Catholic World News

Church fears nothing but sin, Pope says on Marian feast

December 09, 2011

“The only evil that the Church must fear is the sin of her members,” Pope Benedict XVI said on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

In keeping with a papal tradition, the Pope crossed Rome on the feast day to place a bouquet at the pedestal of a statue dedicated to the Virgin Mary, near the Spanish Steps. In his remarks there the Pontiff said that the Church always turns to Mary for help.

“While indeed Mary was Immaculate, free of any stain of sin, the Church is holy but at the same time marked by our sins,” the Pope said. So the faithful ask the Virgin to “accompany them on their path of faith, that She might encourage them in their commitment to Christian life and sustain their hopes.”

With this sure support, the Pope continued, the Church can face life with confidence. “The Church suffers persecution but is always victorious,” he said. “We need this support, especially in this difficult moment for Italy, for Europe, and for many parts of the world.” Earlier in the day the Holy Father had appeared at the window of his apartment in the apostolic palace to pray the Angelus with pilgrims assembled in St. Peter’s Square. Reflecting on the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the Pope told the crowd that the angel Gabriel’s description of Mary as “full of grace” was a recognition that the Virgin had been preserved from the stain of sin.

“Therefore,” he said, “since the 2nd century, in the East and in the West, the Church has invoked and celebrated the Virgin whose acceptance brought heaven closer to earth, generating God and nourishing our lives.”


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Dec. 11, 2011 2:44 PM ET USA

    There are two Scriptures that come to mind here. The first,"Without a vision the people stumble..." and the second...: "If you follow the will of the Spirit you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" As most Catholic laity are not deemed competent to discern for themselves "the will of the Spirit"I believe that Benedict could have offered us a bit more than merely restating established doctrine.