Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Rain on the Camauro Parade

Little Red Riding Pope stayed back today as the Holy Father decided to take it easy.

Today's Wednesday audience was the first to take place inside the Paul VI Hall, the Roman cold finally overtaking the huge demand to see Benedict XVI, which kept the audiences outside in St. Peter's Square until this morning.

An overflow crowd was accomodated in the Basilica, which the Pope visited to make sure that each of the 15,000 pilgrims who came to see him in the flesh could do so.

Smiling, obviously pleased to see the warmth of the crowd of believers, the Pope offered a commentary on the Canticle cf Col 1:3,12-20 Christ, who was the firstborn of all creation, is the firstborn from the dead – Vespers of the Wednesday of the Fourth Week (Reading: Col 1:3, 12,18-20).

Commenting off-the-cuff the words of Saint Paul, Benedict XVI drew attention to a concept of progress far different from the prevailing utilitarian and mechanistic one.

“Saint Paul,” he said adding other elements to his written text, “tells us something very important: History has a goal, a direction; it moves towards a humanity united in Christ and in so doing leads to the perfect man, the perfect humanism, to a shepherded humanity, one that is truly humanised”.

“In other words,” he added, “Saint Paul tells us yes; there is progress in history if we want evolution in history. Progress is all that brings us closer to Christ and thus closer to humanity united to true humanism. Behind these signs we face an imperative. Working for progress is something we want.”

“We can all work to bring men closer to Christ, personally conforming to Christ, in the direction of true progress,” he said, and “be part of the ‘great mystery of redemption’”.

The hymn, which Benedict XVI defines as “almost the solemn entry gate to this rich Pauline text,” “helps us create the spiritual environment in which we can experience well the early days of 2006 as well as the long path of the rest of the year (cf vv. 15-20)”. It is a step “with Christ at its centre whose supremacy and work are extolled in the creation and in the history of redemption (cf vv. 15-20).

Hey, amatissimi Cielini, doesn't this sound conspicuously like something Don Gius would say?

PHOTO: AP/Andrew Medichini