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Church unity assures freedom, Pope tells new metropolitan archbishops

June 29, 2010

Union with the Holy See guarantees the freedom of the local Catholic churches, Pope Benedict XVI said on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Pope explained that he was referring to freedom in two senses: both the freedom from intereference by “local, national, and international power” and the freedom that comes from “full adherence to truth and authentic tradition.”

The Pope made his remarks as he bestowed the pallium—the liturgical vestment emblematic of union with the Pope—upon the 38 new metropolitan archbishops who took their posts this year.

In his homily the Pontiff pointed out that beginning with the Acts of the Apostles, “we no longer speak of the individual apostles but the Church as a whole and its safekeeping from the forces of evil.” Jesus guarantees the safety of the Church, he said, and entrusts St. Peter and his successors with the task of strengthening their brethren.

The Lord’s guarantee, the Pope continued, does not mean that Christians will be preserved from difficulties. On the contrary, “Christians have never been lacking in trials, which in some periods and places have assumed the character of real persecution. These, however, despite the suffering they cause, are not the greatest danger for the Church.” However the promise of Christ assures the faithful that these difficulties will not overcome the Church.

A greater danger than persecution, the Pope said, comes from “what pollutes the Christian faith and life of its members and its communities, eroding the integrity of the Mystical Body, weakening its ability to prophesy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face.”


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