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Pope speaks on St. Lawrence of Brindisi: scholar, preacher, and peacemaker

Catholic World News - March 23, 2011

At his regular weekly public audience on March 23, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of St. Lawrence of Brindisi (1559- 1619), and made a pointed reference to the saint's work as a mediator, easing conflicts among European powers.

"Today, as in St. Lawrence's time, the world has great need of peace," the Pope said. "Everyone who believes in God must always be a source of peace, and work for peace."

The Pope made those remarks near the end of his audience. He had devoted most of his talk to the scholarly work and evangelizing efforts of St. Lawrence. After entering the Capuchin order, the Pope said, St. Lawrence showed an unusual facility with languages, and this ability helped him "to undertake an intense apostolate among various categories of people." He took a keen interest in the scriptures of the Old Testament, too, and "rabbis themselves were amazed and showed him esteem and respect."

Preaching and teaching in Europe in the late 16th century, the saint used his deep knowledge of the Scriptures to defend the Catholic faith against Protestant attacks. "With his clear and tranquil explanations he demonstrated the biblical and patristic foundation of all the articles of faith called into question by Martin Luther," the Pope said. St. Lawrence was canonized in 1881, and in 1959 Pope John XXIII declared him a Doctor of the Church.

The Church needs similar defenders today, Pope Benedict remarked. He called for "well-trained, zealous, and courageous apostles" who can "prevail over the cultural trends of ethical relativism and religious indifference."

The papal audience was held in St. Peter's Square, signaling the arrival of warmer weather in Rome. During the winter months the weekly audiences are usually held in the Paul VI auditorium.

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