the vision of the Church as “the place where God draws near to us, where he comes towards our world”, to bring to it “the light that comes from above, without which it would be uninhabitable”. The wooden chair enclosed in the bronze throne also reflects an essential aspect of Peter’s mission: that of presiding over the Church of Rome in charity. Indeed “the Petrine ministry is therefore a primacy of love in the Eucharistic sense, that is to say solicitude for the universal communion of the Church in Christ”, the Pope affirmed. At the same time he highlighted the fact that the chair is supported by Fathers of the Church, to mean that “the Church is not self-regulating, she does not determine her own structure but receives it from the word of God, to which she listens in faith as she seeks to understand it and to live it”, At the Angelus too, recited in St Peter’s Square at the end of the celebration, the Pontiff spoke of the “special mission of Peter and his successors to feed Christ’s flock, keeping it united in faith and in charity”. He then addressed to the new Cardinals the invitation to work “with me in the guidance of the universal Church and to [bear] witness to the Gospel, even to the point of sacrificing [your] life”. He repeated this invitation on Monday morning, 20 February, at the Audience with the new Cardinals, and with their relatives and faithful who had accompanied them on the occasion of the Consistory. “Remaining united with the Church and the message of salvation that she disseminates” he said, among other things, “means being anchored to the Truth, strengthening the meaning of the true values, being serene in the face of every event”.