Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pope's Audience: St. Simon and St. Jude

From Asia News Italy:

Pressing ahead with his illustration of the personalities of the apostles, the pope today dealt with Simon the Canaanite and Jude Thaddeus. Coming as they did from totally different social realities, they “are an evident sign that Jesus calls his disciples and collaborators from the most diverse social and religious strata, without any preclusion. He is interested in people, not social categories or labels! And the great thing is that within the group of his followers, all lived together although they were different, overcoming the imaginable difficulties. It was Jesus himself, in fact, who was the reason for their cohesion, in who all came together. This clearly is a lesson for us, who are often inclined to stress differences and perhaps contradictions, forgetting that in Jesus Christ is given to us the strength to calm our conflicts.”
The pope then turned to a letter, attributed to Jude Thaddeus, that harshly criticizes “those who use the grace of God as a pretext to excuse their debauchery and to lead their brothers astray with unacceptable teachings, introducing division within the Church”. Benedict XVI said “such controversial” language is no longer used today to “state very clearly both what remains distinctive in Christianity as well as that which is incompatible with it. The way of indulgence and dialogue, which the Second Vatican Council happily took up, should surely be followed with firm constancy. All the same, it should not make one forget the duty to hark back to, and to highlight with the same force, the main and irrefutable lines of our Christian identity. On the other hand, we must bear in mind that this identity of ours is not only expressed on a merely cultural or superficial level. Rather it calls for the strength, clarity and courage of provocation that belong to the faith.”
The pope added: “It is clear that the author of these lines fully lives his faith, to which belong considerable realities like moral integrity and joy, faith and finally praise, all motivated solely by the goodness of our unique God and the mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is why both Simon the Canaanite and Jude Thaddeus help us to rediscover anew and to live tirelessly the beauty of the Christian faith, capable of bearing strong and at the same time serene witness.