Thursday, May 11, 2006

THE POPE CLAIMS TO BE CHRIST ON EARTH


"In founders and foundresses [of the consecrated orders of nuns and priests, etc.] we see a constant and lively sense of the Church, which they manifest by their full participation in all aspects of the Church's life, and in their ready obedience to the bishops and especially to the Roman Pontiff. Against this background of love towards Holy Church, 'the pillar and bulwark of the truth' (1 Timothy 3:15), we readily understand the devotion of Saint Francis of Assisi for 'THE LORD POPE', the daughterly outspokenness of Saint Catherine of Siena towards the one whom she called 'SWEET CHRIST ON EARTH', the apostolic obedience and the sentire cum Ecclesia of Saint Ignatius Loyola, and the joyful profession of faith made by Saint Teresa of Avila: 'I am a daughter of the Church'. We can also understand the deep desire of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus: 'In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love'. These testimonies are representative of the full ecclesial communion which the Saints, founders and foundresses, have shared in diverse and often difficult times and circumstances. They are examples which consecrated persons need constantly to recall if they are to resist the particularly strong centrifugal and disruptive forces at work today. A distinctive aspect of ecclesial communion is allegiance of mind and heart to the magisterium of the bishops, an allegiance which must be lived honestly and clearly testified to before the People of God by all consecrated persons, especially those involved in theological research, teaching, publishing, catechesis and the use of the means of social communication. Because consecrated persons have a special place in the church, their attitude in this regard is of immense importance for the whole people of God" (Pope John Paul II, "Apostolic Exhortation on the Consecrated Life and Its Mission in the Church and in the World," to the bishops and clergy, religious orders and congregations, societies of apostolic life, secular institutes, and all the faithful, given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, March 25, 1996)

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