VATICAN CITY, APR 18, 2005 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica this
morning, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger presided at the Mass "pro
eligendo Summo Pontifice," concelebrated by all 115 cardinal
Cardinal non-electors, bishops, priests, male and female
religious, and lay people present in Rome participated in the
In his homily, Cardinal Ratzinger commented on the first
reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, in which the
Messiah, speaking of Himself, said He was sent to "proclaim the
year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God."
The cardinal affirmed that "we are called to promulgate - not
only with words but with life and with the effective signs of the
Sacraments - the year of the Lord's favor." With reference to
"the day of vengeance of our God," the cardinal affirmed
that "the Lord offered an authentic commentary on these words
with His death on the Cross."
"The mercy of Christ," he went on, "is not
cut-rate grace, it does not presuppose that evil is something banal.
Jesus bears all the weight of evil, all its destructive force, in His
body and upon His soul. ... The day of vengeance and the year of the
Lord's favor come together in the Paschal mystery, in Christ Who died
and rose again. This is the vengeance of God: He Himself, in the
person of His Son, suffers for us."
In the second reading, taken from the Letter to the
Ephesians, St. Paul mentions "the measure of the fullness of
Christ" to which "we are called in order to truly become
adults in the faith. We must not remain children in the faith, without
coming of age. What does it mean to be children in faith? St. Paul
says that it means being 'tossed to and fro and carried about with
every wind of doctrine.' A very pertinent description!"
"How many winds of doctrine have we known over
the last few decades! How many ideological currents! How many schools
of thought! The little ship bearing the thoughts of many Christians
has frequently been shaken by these waves, thrown from one extreme to
the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertarianism; from
collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague
religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so on. Every
day new sects arise, and St. Paul's words concerning the deception of
men and the cunning that leads into error come true. Having a clear
faith, according to the Creed of the Church, is often labeled as
fundamentalism. While relativism, in other words allowing oneself to
be 'tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine,' appears as the
only attitude appropriate to modern times, a dictatorship of
relativism is being formed, one that recognizes nothing as definitive
and that has as its measure only the self and its desires.
"We, nonetheless, do have another measure: the Son
of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. An 'adult' faith
does not follow the waves of fashion and the latest novelties; an
adult and mature faith is profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ.
... We must bring this adult faith to maturity, to this faith we must
lead Christ's flock. And it is this faith - faith alone - that creates
unity and is realized in charity. ... In the measure in which we
approach Christ, so truth and charity come together in our lives too."
The dean of the College of Cardinals then commented on the
Gospel of St John, in which the Lord says: "No longer do I
call you servants, ... but I have called you friends." Christ
"grants us His trust" and "entrusts His body, the
Church, to us. He entrusts His truth to our weak minds and our weak
hands. ... He has made us His friends. How do we respond?"
After recalling the gospel passage where Jesus says "I
chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that
your fruit should abide," Cardinal Ratzinger said: "We
must feel animated by holy restlessness; restlessness to bring
everyone the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ. ... We received
the faith in order to give it to others. We are priests to serve
others, and we must bear a fruit that abides."
"The only thing that remains forever is the human soul,
man created by God for eternity. The fruit that remains is, then, what
we have sown in human souls, love and knowledge; the gesture capable
of touching the heart; the word that opens the soul to the joy of the
Lord. Let us go then and pray to the Lord that He help us bear fruit,
a fruit that abides."
Cardinal Ratzinger concluded: "Let us now, above all,
insistently pray to the Lord that, after the great gift of Pope John
Paul II, He again gives us a pastor according to the dictates of His
heart, a pastor to lead us to knowledge of Christ, to His love, to
.../MASS ELECTION POPE/RATZINGER
VIS 050418 (860)