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Pope says Church is guided by Spirit despite scandal

By on Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Pope greets cardinals and bishops at the general audience (CNS)

The Pope greets cardinals and bishops at the general audience (CNS)

Benedict XVI deplored the turmoil surrounding the recent publication of leaked Vatican documents today, but thanked the vast majority of people who work at the Vatican for their dedication and fidelity.

Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience, the Pope said much of the media coverage of the leak of private letters and of the arrest of his personal assistant has been exaggerated and “completely gratuitous, and has gone far beyond the facts, offering an image of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality”.

Pope Benedict said that while the scandal has saddened him “it has never weakened my firm certainty that, despite human weakness, difficulties and trials, the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and will never be without the Lord’s help to support it in its journey”. He offered “encouragement to my closest collaborators and all those who, each day with fidelity and a spirit of sacrifice and in silence, help me fulfill my ministry”.

The Pope also offered his prayers for the people of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region after a second earthquake in nine days caused at least 15 deaths and seriously damaged many buildings, including several churches.

“With my prayers and affection, I am close to the injured and those who are suffering difficulties, and I express my deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives,” the Pope said.

The earthquake brought death when roofs, walls and even church bell towers came crashing down. Hundreds were sent to local hospitals and thousands were left homeless. A quake on May 20 had left five people dead and has been blamed for undermining the stability of many of the buildings that fell nine days later.

After the first quake, Pope Benedict sent £80,000 to the region’s dioceses to help them assist victims.

During his main talk during the audience in St Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict continued his series of talks about prayer in the letters of St Paul.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, prayer is a personal encounter with God, the Pope said. It begins with God’s “yes” to the creatures he loves and should end with the believer’s “Amen”, or yes, to God.

God’s love consoles believers in times of tribulation and gives them the strength to console others. Like St Paul, who was “afflicted with every type of tribulation”, each Christian should know that there is never a moment when God turns his back or moves away, the Pope said.

“Dear brothers and sisters, our lives and our journeys often are marked by difficulty, misunderstandings and suffering – we all know this – but through a faithful relationship with God, through constant daily prayer, we can concretely experience the consolation of God. This is a strength of our faith,” he said.

Despite human failings and infidelity, God is always faithful and continually reaches out to each person with love and support, the Pope said. “God’s way of acting – far different from our own – gives us consolation, strength and hope.”

“There is no one who is not reached by God’s faithful love, which is able to reach even those who continue to respond with a ‘no’” and try to turn their backs on God, he said. “God is waiting for us, is always seeking us out, wants to welcome us into communion, forgive us and give us all fullness of life, hope and peace.”

  • teigitur

    The poor Holy father seems to be sourrounded by very silly and disobedient people. Its obvious the Holy Ghost is sustaining him.

  • Parasum

    “Pope says Church is guided by Spirit despite scandal”

    ## Granted. But I wish he would tease out how this is so. Because, although it is true (& thank God for that !), a lot of people are going to react by thinking “You must be joking !” – to use no stronger expression. It is counter-intuitive to suggest the CC, with its less than wholly attractive record, is guided by the Holy Spirit, & how that can be, needs clarification. Not every Catholic has a degree in theology, or in ecclesiology. Nor does everyone who will hear of this true saying share a Christian, or even religious, universe-view. STM the test is: what might Richard Dawkins or Ian Paisley make of his comment ?

  • Benedict Carter

    One is reminded of the comment of a Cardinal to Napoleon in which he said something to the effect that the surest proof of the Church being divinely founded and sustained lay in the fact that it had survived 1,800 years of its all-too-often useless chief pastors. 

    Very especially true in our own time.

  • Patrick_Hadley

    If the Pope is surrounded by very silly people then he only has himself to blame, since he appointed them all. He has been in charge for seven years. That is long enough to have corrected any mistakes in his initial appointments and remove any problematic people left over from the previous regime. The Holy See has been revealed to be mired in corruption and scandal, and Benedict has been unable to deal with it. There has been a lamentable lack of leadership. If the Holy See were a multi-national company the man at the top would be sacked.  Sadly Benedict’s inept management of the Holy See is to be expected when we look at the mess he made with some of his other decisions.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    SCANDALS ARE GOOD FOR THE CHURCH.

    BUT LET SCANDALS COME OUT. OR RATHER BRING SCANDALS OUT OR FORCE THEM OUT ; DON’T ALLOW THEM TO EAT UP THE CHURCH………LIKE A PIECE OF CANCER INSIDE EATING UP A BODY.

    FOR THIS THE FIRST STEP IS FOR OUR POPE TO TAKE.

    LET OUR POPE  GET OUT OF THE DEAD CRUST THAT INSULATES HIM AGAINST REALITY. LET HIM HAVE A BIT OF DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE PEOPLE(THE PRACTISING, THE CHURCH-GOING PEOPLE) IN DIFFERENT REGIONS OF THE CHURCH. ONLY IF HE DOES THIS HE CAN TEST REALITY WITH THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION JESUS THE LORD BROUGHT US.

    IN THIS WORK OUR POPE NEEDS PEOPLES’ PRAYERFUL SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT.

    YES, SCANDALS ARE GOOD FOR THE CHURCH. THEY HIGHLIGHT THE NEED OF THE CHURCH FOR SALVATION UNLIKE THE PHARISEES AND THOSE ALIGNED WITH THEM WHO NEVER ENTERED THE KINGDOM OF GOD FOR THEY REJECTED THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE.

    THE OFFICIAL CHURCH NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL OR ELSE IT CAN END UP LIKE THOSE WHO DID NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD WHICH JESUS THE LORD BROUGHT.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    THE CHURCH IS SERIOUSLY THINKING OF MAKING YOU THE POPE.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    QUOTE FROM:
    Pope says Church is guided by Spirit despite scandal
    By Cindy Wooden on Wednesday, 30 May 2012

    Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience, the Pope said
    much of the media coverage of the leak of private letters and of the
    arrest of his personal assistant has been exaggerated and “completely
    gratuitous, and has gone far beyond the facts, offering an image of the
    Holy See that does not correspond to reality”.

    THIS COULD BE VERY WELL BE TRUE; MANY EVIL FORCES ARE ALIGNED TOGETHER TO WIPE OUT THE CHURCH.

  • Jae

    That only shows that the Church is a hospital for sinners not a hotel for the self righteous! Anyways, when you say “useless chief pastors”, do you consider St. Pope Pius X to which your group SSPX was named after, as a “useless chief pastor?”

  • Jae

    Nicely said!

  • Jae

    Nicely said, father!

  • Jae

    Thank you for this message from our holy Father. Anyways, it’s happening again, like the out of proportion by the liberal media of sexual abuse scandal all over again! In reality independent academic study found out that the Catholic Church has the lowest incident of sexual abuse in any institutions whether government or private. Only 5% of the clergy were found quilty and the rest of 95% are thrown to unknown, forsaken lands, getting martyred, doing good work for the deprived, poor and marginalized part of humanity where these self righteous dont even dare to look and touch…where is the report?

    The news liberal media as yet again blown it out of proportion because of its hatred of the Catholic Church’s stand against their twisted ideologies of abortion, euthanasia, cloning, gay marriage, free for all etc.

    Does anyone have any idea of who holds the highest percentage of sexual abuse? Hint: Three incidents per school day! The school system! Hmmmm, why did the liberal media seem to overlooked this? Wonder why!

  • Patrick_Hadley

    Please stop shouting. It is regarded as very bad manners to post in capital letters.

  • AgentCormac

    There really is nothing about the Holy See and the superstition it peddles that ‘corresponds to reality’.

  • Jae

    AgentCormac, there is no logic if God will show Himself with all his glory and wonder to men anyways, read about the event and message that was witnessed by secular government, the media and of 70,000 people at Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    THE POPE IS SPEAKING FROM HIS PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

    WE NEED TO TRUST HIM AND STAND BY HIM AND BE CONFIDENT OF OUR OWN CONRIBUTION TO BUILD UP THE CHURCH WITH HIM.

    ST.PETER WAS NOT A PERFECT MAN AND YET JESUS CHOSE HIM IN A UNIQUE WAY.

  • Pentecostalist

    If you read the New Testament you will discover that Peter was a disaster. The leader in the early church was the Holy Spirit acting through individual members.

  • Isaac

    Fr. Thomas did explain (to a similar comment) that he has an eye problem which makes it hard for him to read otherwise.
    (But Fr. Thomas, Patrick Hadley is right that writing in capital letters is considered shouting. I fear many may conclude that you are rude. Perhaps there are other ways to make things easier for you to read?)

  • Isaac

    Which individual members included St. Peter – this was Fr. Thomas’ point! By the way if you read the New Testament you will discover that Jesus chose St. Peter in a unique way!

  • Patrick_Hadley

    As far as I recall he did not say that he had an eye problem, but that he posted in capitals for personal reasons. After all if he could not read lower case letters he would not be able to read anyone else’s posts. The only valid reason I can imagine is if the Caps Lock on his keyboard is permanently stuck in the “on” position.However since keyboards can be bought for a few pounds it ought not be impossible to fix that problem rather more quickly than he has.

  • Bc56

    Open Letter to Professor Joseph Ratzinger (Pope BenedictXVI)
    Dear your Holiness,
    I do not mean to be rude by addressing you as above but I feel it is correct because in chronological order you were first a Professor before becoming a Cardinal and Pope:-
    Most Holy Father,
    1. You must realise that the sexual abuse scandal in some terms represents THE BEAST in biblical terms.THE BEAST is not some symbolic animal-man with a third eye and a unicorn shaped horn on his head. THE BEAST is the sexual abuse scandal and it has entered the church in very violent form. It is foolish to pretend otherwise! This is the deeply satanic force in our church today;
    2. Most of the sexual abuse scandal affects diocesan priests. I realised this today when watching a youtube footage of the Benedictan monks. Most of the abuse in USA, Ireland, Holland, Austria affects diocesan priests. Very few of the monastic orders areaffected by sexual abuse scandal. You might like to reflect in a future weekly audience why this might be the case.
    3. You must discipline your Bishops and Cardinals more severely especially those in Ireland and Australia like Bishop Magee and Cardinals Sean Brady and George Pell. Even though Pell has an Oxford doctorate tthat should not make them immune. You should summon them to the Vatican and then dismiss them publically for their failure. Then the three of them can retire to some monastery. This is absolutely essential to be done. This will serve as a STRONG WARNING to the rest. BE NOT AFRAID of Bertone, Oulette and the rest. In the Vatican what you say goes. Be not meek and weak at this time.
    4. I am sorry but penitance and forgiveness cannot be the order of the day. The clerics hide behind the sacrament of penance. They confess their sins, they are forgiven and then they go out an offend, come back and confess, go out and offend, come back to the Sacrament of Penance etc. You get what I mean? It makes a mockery of the sacrament of reconciliation.
    Thank you for your kind attention
    +Yours in Christ
    Born Catholic

  • Pentecostalist

    ‘By the way if you read the New Testament you will discover that Jesus chose St. Peter in a unique way!’

    I was processed as a Catholic, brought up as a Catholic, and lapsed as a Catholic; and then had a religious experience. Partly because of my work in a politically complicated environment I did not immediately seek a Pentecostal group, but returned to the Catholic church because I saw Pentecostal stirrings there in the Charismatic movement, and so I became a Charismatic Catholic, until the Holy Spirit made the gap between Charismatic and unCharismatic Catholics too difficult to bridge, and too uncomfortable, and led me out; and among other things explained (to my satisfaction anyway:-) that the New Testament passage to which you refer, if read in its entirety, points to the Holy Spirit as the foundation on which the church is built, and which leads into all truth. Peter on the other hand was all over the place. 

  • Patrickhowes

    How very true,hence the situation with the Anglican Church.A good tree can only produce good fruit,but like any fruit on a good tree,it can become infected!

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    THE SEXUALLY IMMORAL (BEST OF BOTH THE WORLD TYPE) SEEMS TO BE CONTRIBUTING MOST TO THE INSTITUTIONAL VALUE OF THE CHURCH; (CONTROL, MONEY, POWER, INFLUENCE, WORK, ACHIEVEMENT, IMAGE, NAME, FAME,…….); THEIR PRACTICALITY IS WHAT COUNTS. AND SO THEY ARE PRACTICALLY LEFT UNTOUCHED. CLEVER MEN ARE FOUND THRIVING EVERYWHERE.

    BUT THEN DID JESUS THE LORD DEPEND UPON CLEVER MEN FOR GETTING HIS WORK DONE?

    WHAT ABOUT THE LEADERS, THE BISHOPS THEMSELVES! HOW MANY AMONG THEM SHINE AS APOSTLES OF THE LORD? OR AS PEOPLE WHO EDIFY OR INSPIRE AND BRING PEOPLE TO CHRIST THE LORD!

    WHAT IS THE NEED OF HAVING TWO KINDS OF PRIESTS : SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS!
    IT HELPS TO DIVIDE AND RULE?

    ONCE I WAS TOLD BY SOMEONE THAT POPE JOHN PAUL WAS CONSIDERING TO GET RID OF SUCH A DIVIDED SET UP.

    ORGANISED CHRISTIANITY BY MOVING AWAY FROM THE THE LORD’S WAY IN RECRUITING  APOSTLES/PRIESTS HAS DONE UNTOLD HARM. IN THE PROCESS THE CHURCH HAS PRACTICALLY ENDED UP AS THE WORLD OR PERHAPS MORE WORLDLY THAN THE WORLD ITSELF!

    HAS NOT THE LORD TOLD US ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SALT LOSES IT’S SALTINESS? HOW IT GETS THROWN OUT AND TRAMPLED UPON BY MEN? IS IT NOT HAPPENING?

  • Balds50

    To Jae. The proportion of priest in sexual abuse scandal is not 5%. Initially the church said that it was 1.4% same as the other professions (like doctors, lawyers, firemen, teachers etc. Also they used that percentage to justify that the percentage was the same as in the population of married, implying that celibacy wasn’t the cause…..
    But recently in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia it was disclosed that they have 323 priests. Out of this 35 priests have files involving “the problem”, meaning sexual abuse or being investigated or suspected of same. So you can see that the percentage is not 1.4%. It is not 5% as you suggest. It is in access of 10% as the Philadelphia data suggests! If you think 10% is a HIGH NUMBER, this is quite accurate and its because the sexual abuse cases are concentrated in certain countries and within those countries (like Ireland, USA, Austria) etc. for some reason seems to be CONCENTRATED in certain diocese. So to average out based on a national average is quite inaccurate….. 

  • born catholic

    To Father Thomas – you should know this – the difference between diocesan priests and monastic ones is not just DIVIDE AND RULE or DIVIDE TO RULE. Monastic orders were mostly created in Europe during times of great doctrinal crisis. So the Benedictans were a response to what was going on in the environment at the time – was it Manichees or something of that similar spelling -whatever that doctrinal dispute was. Some of those dispute were too scholarly and difficult for the layman to follow. Monastic order were catalysts to what was happening in the environment. Saint Benedict was moved by the church falling to ruins. He thought it was his local church so he rushed to fix it. It was figuratively the church of Christ being challenged at that time by deviationists.

    No when i was watching the Benedictans it struck me that even though they were detached and cloistered there was little abuse in the monastic orders when compared to the diocesan priests. That got me wondering why? Father Thomas do you know the reasons?

    Is it because the temptations of the cloistered life is less? Is it because the discernment is longer-sometimes 8 to 15 years? Is it because the novice is seldom left alone? (I noticed in the film that when novices move around they are always in groups of two or three. It would be hard to molest a group right? But an individual choir boy or altar server would be easy prey?

    Also considering your name is Indian I presume you are posting from India. How come nothing has been discovered about sexual abuse in other countries east of Italy? I mean is there no sodomy in Turkey, Malta, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Korea, Japan, Philippines etc? Why we don’t hear about sexual abuse cases in Asia and Africa? Father Thomas do you think this abuse is a problem of European origin (many of the priest molesters in USA and Canada have Irish origins) Could this pathology be genetic? What do you think? I’m hoping from this para that you would have been trained as a scientist prior to seminary studies and can answer it psychologically and scientifically because it might relate to European genes?! because of its absence in Africa and Asia?

    You see most of the bishops and hierarchy find it difficult to deal with this sexual abuse because it is a human interest issue and they are ill trained. If its about philosophy they might know. If its about Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and for example topics like TRUTH and SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH they might know. But sexual abuse causes involving biology, psychology, genetic etc. would they be qualified in their seminary studies to understand this and deal with this?

  • Balds50

    Again we have Pope Benedict making himself low. What humility the man has. He is saying that the Holy Spirit is pre-eminent. Not the Pope’s per sec from Saint Peter downwards. Yes he is talking about the sexual abuse, but the man is also signalling to the Lutherans. He has always dreamed of rehabilitating Luther. Could Luther have been right al along? The Pope seems to be addressing the sexual abuse crisis but downgrading the office of the papacy by giving primacy to the Holy Spirit. Now that is one clever man!

    Perhaps a delegation of Lutherans better go to Rome for some unity talks while this Pope is still alive and mentally agile? Lutheran was a German and this Pope being a German might favour a Unity with the Lutherans at this time? (just like his initiatives with SSPX where he was the assigned mediator of PaulVI and JP2 and failed- so now as Pope he wants to make do on his failure and his very original initiatives with the Anglican ordinariate) 

  • Balds50

    Now in Philadelphia the msgr Lynn who kept the records of the priests is being prosecuted and might be jailed; while his colleagues who did more evil things and were the truly evil men allowing themselves to behave in devilish and truly satanic ways are not exposed and are going Scot-free?

  • Dantescomedy

    Thankfully the Holy Father recognises in this article that the vast majority of Vatican staff are faithful and loyal.  Sadly we see in many different quarters (this blog included), that it only takes one individual to cause conflict and division.  The Church will endure.

  • Dantescomedy

    Talk about getting side tracked…anger management perhaps Patrick?

  • Jae

    These 10% are just allegations, meaning the number includes those cases that are being investigated IF IT HAS merits to proceed to a trial, which is not even at the stage of conviction. Many cases of so called sexual abuse are found to be bogus that immoral people just want to cash in.

  • guardian angel

    Yes Born Catholic is right, the clerics must be disciplined even if they are bishops, archbishops and cardinals. Their error is that they covered up. They cannot be protected for being “laundrymen of the church” This church is starting to look very corrupt and manipulative!

    High clerics protect the church, minimise the legal damages, save the church millions of dollars in damages. Meanwhile countless young lives of men and women have been permanently damaged physically and mentally. Jae is so hypocritical and surely a man of the cloth…talking about “cashing in” you mean Jae you must be aman of the cloth because you are more concerned about the money of the church (and preserving same) than offering sympathy and consolation for the victims. You represent all that is BAD in your church because you see this in financial terms. Otherwise why use the word “cash” or “cashing in”?

  • guardian angel

    As a result of this scandal perhaps we should leave the church enmasse and we should all be Lutherans?”

  • Guest2435

    Holy Father -Benedict XVI please don’t be weak! Discipline Magee,Brady, Pell immediately. You would have done the RIGHT THING! It would be a first time and it would send a sharp signal as Born Catholic says….. There is no shortage of replacements/good men in the lower ranks! Make sure the replacements are solid in their pastoral and teaching/professorial background. Choose like minded people like yourself as replacements. Maybe you have 10years left of your life as our Pope…after you have gone people will surely remember you as having DONE THE RIGHT THING. Pray to the Holy Spirit and act decisively with courage.

  • Isaac

    I’ll largely restrict my response to your comments on Peter:

    First, it is not an accurate summary of the New Testament record that Peter (after our Lord’s ascension) was “all over the place”. Read the Book of Acts.

    Second, yes, in a certain sense the Holy Spirit is the “foundation” of the church (which is celebrated in the feast of Pentecost) but so were the Apostles. This is New Testament teaching: “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2:20).

    So the testimony of the New Testament remains that Jesus chose Peter in a unique way. And this us true even if he was “all over the place”. 

    (While I am sympathetic to your life story, it is not relevant here. The evidence on the basis of which to decide this matter long predates either of our lives. I am not asking you to return to the Catholic Church or to cease to be Pentecostal; simply to acknowledge the data of the New Testament.)

  • liulan991

    tinyurl.com/73huk6r

  • Guest2345

    Jae the vast majority of reported or suspected cases are actually true..not “bogus” as you claim….Even the suspects when they were removed in USA it was a good thing

    Bald50 comments are spot on. The Pope is doing many things at once:-
    1. Acknowledging that the HOly Spirit helps us in times of crisis. Meaning this GOD Must be real. If this god is real and ever present on earth, it means the other 2 gods are also real;
    2. Yes if he says the Holy Spirit is pre-eminent that is correct. One stone thrown to kill two birds. You see he is modifying the office of the pope or papacy so that its agreeable to the separated brethren. So if you are Wesleyan, Methodist, Calvinist, Lutheran QUICK March over the River Tiber to the Vatican please. The UNITY DOORS are open.

    This Pope chose the name Benedict like Benedict 15 to focus on unity. Benedict 15 was Unity of Europe in time of war. Benedict 16 is unity of all denominations of Christians.

    Pray that this Scholar-Pope lives on for another 10 years…..As the saying goes, YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET! because THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

    My hats of the Pope Benedict XVI

  • Guest2345

    Father Thomas many posts awaiting your comments and clarifications but you are silent. Are you well?

  • Guest2345

    Teigitur if the Pope is surrounded by silly men he can just dismiss them. He appointed most of those cardinals. The truth must be more sinister – look at the 3rd secret of Fatima – him and Bertone redid the secret together. It was supposed to be about the end of the world during JohnXXIII and PaulVI time. And suddenly its about the assassination of a pope in a field of martyrs and that supposedly happened to JP2 in 1981. All these “so called secrets” can be redone backwards to fit the facts!

    Maybe Pope Benedict XVI is not as free as you think. What if the secretariat of state has a file of him with some incriminating information from his brown shirt days. With this then Pope Benedict XVI can be manipulated. The Catholic church is THE BEST at manipulating a laity or cleric with their past skeletons and secrets

  • maideqi

    tinyurl.com/73huk6r