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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2009 (VIS) - In his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope proceeded with his series of catecheses on the great writers of the Eastern and Western Churches in the Middle Ages, focusing his attention today on Ambrose Autpert.

  Ambrose Autpert, the Holy Father explained, "is a little-known author of the eighth century. His works have, in fact, largely been attributed to other more famous figures, from St. Ambrose of Milan to St. Ildephonsus".

  Born to a high-ranking family in Provence, Ambrose Autpert entered the court of the Frankish King Pepin the Short where he was tutor to the future emperor Charlemagne. He subsequently travelled to Italy where he entered the Benedictine monastery of St. Vincent in the duchy of Benevento. Having been ordained a priest in 761, he was elected as abbot sixteen years later and died on 30 January 784.

  "He was monk and abbot during a time marked by great political tensions, which also had repercussions on the internal life of the monasteries", something also reflected in his writings, said the Holy Father. "He decried, for example, the contradiction between the splendid outward aspect of the monasteries and the tepidity ('tepiditas') of the monks themselves". In his ascetic tract "Conflictus vitiorum" (Conflict between the Vices and the Virtues) he seeks "to teach monks how to face the spiritual struggle in daily life".

  "Observing the lust for profit of the rich and powerful members of the society of his time, he felt moved to write a tract especially for them, 'De cupiditate' in which, with the Apostle Paul, he denounced greed as the root of all evil", said the Holy Father, highlighting how, "in the light of the current world economic crisis, this still has great relevance. From this root, from greed, this crisis was born".

  Autpert's teaching also has relevance "for mankind in this world. The rich have the duty to struggle against greed, against the desire to possess, to show off, against a false concept of freedom understood as being able to dispose of everything in accordance with one's own will. The rich must also discover the authentic path of truth, love and a just life".

  The Pope went on: "Ambrose Autpert's most important work is his ten-volume commentary on the Book of Revelation, ... the first in-depth commentary in the Latin world on the last book of Holy Scripture". In this work Autpert makes it clear that "the Church cannot be separated from Jesus Christ. He is the Mediator and the Church participates in such mediation because she is His Body".

  Autpert also "looks to Mary as a model of the Church", recognising that the Virgin has "a decisive role in the work of Redemption". Thus, "with good reason is he considered the first great Marian theologian of the West. Mercy, which he felt must free the soul from attachment to worldly and transitory pleasures, must be united to a profound study of the sacred sciences, especially meditation on Holy Scripture".

  "In Ambrose Autpert we see a person who lived in a time of great political manipulation of the Church, a time in which nationalism and tribalism disfigured her face. Yet amidst these difficulties, which we too also experience, he was able to discover the true face of the Church in Mary and the saints, and thus he understood what it means to be Catholic, to be Christian, to live from the Word of God, to enter into its profundity and so experience the mystery of the Mother of God. ... Let us listen to this message and ask the Lord to help us live the mystery of the Church, also in our own time", the Pope concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from Benedict XVI to Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, archbishop emeritus of Bologna, Italy, and the Pope's special envoy to celebrations marking the ninth centenary of the death of St. Anselm. The celebrations are being marked with a week of cultural and religious events in the Italian city of Aosta, birthplace of this doctor of the Church.

  The anniversary of the death of Anselm - who died in Canterbury, England, on 21 April 1109 - provides an opportunity "to call back to our minds one of the most outstanding figures in the tradition of the Church, and in the history of western European thought", writes the Pope.

  "Anselm's exemplary monastic life", he goes on, "the originality with which he re-examined the Christian mystery, his subtle theological and philosophical doctrine, his teachings on the vital importance of conscience and on freedom as responsible adherence to truth and goodness, his ardent activities as pastor of souls dedicated to promoting the freedom of the Church, all this never ceased to excite great interest in the past, an interest which the anniversary of his death is happily reawakening and promoting in various ways and various places".

  "His intense eagerness for knowledge and his inborn proclivity for clarity and logical rigour would push Anselm towards the 'scholae' of his time. Thus he arrived at the monastery of Le Bec in Normandy, where he was able to satisfy his interest in dialectics and where, above all, his vocation to the cloister was awoken". As a thinker, "the saint sought to achieve a vision of the logical links intrinsic to the mystery, to perceive the 'clarity of truth' and hence to understand the evidence of the 'necessary reasons' underlying the mystery".

  "The truth is", the Pope explains, "that his search for the intellect ('intellectus') located between faith ('fides') and vision ('species') had its source in the faith itself and was supported by trust in reason, through which the faith is to a certain extent illuminated". In the monastery of Le Bec, Anselm revealed "his educational genius, which was expressed in that ... style which distinguished the whole of his life, a style which united mercy and firmness".

  Pope Urban II appointed him archbishop of Canterbury, a mission in which he gave ample evidence of "his love for truth, his rectitude, his rigorous faithfulness of conscience, his 'episcopal honesty', and his tireless efforts to free the Church from worldly restraints and from enslavement to [political] calculations incompatible with her spiritual nature".

  St. Anselm, Pope Benedict concludes, "still retains great relevance and exercises a powerful attraction". His "light continues to shine throughout the Church, especially where people cultivate the truths of faith and a desire to examine them through reason".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2009 (VIS) - Given below is the calendar of the Holy Father's liturgical celebrations and activities, scheduled for the month of May.

 - Sunday 3. Fourth Sunday of Easter. At 9 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, priestly ordination of deacons of the diocese of Rome.

 - Friday 8 to Friday 15. Apostolic trip to the Holy Land.

 - Sunday 24. Solemnity of Ascension of the Lord. Pastoral visit to Montecassino, Italy.

 - Sunday 31. Solemnity of Pentecost. Mass at 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church, in accordance with Italian Ministry for Cultural Activities and Heritage, has added its voice to the appeal launched on 9 April following the earthquake in the Italian region of Abruzzo for help "in restoring one or more of the mobile works of art damaged during the tremor".

  The pontifical commission, explains a communique published today, invites all financial and cultural institutions, museums, public and private restoration workshops, and qualified restorers who have not already done so, to give written confirmation of their spontaneous willingness and readiness "to adopt" a mobile work of art, using the phrase "da chiodo a chiodo" to the following e-mail address: beniculturali@beniculturali.va. The request must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - Fr. Charles Morerod, dean of the faculty of philosophy at Rome's Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and professor of dogmatic theology, as secretary general of the International Theological Commission, and consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Archbishop Justo Mullor Garcia, apostolic nuncio, as a member of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

 - As members of the Pontifical Council for the Family: Pablo Adrian Cavallero and Marcela Estela Benhaim Varela, Argentina.

 - As consultors of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Msgr. Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, vicar general of the archdiocese of Toledo, Spain, and Msgr. Wilhelm Imkamp of the clergy of the diocese of Augsburg, Germany.
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