On the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s 80th birthday, the director of the Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, said this week there are two issues of profound concern to Pope Benedict XVI: the continual reference to the fathers of the Church and the constant explication and living of the Sacred Liturgy.
“Two particular aspects call come to mind. First of all, the richness and the nature of the references to the Fathers of the Church. There hasn’t been a break in the two thousand years since the Scriptures until today. One can see the continuity in the reflections and in the deepening of the faith throughout time from Jesus to today. The Fathers were somewhat eclipsed in the common culture of the believer, and now they have become more familiar,” Father Lombardi said.
In speaking about the second aspect, the Vatican spokesman underscored the profundity of the Pontiff when he refers to the liturgy and “the celebration of our faith: the significance of the rites, the expression of the relationship between believers and God, which grows through the history of our faith. They are understood now in a living context, in which memory becomes actuality, and we more fully understand that come into contact with the mystery of God.”
Likewise, the Vatican spokesman underscored that the life of the Pope has been “characterized by a vocation that has developed in different successive phases and modalities of increasing responsibility, with a great coherence of unity of inspiration and strength. Priest and theologian, man of faith, of culture and ecclesial service. Culture and faith do not remain restricted to the realm of pursuit and to private life, but rather they become treasures shared always in the widest of atmospheres, to the ends of the Church and to today’s humanity.”
Father Lombardi described the Pope’s “charism” as the ability to speak with clarity, profundity about the center of the faith by helping to understand the need and the beauty of the continual and daily relationship between faith and reason, study and spirituality. “The encyclical ‘Deus Caritas est’ and the book ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ are two reference points for entering into this perspective and for remaining involved and, we might even say, fascinated,” he added.
“We wish the Pope many more years,” Father Lombardi said.