Thursday, March 08, 2007

Benedict on Clement

On St. Clement of Rome

Benedict XVI used his Wednesday address to talk about Clement, fourth bishop of Rome and martyr to Christ. Having finished discussing the apostles, he is now using his weekly addresses to discuss the apostolic fathers.

The Pope speaks to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square each Wednesday. John Paul the Great used these Wednesday addresses over a two year period to expound his theology of the body. The new Waldstein edition and translation is out.

Why the Apostolic Fathers

Benedict told the pilgrims,
"Now, we will turn our attention to the Apostolic Fathers, that is, to the first and second generation of the Church after the apostles. This way we can see how the Church's path started in history. St. Clement, Bishop of Rome during the last years of the first century, is the third successor of Peter, after Linus and Anacletus. The most important testimonial of his life is that written by St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon until 202. He asserts that Clement 'had seen the apostles … had met with them,' and 'still had their preaching in his ears, and their tradition before his eyes' (Adv. Haer. 3,3,3)."

"The Church Has a Sacramental, Not a Political Structure"

What is the church? Benedict tells us that "St. Clement['s letter to the Corinthians] underlines that the Church has a sacramental structure, not a political structure. God's actions that come to us in the liturgy precede our decisions and our ideas. The Church is above all a gift of God and not a creature of ours and therefore this sacramental structure not only guarantees the common order but also the precedence of the gift of God that we all need. "

As Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict warned the church that it was incrreasingly perceived more like a multinational corporation that the body of Christ.

You can read the whole address and his comments to the English speaking pilgrims on zenit ( )

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