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Ratzinger says papacy is about truth and love, not power

In his homily for this week's Mass for Paul VI and John Paul I, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke of the mission and responsibility of the papacy, saying that truth and love are "the two poles of the mission entrusted to the successors of Peter".

Cardinal Ratzinger was standing in for Pope John Paul II at Tuesday evening's Mass, as the Holy Father's health was faltering.

"Guiding the flock of Christ and loving the Lord are the same thing," Cardinal Ratzinger siad. "It is love of Christ that guides the sheep on the straight path and builds the Church."

Suggesting that that this love is at the heart of Pope Paul's vision of Vatican II and papal primacy, he said: "All of us at the feet of Christ, to serve Christ, to serve the Gospel: The essence of Christianity is Christ - not a doctrine, but a person, and evangelising is leading in friendship with Christ - to communion with the Lord Who is the true light of our lives."

Cardinal Ratzinger said that papal primacy "in its most intimate essence is not the exercise of power but is 'carrying the weight of others', it is the responsibility of love. And love is precisely the opposite of indifference with respect to others. ... The love of Christ is love for the poor, the suffering."

"We know well that our Popes have been committed strongly against injustice, and for the rights of the oppressed, the powerless," he said.

"Love would be blind without truth," the cardinal stated. He noted that "the prayer after communion asks the Lord to allow the Supreme Pontiffs, His servants, 'to enter into full possession of the truth, in which, with apostolic courage, they confirm their brothers'.

Pictured: Pope Paul VI

Papacy is not about power, but truth and love, Cardinal Ratzinger says (Catholic News Agency 29/9/04)

Pope's mission requires love and truth, Cardinal Ratzinger says (Catholic World News 29/9/04)
Cardinal to Stand In for John Paul II at Sept. 28 Mass (Zenit 23/9/04)
Pope cancels appearance ( 23/9/04)

30 Sep 2004