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Monday, September 4, 2006


VATICAN CITY, SEP 3, 2006 (VIS) - Today, Benedict XVI dedicated his brief remarks preceding the noon Angelus to St. Gregory the Great, pope and doctor of the Church. "This unique figure," said the Holy Father to pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, "is an example of which both pastors of the Church and public administrators must be made aware."

  St. Gregory, first prefect and later bishop of Rome, was outstanding in civilian life for "his administrative qualities and moral integrity." On the death of his father in 574 he embraced the monastic life and, from then, "the Benedictine Rule became the mainstay of his existence. Even when the pope sent him as his representative to the eastern emperor he maintained a poor and simple monastic life."

  Gregory was a collaborator of Pope Pelagius II, and succeeded him when he died during a plague epidemic. "With prophetic far-sightedness, Gregory understood that a new civilization was being born from the encounter between the Roman heritage and the so-called 'barbarian' peoples, thanks to the cohesive power and moral stature of Christianity. Monasticism showed itself to be an asset not only for the Church but for the whole of society."

  To him we owe, among other things, the reform of liturgical music which took his name, "Gregorian chant." However, his most famous achievement, said Pope Benedict, is "the 'Pastoral Rule' which has had the same importance for clergy as the Rule of St. Benedict for the monks of the Middle Ages. The life of a pastor of souls must be a balanced blend of contemplation and action, animated by the love 'that touches the highest peaks when it stoops mercifully over the profound iniquity of others. The capacity to stoop to other people's misery is a measure of the force driving upward to the heights.' This ever-pertinent teaching inspired the Fathers of Vatican Council II in delineating the image of the pastor of our own times."

  The Pope concluded his remarks by calling for "the example and teaching of St. Gregory the Great to be followed by pastors of the Church, and by those responsible for the institutions of civil life."

  After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI expressed his thanks to everyone praying for his forthcoming pastoral visit to Germany. "Thank you for your best wishes," he said, "I leave for Bavaria on Saturday."
ANG/GREGORY THE GREAT/...                        VIS 20060904 (410)

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