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Thursday, June 30, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUN 29, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica today, solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic celebration during which he conferred the pallium on Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and on 32 metropolitan archbishops from 21 countries.

  As is traditional, the Mass was attended by a delegation from the ecumenical patriarchate of Constantinople, led this year by Ioannis (Zizioulas), metropolitan of Pergamo, and including Gennadios (Limouris), metropolitan of Sassima, and the archimandrite Bartolome, under-secretary of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

  In his homily, the Pope pointed out that today's feast "is both a grateful remembrance of the great witnesses to Jesus Christ, and a solemn confession in support of the Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic. It is, above all, a feast of catholicity."

  "Catholicity," he explained, "means universality: multiplicity that becomes unity, unity that still remains multiplicity." On this subject, the Holy Father also expressed his joy at being able "to give the Church a new guide for the transmission of faith, one that helps us to a better understanding, and hence a better experience, of the faith that unites us: the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

  Benedict XVI insisted that the compendium must not be read like "a novel. It must be meditated upon calmly in each of its individual parts to allow its contents, through the use of images, to penetrate the soul. I hope that this is how it will be welcomed and that it may become a reliable guide for the transmission of the faith."

  Addressing the new metropolitan archbishops, the Pope recalled that the pallium they were about to receive is "an expression of our apostolic mission. It is an expression of our communion which has its visible guarantee in the Petrine ministry. The Petrine service is associated with both unity and apostolicity. It visibly reunites the Church of all places and times, thus defending us all from sliding into that false autonomy which can all too easily lead to interior splits in the Church, and thus compromise her internal independence."

  The Pope then went on to greet members of the delegation of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. "Although we still do not agree on the question of the interpretation and extent of the Petrine ministry, we do concur on Apostolic succession, we are profoundly united with one another over episcopal ministry and the Sacrament of the priesthood, and together we confess the faith of the Apostles as it was given us in Scripture, and as interpreted by the great councils.

  "In the world at this time so full of skepticism and doubt, but also rich in the desire for God, we again recognize our mission of bearing witness together to Christ the Lord and, on the basis of the unity that has been granted us, to help the world to believe. We pray to the Lord with all our heart that He may guide us to full unity so that the splendor of truth, that alone can create unity, again becomes visible in the world."

  Benedict XVI concluded by highlighting the fact that "the Church is not of herself holy but is made up of sinners, as we all know and we can all see. Rather, she is forever sanctified anew by Christ's purifying love. Not only has God spoken, He has loved us in a very real sense, loved us even unto the death of His own Son."
HML/CHURCH:UNITY/STS PETER:PAUL                    VIS 20050630 (600)

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