Monday 20 May 2024

Christ is Our Peace! Homilies and Addresses in Turkey - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Books

Christ is Our Peace!
Homilies and Addresses in Turkey
Pope Benedict XVI
ISBN 9781860824319
ISBN 1860824315
CTS Booklet Do755

Christ is Our Peace! Homilies and Addresses in Turkey - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Books

Over the last few years, I have read a number of books by and about Pope Benedict XVI. Of the popes in my lifetime, I find his writings of immense spiritual benefit. I would state that I underappreciated him until his resignation. And since then, I have read much. And with each piece I read I appreciate his wisdom, faith, and stand against modernism. This work is far more cautious than much of his writings I have a feeling this is more political because of where the addresses were given. This was another excellent read. 

The descriptions of the book is:

“At a time in history when great themes come together - Europe’s future and its Christian heritage; Religion’s role in the cause of humanity; Islam’s place in today’s world; Catholic and Orthodox relations — Pope Benedict XVI, in his addresses and homilies while visiting Turkey in 2006, makes compulsive reading. Can mankind recognise its common destiny, amid the scandal and turmoil of our age? In Christ, this destiny of true freedom and peace can be realised, in love and service towards each other.”

The volume is drawn from talks and homilies given between November 28th and December 1st 2006. The chapters in this edition are:

Sincere exchange between friends
Serving the cause of humanity 
Christ is our peace!
A love rediscovered! 
Called to be fishers of men. 
Dismantling all that divides us 
Our mission — to offer Christ to the world! 

I highlighted a few passages while reading this volume, some of them are:

“All this, however, remains insufficient unless there is authentic dialogue, that is to say fruitful debate between the parties concerned, in order to arrive at lasting and acceptable political solutions, respectful of persons and peoples. I am thinking most especially of the disturbing conflict in the Middle East, which shows no sign of abating and weighs heavily on the whole of international life; I am thinking of the risk of peripheral conflicts multiplying and terrorist actions spreading. I appreciate the efforts of numerous countries currently engaged in rebuilding peace in Lebanon, Turkey among them. In your presence, Ambassadors, I appeal once more to the vigilance of the international community, that it not abandon its responsibilities, but make every effort to promote dialogue among all parties involved, which alone can guarantee respect for others, while safeguarding legitimate interests and rejecting recourse to violence.”

“The fact that the majority of the population of this country is Muslim is a significant element in the life of society, which the State cannot fail to take into account, yet the Turkish Constitution recognises every citizen’s right to freedom of worship and freedom of conscience.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, in this Eucharistic celebration we praise the Lord for Mary’s divine motherhood, a mystery solemnly confessed and proclaimed in Ephesus at the Ecumenical Council of 431.”

“We have listened to a passage from Saint John’s Gospel which invites us to contemplate the moment of the Redemption when Mary, united to her Son in the offering of his sacrifice, extended her motherhood to all men and women, and in particular to the disciples of Jesus. A privileged witness to that event was the author of the Fourth Gospel, John, the only one of the Apostles to remain at Golgotha with the Mother of Jesus and the other women. Mary’s motherhood, which began with her fiat in Nazareth, is fulfilled at the foot of the Cross.”

“The Son of God thus fulfilled his mission: born of the Virgin in order to share our human condition in everything but sin, at his return to the Father he left behind in the world the sacrament of the unity of the human race (cf. Lumen Gentium, 1): the family “brought into unity from the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Saint Cyprian, De Orat. Dom., 23: PL 4, 536), at whose heart is this new bond between the Mother and the disciple. Mary’s divine motherhood and her ecclesial motherhood are thus inseparably united.”

“The first reading presented what could be called the “Gospel” of the Apostle of the Gentiles: all men and women, including the pagans, are called in Christ to share fully in the mystery of salvation.”

“Like Christ himself, the Church is not only the instrument of unity, but also its efficacious sign. And the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ and of the Church, is the Mother of that mystery of unity which Christ and the Church inseparably signify and build up, in the world and throughout history.”

“Dear brothers and sisters, in this visit I have wanted to convey my personal love and spiritual closeness, together with that of the universal Church, to the Christian community here in Turkey, a small minority which faces many challenges and difficulties daily. With firm trust let us sing, together with Mary, a magnificat of praise and thanksgiving to God who has looked with favour upon the lowliness of his servant (cf. Zk 1:48).” 

“I likewise recall the outstanding saints and pastors who have watched over the See of Constantinople, among them Saint Gregory of Nazianzus and Saint John Chrysostom, whom the West also honours as Doctors of the Church.” 

“In this part of the Eastern world were also held the seven Ecumenical Councils which Orthodox and Catholics alike acknowledge as authoritative for the faith and discipline of the Church. They are enduring milestones and guides along our path towards full unity.”

“Today, in this Patriarchal Church of Saint George, we are able to experience once again the communion and call of the two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, in the meeting of the Successor of Peter and his Brother in the episcopal ministry, the head of this Church traditionally founded by the Apostle Andrew. Our fraternal encounter highlights the special relationship uniting the Churches of Rome and Constantinople as Sister Churches.”

“In that same spirit, my presence here today is meant to renew our commitment to advancing along the road towards the re-establishment — by God’s grace — of full communion between the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople.”

“Together let us continue to pray for the unity of all Christians, so that, by receiving this gift from above with open hearts, we may be ever more convincing witnesses of the truth of the Gospel and better servants of the Church’s mission.”

“In this Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, I wish to thank God for all his works in human history and to invoke upon everyone the gifts of the Spirit of holiness. As Saint Paul has just reminded us, the Spirit is the enduring source of our faith and unity.” 

“Brothers and sisters, let us now hand over our desire to serve the Lord to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Servant of the Lord. She prayed in company with the Apostles in the Upper Room, in the days leading up to Pentecost. Together with her, let us pray to Christ her Son: Send forth, O Lord, your Holy Spirit upon the whole Church, that he may dwell in each of her members and make them heralds of your Gospel! Amen.”

I hope those quotes give you a feel for this volume. This was one of a number of volumes written by Pope Benedict XVI on various papal visits. I have a number of these I am trying to track down that are proving most elusive. The CTS had a wide range of booklets based on his sermons, audiences, and papal visits. I have been working on tracking them down, and some are very hard to find at a reasonable price or at all. I was glad to track this one down, but of all his works I have read I struggle with it. This book feels like very careful political language was used. The meetings with officials, was hard to read. The later talks to Christians have much depth.  

This volume was not as engaging as many I have read by Pope Benedict XVI. If you can lay your hands on it, it would be worth a read, but it is by far my least favourite volume from Pope Benedict XVI. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Benedict XVI:

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