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Wednesday, December 12, 2007


VATICAN CITY, DEC 12, 2007 (VIS) - St. Paulinus of Nola, a bishop and contemporary of St. Augustine, was the theme of Benedict XVI's catechesis during today's general audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall.

  The Pope explained how as a young man St. Paulinus became governor of the Campania region in southern Italy. In that role he stood out for his wisdom and humility, while his contact with "the simple and intense faith" of the people marked the start of his own path to conversion, which was not without difficulties and trials.

  "The meeting with Christ was the finishing point of an arduous journey," during which a series of adverse circumstances brought the saint "to a direct experience of the frailty of things," said the Pope.

  St. Paulinus' journey to faith also included marriage, but following the death of his newborn child he and his wife Terasia decided to give their possessions to the poor and, living in fraternal chastity, to found a monastic community. His pastoral activity was characterized, the Holy Father went on, "by his particular concern for the poor, and he left behind him the image of a true pastor of charity."

  "The conversion of Paulinus made a great impression on his contemporaries" who criticized "his 'disdain' ... for worldly goods and his abandonment of his literary calling," said Benedict XVI. But Paulinus would reply "that giving to the poor did not mean disdain for worldly goods, but rather their employment for the most exalted aim of charity. ... A new aesthetic now governed the saint's sensibility: the beauty of the incarnate God, crucified and risen."

  "St. Paulinus did not write theological treatises, but his odes ... are replete with a living theology," said Pope Benedict, "which is constantly examined as light for life. What emerges in particular is the idea of the Church as a mystery of unity. He experienced communion above all through the ardent cultivation of spiritual friendship. ... With remarkable warmth the saint of Nola praises friendship as a manifestation of the one body of Christ animated by the Holy Spirit."

  "And it is in the concept of communion that theology in our own day has found the key for approaching the mystery of the Church," Pope Benedict concluded. "The witness of St. Paulinus of Nola helps us to experience the Church as she is presented to us by Vatican Council II, a sacrament of intimate union with God and of the unity of the whole human race."
AG/PAULINUS OF NOLA/...                    VIS 20071212 (430)

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