When the Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul arrives, as well as remembering to attend mass (some of us in our group at St James's, some of quite possibly at St Mary Moorfields), let us give particular thanks for the priestly ordination 61 years ago that day of our Holy Father Pope Benedict.
Let us give thanks for the life and witness of this truly remarkable man, this Pope of Christian Unity, who has done so much to reunite the scattered flock - something of which we members of the Ordinariate are particularly aware. Let us ask for the intercession of Our Lady, St Peter, St Paul and all the saints, that with renewed strength in the Lord, our Holy Father might continue to work valiantly and succesfully for the unity of all Christians and for the greater glory of God.
We reproduce below a text that we included on this blog very recently, taken from an Angelus address given by the Holy Father in August 2008, in which he describes the particular role of the Church and of the Pope within it.
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God". Jesus answers Peter's inspired profession of faith: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven". This is the first time that Jesus speaks of the Church, whose mission is the actuation of God's great design to gather the whole of humanity into a single family in Christ. Peter's mission, and that of his Successors, is precisely to serve this unity of the one Church of God formed of Jews and pagans of all peoples; his indispensable ministry is to ensure that she is never identified with a single nation, with a single culture, but is the Church of all peoples - to make present among men and women, scarred by innumerable divisions and conflicts, God's peace and the renewing power of his love. This, then, is the special mission of the Pope, Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter: to serve the inner unity that comes from God's peace, the unity of those who have become brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.It seems to us that the Petrine ministry is such a tremendous gift to the Church and to the world. It allows us to move away from a fragmented, dismembered vision of Christianity, ever ready to fracture itself further, and instead, in union with Rome and the other ancient churches, to move together towards greater unity.