Vatican Media Watch

Pope Closes 2005 With a Look Back to John Paul

REUTERS, Dec. 31 — Pope Benedict gave 2005 a bittersweet farewell as he looked back at the year that saw him elected to lead the Catholic Church after the death in April of John Paul II, Reuters reported.

At his first Te Deum service of year-end thanksgiving, Benedict praised his predecessors, specifically John Paul II.

“The family has always been at the center of attention of my revered predecessors, in particular John Paul II,” Benedict said during the vespers, or evening prayer service, at St. Peter’s Basilica.

He added, “My thoughts go, with profound and spiritual feeling, to 12 months ago when, like this evening, the beloved Pope John Paul II spoke for the last time for God’s people to give thanks to the Lord for the many benefits given to the Church and to humanity.”

Benedict said that “it now falls to me” to give thanks at the end of 2005 and on the eve of 2006.

Pope: Christians Should Work for Progress in 2006

AGENZIA GIORNALISTICA ITALIA, Jan. 4 — The Pope’s wish for the New Year is that Christians work for the progress of humanity and that progress bring all people to Christ, the news service reported.

“Working for progress means working to bring man closer to Christ.” This is the “moral imperative” that the Holy Father expressed to the faithful gathered at the Vatican for the first general audience of 2006, which was held indoors for the first time in his pontificate.

Citing the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, Pope Benedict returned to the theme of the centrality of Christ and in an unscripted speech said that man’s ongoing “history has a destination, a direction: It goes toward humankind united with Christ, toward man and therefore true humanism. Glorified humanity is thereby truly humanized,” he added.

The Pope explained that “in history there is therefore an evolution, progress, and progress is everything that brings us closer to Christ and true humanism. From these guidelines we obtain a moral imperative: striving for progress — something we all want — means striving to bring man closer to Christ.”

Mary ‘Blesses the World by Showing Her Son’

ASIANEWS, Jan. 1 — During the first Angelus of the year, Benedict XVI greeted the world, urging everyone to look to Mary, who “blesses the whole world by showing her divine son, the Prince of Peace,” AsiaNews reported.

Speaking before thousands of the faithful standing under a hammering rain in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope reiterated the theme — “In Truth, Peace” — of his World Peace Day message. He urged Christians and “people of good will” to open up to the “truth that was revealed in Jesus who taught us the content and method to achieve peace: love.”

The Holy Father said, “With confidence we call on her powerful intercession so that the human family, by opening itself to the Gospel message, may spend the year that now begins in brotherhood and peace.”

 “Upon choosing the human condition, God, who is love made perfect and real, revealed himself,” he said. “In so doing he showed the way to peace, which involves dialogue, forgiveness and solidarity. Only this road leads to true peace”.