April 19 marks the fifth anniversary that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI. That was the day that the Holy Spirit, through the choice of the College of Cardinals, elected a successor to John Paul II. For the last 5 years his white hair and his smiling and lovely face fill the screens and the media worldwide.
Pope Benedict XVI was born on April 16, 1927. He takes possession of the chair of Saint Peter, succeeding to saint and assumes his new task with full provision of service to God and to the world. He renounces a retirement devoted to his dream of writing books on theology in order to takes the helm of a ship that for centuries goes through tempestuous seas, but always with a true course. He assumes his mission without being charmed by the siren songs of an adaptation to the times in which we live; a world in which some people have lost the tradition orientation to be influenced by the first novelty that occurs to anyone; a world in which some people, with the initial plan to bring God to the world, have become mundane.
Cardinal Ratzinger gives a long service to the Church, as theologian and university professor, as a parish priest and then as Archbishop or as Cardinal, collaborating in tasks not always easy. At the beginning of his pontificate he presented us the “Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church”, a faithful and reliable synthesis that contains, in a concise form, all the essential and fundamental elements of the faith of the Church. In this way, this is a sort of “vademecum” through which believers or non-believers can see the entire panorama of the Catholic faith.
With a profound knowledge of theology, apostolic Tradition and Holy Fathers, he is dealing with the great themes of modernity and he is solving them. With the experience of the lack of follow-up of those who would have to be strong in the faith, those who digress instead of speaking about God, knowing that the renunciation to the truth leads to the dictatorship of the arbitrariness, he shows us a safe course. Thus, concerned for giving us the gift of faith, he has presented us encyclicals on central themes of the catholic faith: Christian love, hope as salvation, or the integral human development in charity and in truth. Also, he has shown us other texts that offer an open world to hope; perhaps they are little read and preached in catechesis.
Due to the widespread loss of traditional values, he points out that “a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and that leaves as last measure only the self and its desires” is currently taking shape.
Years later he wrote: “The future of the Church will only depend on the force of those who have deep roots and lives the fullness of their pure faith. It will not depend of those who make only recipes. It will not depend of those who choose the most comfortable way. It will not depend of those who evade the passion of faith and declare false and exceeded everything that requires the effort of man. The future of the Church is always marked by saints. That means people that understand more than empty words that are in vogue. ”
Community of faith and values, every pope needs the help of the faithful of the Church. Established thoughts and lives, one billion of Catholics would have to be enough in order to Benedict XVI will not arrive battles-abortion, euthanasia, celibacy, etc. – which the Catholic faithful would have to fight, too gutless to express what we believe.
Agustín PÉREZ CERRADA