Thursday, December 22, 2005
Year in Review: 2005

Pope Benedict XVI recently released a 2005 year in review for the Church. In it, he talked about World Youth Day, the Year of the Eucharist, and Pope John Paul ll. And, if I may say so, it truly was an amazing year for the faith.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- By any measure, it was an extraordinary year for Pope Benedict XVI.

Most of the world has followed the highlights through the lens of the mass media -- his election in the April conclave, his visit to Germany in August, his growing popularity and even his fashionable ecclesial clothing.

On Dec. 22, the pope offered a personal look at the year in review. Although he spoke for nearly an hour, he barely mentioned his own election -- a demonstration of the humility he has shown from the beginning of his pontificate.

Instead, he focused on the death of his predecessor, World Youth Day, the closing of the eucharistic year and the commemoration of the Second Vatican Council.

And, of course, on Jesus. Born in a manger, the pope said, Jesus has a power "completely different from the destructive power of violence," and far more effective.

The occasion was the pope's annual pre-Christmas encounter with the Roman Curia. The pope wore his red velvet cape trimmed with ermine, the Clementine Hall was decorated with poinsettias, and a Christmas tree was bedecked with lights.

The idea was to exchange season's greetings with Vatican officials; Pope Benedict gave them a nine-page speech.

He began by paying tribute to Pope John Paul II, saying the late pope's fame as a world traveler and communicator only made his final days of suffering and silence more powerful.

Interestingly, it was a TV image that stuck out in Pope Benedict's mind: when the late pope was shown in his apartment the week before his death, gripping a cross as he watched the Way of the Cross broadcast from Rome's Colosseum.

Pope Benedict recalled his own first papal trip, a visit to Germany to preside over World Youth Day. But his biggest memory was not the cheering and chanting that greeted him from the immense crowd. Instead, he said, it was the sound of silence -- the "intense silence of those million young people" as they prayed together in a field before the exposed Eucharist.

The pope said the rediscovery of adoration in the church was also evident at the world Synod of Bishops in October, which closed the Year of the Eucharist. He said eucharistic adoration and the Mass were once seen in opposition, but that seems to have been overcome in the modern church.

The pope saved his most detailed analysis for Vatican II, which ended 40 years ago. It's a subject that has generated decades of debate within the church, including some critical comments by the pope when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Source: CNS

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