Pope Benedict XVI Reminds Children to Make Quality Life Goals

The Pope spoke to children today in Britain and sent them a very positive message. The article below from EWTN.com tells all about that great message given by Pope Benedict. The message of searching for what makes you happy in life, while still remaining in touch with your religion and its faith and morals is obviously a wonderful message to be giving to young children. If kept at heart those words can really mean a lot and lead to a successful and religiously sound life style for young people.

“Today the Holy Father encouraged schoolchildren in the U.K. to aim high and “not to be content with second-best.” Seeking holiness and “true happiness” in their lives, he said, will lead them to sainthood.

An estimated 4,000 children were in attendance from all over Great Britain for the event, which was held on the sports field at St. Mary’s University College campus in London. The encounter was broadcast to all the Catholic schools in Scotland, England and Wales.

Observing that it is rare that a Pope, or anyone at all, has the opportunity to speak to all of the Catholic schoolchildren in the U.K. at the same time, he said he had something he wanted to tell them.

“I hope,” he said, “that among those of you istening to me today there are some of the future saints of the 21st century. What God wants most of all for each one of you is that you should become holy.”

“He loves you much more than you could ever begin to imagine and he wants the very best for you. And by far the best thing for you is to grow in holiness.”

He told the children to think about what kind of people they would like to be, and in doing so, he asked them “not to be content with second best … not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others.”

One of “the great tragedies” in the world, he said, is that people never find happiness. It is not to be found in money or fame, but the “key to true happiness,” said the Pope, “is to be found in God.

“God wants your friendship. And once you enter into friendship with God, everything in your life begins to change. As you come to know him better, you find you want to reflect something of his infinite goodness in your own life. You are attracted to the practice of virtue.”

And, in doing so, they will begin to avoid selfishness and greed, to feel greater compassion and to act with charity, empathy, kindness and generosity, he told them, and they will be “well on their way to becoming saints.”

Urging them to maintain sight of the “bigger picture” in their studies, he turned to educational institutions. “A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person,” he said. “And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all its students to become saints.”” – “Benedict XVI Urges Children to Pursue Sainthood”, EWTN

Scotland Called to Be More Outwardly Catholic

“During Mass at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park on Thursday afternoon the Holy Father called on Scottish Catholics not to be afraid to bring their faith into the public square. “Society today,” he explained, “needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens.”

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Scottish Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level.

Raising a theme that he first introduced just before his election as Pope, the Holy Father said that because the “dictatorship of relativism … threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good,” the “evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times.”

He noted that in contemporary society some people attempt to relegate religion to the private sphere, even painting “it as a threat to equality and liberty.”

“Yet,” he said, “religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.”

The Pope’s words take on a particular significance in British society today, as Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to shut down because they wouldn’t comply with a piece of legislation called the Equality Act. The Catholic Church was responsible for around half of all adoptions in the U.K.

He then made an appeal to lay faithful, calling on them to be “in accordance with (their) baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum.

“Society today,” he explained, “needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility.” – “Pope Calls For Vocal Catholic Presence in Scottish Public Life”, EWTN

This post from EWTN.com tells about Pope Benedict and how he would like to see more input from teachers, politicians, and other professions in way of keeping Catholicism relevant in Scotland today. This is an important goal to strive for because religion as whole seems to be losing it’s place amongst political and real world situations these days. This plea is important because keeping religious values in every day life is something that easily would the world a better place. Hopefully people can come to grasp this concept and take the Pope’s advice. Not just Scotland could take something away from this message.

Pope Tells of Saint Hildegard

“Pope Benedict said the life of medieval nun St Hildegard of Bingen demonstrated that “women make a special contribution to theology”.

He was reflecting on the life of the 12th-century German Benedictine religious who experienced mystical visions that “were rich in theological content … They referred to the main events of the history of salvation and use a mainly poetic and symbolic language,” the pontiff said, according to a Catholic News Agency report.

“In the central part of her work she develops the theme of the mystical marriage between God and humankind which came about in the Incarnation.

“Even in this brief outline,” he continued, “we see how theology can receive a special contribution from women, because they are capable of speaking of God and of the mysteries of the faith with their specific intelligence and sensitivity.”

“Hildegard’s popularity led many people to consult her,” the Holy Father recalled. “Monastic communities, both male and female, as well as bishops and abbots all sought her guidance. And many of her answers remain valid, even for us.”

“With the spiritual authority she possessed, in the last years of her life Hildegard began to travel,” the Pope recounted. “She was considered to be a messenger sent by God, in particular calling monastic communities and clergy to a life in conformity with their vocation.”” – “St Hildegard an Example for Women in Theology: Pope”, CathNews

This posting was from CathNews.com and is all about Saint Hildegard. It is good to see Pope Benedict XVI spreading to people how awesome Saint Hildegard was in her life. She is not one of the most popular patron saints, but none the less did wonderful things with her life.

Peace Attempts Being Made Over Holy Land

“As the Palestinian and Israeli governments seek an agreement in Washington D.C., the Israeli president and Pope Benedict XVI hoped for “lasting peace” on Thursday. The Pope was recognized by the Nobel Prize-winning Israeli leader Shimon Peres during a meeting between the two as the “Shepherd” leading to the “the fields of peace.”

President Shimon Peres was accompanied by five others for the visit to the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo, including the director of his office, Ms. Yona Bartal. They spent the morning visiting on-site gardens and met with leaders of the Vatican secretariat of state before the 11 a.m. audience with Pope Benedict.

According to a statement released by the Holy See following the 40-minute encounter, the resumption of direct talks between Israel and Palestine was primary among the themes of discussion in the private meeting.

On Thursday in Washington D.C., through U.S. government mediation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are returning to the negotiation table after a nearly two-year absence of talks.

According to a Reuters report, President Barack Obama hopes that the two sides can reach an agreement that, within a year, would establish the parameters of the Palestinian state and ensure security for Israel.

President Obama said on Wednesday, “This moment of opportunity may not soon come again. They cannot afford to let it slip away.”

For their part, President Peres and the Holy Father hoped that the return to speaking terms might “assist in reaching an agreement that is respectful of the legitimate aspirations of the two peoples and capable of bringing lasting peace to the Holy Land and to the entire region.”

Peres received the Nobel Prize in Peace 1994, jointly with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, for his work towards the creation of peace in the Middle East.” – “Pope and Israeli President Hope for Peace in Holy Land”, EWTN

This article reported by EWTN.com discusses the recent attempts for peace in the Holy Land. Obviously the Holy Land has long been fought over, and this is wrong. It is a land of great importance for numerous religions and it would be really nice to see some cooperation and peacefulness there. Numerous politicians met with Pope Benedict XVI at the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo. We will see if the outcome of this is good, and I will pray that it will be.

Advice from Pope Benedict XVI

“At the closing of a summer seminar for his former students, the Holy Father urged gratitude for the Eucharist, remarking that the Sacrament shows how “God’s style” is different than man’s, given the human tendency to give “only to those who will give us something back.”

The Pope’s former students gathered in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo between Aug. 27-30 for their annual seminar, which is often referred to as the “Ratzinger Schulerkreis.” According to Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano (LOR), the theme of this year’s encounter focused on the Second Vatican Council. This year’s gathering drew the participation of 40 priests, professors, religious and lay people.

LOR reported that the topic of the four-day seminar was chosen by the Pope himself from among several options proposed by the association of his former theology students. Also selected by the Pope was the main speaker, Archbishop Kurt Koch, the recently appointed replacement for Cardinal Walter Kasper as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Archbishop Koch’s addresses to the group examined “The Second Vatican Council between tradition and innovation” and “Sacrosanctum concilium and the post-Conciliar reform of the liturgy.”

Pope Benedict was present at the meeting hall, located near the Castel Gandolfo town center, for several events on the schedule. After Archbishop Koch’s Friday and Saturday sessions, the Pope participated in discussions. On Sunday morning, he presided over Mass for his former students and joined them for breakfast.

“At the end of today’s Gospel,” the Pope said during his homily on Sunday, “the Lord makes us see how, in reality, we continue to live like the pagans do. We extend invitations only to those who can invite us. We give only to those who can give back.”

“But God’s style is different,” he said, adding that “we experience it in the Eucharist.”

“He invites us to His table, us, who have nothing to give Him,” the Holy Father continued. “During this event of the Eucharist, let’s let ourselves be touched above all by gratitude for the fact that God exists, that, despite our having nothing to give Him and being full of sins, He invites us to His table and wants to sit with us.”

“But,” the Pontiff noted, “we also want to be touched by guilt for being so slightly detached from the pagan style, for living so slightly the newness, God’s style.”

“And because of this,” the Holy Father concluded, “let’s start Mass by asking for forgiveness: a forgiveness that will change us, that will really make us similar to God, in His resemblance.”” – “Holy Father Closes ‘Summer School’ Urging Gratitude for God’s Forgiveness”, EWTN

It is good to see Pope Benedict teaching groups of mixed audiences about how to become closer with God. He has students, priests, bishops, and lay people all listening to him as equals. This is a beautiful thing and I am glad to see it happening. His main point of God giving to those who have nothing to return is an extremely valuable lesson that people should really take to heart more often. After reading it I know that I certainly am going to try to be more generous to others today.

September Prayer Intentions from the Pope

“Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for September is: “That in less developed parts of the world the proclamation of the Word of God may renew people’s hearts, encouraging them to work actively toward authentic social progress”.

His mission intention is: “That by opening our hearts to love we may put an end to the numerous wars and conflicts which continue to bloody our world”.”-“Benedict XVI’s Prayer Intentions for September”, EWTN

This concise statement sums up what Pope Benedict thinks would make the world a better place during the month of September. While these things won’t happen over the course of just a month, I think it is important that everybody keep the Pope’s intention at heart. If we just think with this mentality it can start making the first move towards a better tomorrow. I was glad that EWTN took the time to post this statement made by Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Will See Performance by Susan Boyle in Scotland

This article from Catholic News Agency was a surprise to me, but a pleasant one. I had no idea that Susan Boyle would be singing for Pope Benedict this fall when he will be in the UK. This is great because Boyle is obviously a wonderful vocalist, and it makes sense because she gained her start in music singing in her Scottish churches choir. It will be good to see a Catholic performing for the Pope, I mean it only makes sense right?

“The surprise music sensation Susan Boyle will sing for Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the U.K., a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland has confirmed. Boyle will be joined by music star Michelle McManus, who is already scheduled to sing before the Papal Mass in Glasgow.

Responding to an inquiry from CNA, Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office (SCMO), said on Wednesday, “Susan will sing.”

He added that organizers hope to release more details at the beginning of next week.

Boyle, a middle-aged Scottish woman who sang in her Catholic parish’s choir for decades, became a sensation after her appearance on a British talent show. While the show’s audience reacted with hostility to her plain-looking appearance at first, they cheered with deep appreciation after her high-caliber rendition of the song “I Dreamed a Dream.”

The singer’s first album has sold millions of copies.” – “Susan Boyle Will Sing for Pope During UK Visit”, Catholic News Agency

Archbishop Hopeful that Pope’s Visit Will Help Faith

This post from Catholic News Agency is a hopeful one that I certainly want to happen. I would certainly hope that a visit from the Holy Father himself would make faith stronger in the UK then it is now. I have been reading a lot lately about how faith in the Catholic Church is floundering in the UK. Hopefully Pope Benedict XVI visiting them will make them realize that they all need to strengthen their faith.

“Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow said the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom, will be “a moment of grace” that will “bolster” the faith of Catholics in the region.

In a pastoral letter sent last Sunday, the archbishop encouraged the faithful to enthusiastically welcome the Holy Father’s visit, which is an “immense privilege” for the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

“Such visits are a rare occurrence,” he continued, noting that this is “only the second of a reigning pope in the long history of our country.”

“We need the presence of Simon Peter to bolster our faith and give us new courage to face the difficulties and ease the pain which the Church and each one of us must necessarily encounter in an imperfect and ever changing world,” he added.

After thanking Scottish officials for the “remarkable enthusiasm in the making of the necessary arrangements for his reception,” Archbishop Conti underscored the need to spiritual prepare for the visit.  For this purpose, he said, the archdiocese will begin a special month of preparation on August 15, the feast of the Assumption of Mary.” – “Scottish Archbishop Hopes Pope Will Reinvigorate UK Catholics”, Catholic News Agency

Australia is Excited for MacKillop to be Canonized

“Great excitement is emanating from Australia as the date for the canonization of Blessed Mary MacKillop approaches. She will be officially welcomed into the ranks of the saints by Pope Benedict XVI in a little over two months.

Bl. Mary MacKillop, the foundress of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, will become Australia’s first saint when she is canonized in Rome along with five others on Oct. 17. Included among the other five is Blessed Andre Bessette of Montreal.

The Archdiocese of Sydney has acclaimed Blessed MacKillop’s canonization as “a milestone in our nation’s history” and “an uplifting and celebratory occasion,” promoting her influence and legacy on the entire population of the island continent.

“Mary epitomizes the strength of our forebears which made Australia the nation it is today,” according to the archdiocese.

Catholics in Sydney will be celebrating a feast day Mass late in the afternoon at St. Mary’s Cathedral in the heart of the city before the canonization ceremony is televised there. In traditional Aussie fashion, a “sausage sizzle” will accompany the viewing.” – “Australia Prepares for Blessed Mary MacKillop’s Canonization in October”, Catholic News Agency

Sounds like Australia is really using Mary MacKillop’s canonization as a chance to come together as one and celebrate which is awesome! This post on Catholic News Agency was very informative of all the excitement that is gathering in Australia over this upcoming event. The “sausage sizzle” that is planned to take place sounds absolutely delicious as well. Makes me wish I lived in the Land Down Under!

Greater Fidelity to Christ is the Answer

This post from Catholic News Agency is one that is pretty straight forward. The Catholic Church has chosen to respond to bad mouthing by others by becoming more religious. This is the perfect answer, and I think that all Catholics should have realized this already. I’m sure some have realized this is the answer, but for those who hadn’t Pope Benedict XVI made sure that now they all know.

“In an emotional letter sent by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI to the Knights of Columbus, the Pontiff said that the best response to the attacks against the Church is a greater fidelity to Christ.

The Pope also used the fraternal organization as an example of loyalty to the Catholic Church.

In the letter, read during the first session of the 128th Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in Washington D.C., Cardinal Bertone wrote that “in the face of often unfair and unfounded attacks on the Church and her leaders, His Holiness is convinced that the most effective response is a great fidelity to God’s word, a more resolute pursuit of holiness, and an increased commitment to charity in truth on the part of all the faithful.”

“He asks the Knights to persevere in their witness of faith and charity, in the serene trust that, as the Church embraces this period of purification, her light will come to shine all the more brightly (cf. Mt 5:15-16) before men and women of fair mind and good will,” he added.

“At a time when fundamental moral norms, grounded in truth and inscribed in the human heart, are increasingly called into question and at times overturned by positive legislation,” Cardinal Bertone continued, the Pope “is grateful for the efforts made by the Knights, in cooperation with other men and women of good will, to uphold the reasonableness of the Church’s moral teaching and its importance for a sound, just and enduring social order.”” – “Pope to Knights: Best Response to Attacks Against the Church is Greater Fidelity”, Catholic New Agency