Pope’s message overlooked amid abuse reports

POPE BENEDICT XVI’s Palm Sunday homily appears to have fallen victim to extensive reporting in the mainstream media of the sex abuse issue in the Church.

Several reports have suggested that Pope Benedict had made comments on the crisis during his homily at Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter’s Square.



While the Holy Father did remind worshippers that belief in Jesus Christ helped lead Christians ‘towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion’ the homily, entitled The Cross Is Part of the Ascent Toward the Height of Jesus Christ, had a broader, more spiritual and ultimately less sensationalist message at its hearts than has been suggested.

Many young people participated in the celebration, which also marked this year’s World Youth Day, and listened to what the Pope had to say:

“The Gospel for the blessing of the palms that we have listened to together here in St Peter’s Square begins with the phrase: ‘Jesus went ahead of everyone going up to Jerusalem’ (Luke 19:28). Immediately at the beginning of the liturgy this day, the Church anticipates her response to the Gospel, saying, “Let us follow the Lord.” With that the theme of Palm Sunday is clearly expressed. It is about following. Being Christian means seeing the way of Jesus Christ as the right way of being human—as that way that leads to the goal, to a humanity that is fully realised and authentic. In a special way, I would like to repeat to all the young men and women, on this 25th World Youth Day, that being Christian is a journey, or better: It is a pilgrimage, it is a going with Jesus Christ. A going in that direction that he has pointed out to us and is pointing out to us.

“But what direction are we talking about? How do we find it? The line from our Gospel offers two indications in this connection. In the first place it says that it is a matter of an ascent. This has in the first place a very literal meaning. Jericho, where the last stage of Jesus’s pilgrimage began, is 250 meters below sea-level while Jerusalem—the goal of the journey—is 740-780 meters above sea level: an ascent of almost 1,000 meters. But this external rout is above all an image of the interior movement of existence, which occurs in the following of Christ: It is an ascent to the true height of being human. Man can choose an easy path and avoid all toil. He can also descend to what is lower. He can sink into lies and dishonesty. Jesus goes ahead of us, and he goes up to what is above. He leads us to what is great, pure, he leads us to the healthy air of the heights: to life according to truth; to the courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of dominant opinions; to the patience that stands up for and supports the other. He leads us to availability to the suffering, to the abandoned; to the loyalty that stands with the other even when the situation makes it difficult.

“He leads us to availability to bring help; to the goodness that does not let itself be disarmed not even by ingratitude. He leads us to —he leads us to God…

To read rest of the Pope’s Palm Sunday homily visit



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