Vatican City, 1 September 2012 (VIS) – This morning Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI celebrated Holy Mass in the Chapel of the Governorate of Vatican City State, to mark the conclusion of the traditional summer seminar held by the Ratzinger Circle of Alumni, the so-called “Ratzinger Schulerkreis”. The meeting took place in Castel Gandolfo but Benedict XVI did not participate this year. The 38th edition of the Ratzinger Schulerkreis examined the theme “The question of God against the background of secularisation” in the light of the theological work of the thinker Remi Brague, who was awarded last year's Ratzinger Prize for theology.
Holy Mass was attended by around fifty people, and Benedict XVI concelebrated with the cardinals Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, Austria; the archbishops Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, and Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke, auxiliary of Hamburg, Germany.
The Pope-emeritus commented in his homily on today's gospel in which Jesus invites his disciples to take the last place, “a place which seems very good”, he said, “but which proves to be very bad. … Those who in this world and throughout history are perhaps driven ahead and arrive in first place, must be aware of the danger they are in; they must look ever more to the Lord … they must measure up to their responsibility for others, become those who serve, who in reality place themselves at the feet of others, who bless and are in turn blessed”.
“The cross, throughout history”, he explained, “is the last place … the Cross is no place, it is bare, nothing … and yet this “extreme humiliation” is “the true exaltation. … Yes, Jesus is at the level of God, because the height of the Cross is the height of God's love, the height of His self-abnegation and His dedication to others. Thus, this is the divine place, and we pray to God that He may enable us to understand this ever more clearly so that we might accept with humility, each in his own way, this mystery of exaltation and humiliation”.