jan 112008

Fra midten av desember, med budskapet til Verdens Fredsdag til og med budskapet til mange lands diplomater mandag 7/1, sa pave Benedikt til sammen 17 500 ord, og John Allen gir her en oppsummering av hva han sa – her har jeg bare tatt med overskriftene til hans sju punkt.

Between those rhetorical bookends fell three important homilies (Christmas, the Feast of Mary the Mother of God on New Year’s, and Epiphany), as well as a major speech to the Roman Curia, the year-end Urbi et Orbi message, a vespers service on New Year’s Eve, and four Angelus addresses. … Since this period is now over, it’s a good time to roll the highlight reel. Doing so may offer hints of Benedict’s priorities for 2008, a year that will feature his April 15-20 visit to the United States.

(1) Around the World
At the geopolitical level, Benedict underscored the Vatican’s “preferential option” for the Middle East and Africa.

(2) The Family
The theme of the World Peace Day message was “The Human Family, A Community of Peace.” The pope argued that the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, is the natural building block of society and a “school of peace.”

(3) The Environment
Benedict XVI returned repeatedly to what has become a leitmotif of his social and political concerns: the environment, especially energy scarcity.

(4) Islam
Benedict twice cited a letter addressed to him in October by 138 Muslim jurists, clerics and scholars, suggesting theological common ground between Muslims and Christians.

(5) Natural Law
Benedict XVI repeatedly insisted that social values such as peace, justice and human rights have to be anchored in natural law, meaning a universal moral truth that cuts across cultures and time.

(6) Christ and Justice
Perhaps the signature touch in Benedict’s social teaching is his insistence that efforts to build a just society are doomed to failure — at times, monstrous failure — without God, who is revealed in Christ.

(7) “Affirmative Orthodoxy”
Finally, the holidays offered illustrations of what I’ve come to call Benedict XVI’s “affirmative orthodoxy,” meaning a defense of classic Catholic doctrine phrased in positive fashion.

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