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At the General Audience Benedict XVI speaks of God's almightiness as an expression of love, mercy and forgiveness

It is far from easy today to talk about God's fatherhood, especially in the Western world, marked by the break-up of families and by absorbing concerns and commitments and its incapacity to provide credible models of fatherhood. However, in speaking to us of God, of his revelation, the Bible shows what it really means to be a loving and merciful father, capable of forgiving. This is the essential meaning of the Catechesis that Benedict XVI offered to the faithful taking part in the General Audience, Wednesday 30 January, in the Paul VI Hall. Continuing his Reflections on the Creed, the Pope dwelt in particular on the difficult relationship between father and child in a context, such as today's, in which even communication is becoming problematic and trust in the father figure gradually eroded. It is consequently becoming difficult even merely to try “to imagine God as father”, the Pope noted.

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In Message for World Day of Social Communications the Pope points out values for the digital world

ThEngaging in  “a wise and balanced way, help(s) to foster forms of dialogue and debate which, if conducted respectfully and with concern for privacy, responsibility and truthfulness”. Social networks can “reinforce the bonds of unity between individuals and effectively promote the harmony of the human family”. The Pope wrote this in his Message for the 47th World Day of Social Communications which will be celebrated on 12 May. The text was presented on Thursday, 24 January, in the Holy See Press Office by Archbishop Celli and Mons. Tighe, President and Secretary respectively of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Benedict XVI's reflection is moved by the understanding that “the digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people”. In this environment, social networks are the “result of human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the dynamics of communication”. “A considered understanding” of this dimension, the Pontiff warns, is therefore “the prerequisite for a significant presence” of Christians in digital social networks.

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At the General Audience the Pope begins a reflection on the Creed

“Christians must not be afraid to swim 'against the tide' in order to live their faith, resisting the temptation to conform”. The Pope said this at the General Audience on Wednesday morning, 23 January, proposing the testimony of Abraham at the beginning of a new series of reflections on the “Creed”. To the faithful gathered in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope presented the Patriarch as “the first great reference for speaking of faith”. God asked him “to set out, to leave his homeland behind him”.  And in this regard Benedict XVI asked himself: “How would we have responded to such an invitation?”. In fact, it was “a departure in the dark”, he explained: “a journey that demanded radical obedience and trust. To which faith alone gives access”.

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One of the gravest sins “that disfigure the Church’s face”is the sin “against her visible unity”, and, in particular, “the historical divisions which separated Christians and which have not yet been surmounted”. The Holy Father said this at the Angelus on Sunday, 20 January, in St Peter's Square, speaking of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity that is being celebrated from 18 to 25 January on the theme “What does the Lord require of us?”, from the words of the Prophet Micah. The Pope considers that the annual ecumenical meeting is always  “an event much appreciated by believers and communities which reawakens in all the desire for and spiritual commitment to full communion”. In this regard Benedict XVI mentioned the “very important” experience of the prayer vigil, celebrated last 29 December in St Peter's Square with  thousands of young people from across Europe and with the ecumenical community of Taizé: “a moment of grace in which we experienced the beauty of forming one  in Christ”.

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Vatican II wanted ecumenical commitment to be an essential part of the Church's mission

The Year of Faith which Pope Benedict XVI has given us is closely connected with the Second Vatican Council not only from the temporal viewpoint but also by its content. It was in fact inaugurated on the day of the commemoration of the opening of the Council 50 years ago and was motivated by the intention to put its principal magisterial affirmations into practice, seeing them as the crucial reference point for the mission of the Church in our day too. These affirmations include the ecumenical commitment, assumed by the Catholic Church – which is no secondary theme of the Council but one of its main priorities – as we can already read in the first sentence of the Decree on Ecumenism: “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council” (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 1).

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* Our Way of Life *

 

"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)

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