Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. "If one says: 'I love God,' and hates his own brother, he is a liar. In fact, whoever who does not love his own brother whom he sees, cannot love God whom he does not see. This is the commandment we have from Him: He who loves God, also loves his brother" (1 John 4, 20-21).
The theological virtue of charity, of which we spoke in the last catechesis, is expressed in a double direction: toward God and toward one's neighbor. In both one and the other, it is the fruit of the dynamism itself of the life of the Trinity within us.
Charity, in fact, has its source in the Father, it is fully revealed in the Easter of the crucified and resurrected Son, and infused in us by the Holy Spirit. In it, God makes us participate in His own love.
If we really love with God's love, we will also love our brother as He loves him. Here is the great novelty of Christianity: you cannot love God if you don't love your brothers, creating with them an intimate and lasting communion of love.
2. The teaching of Sacred Scripture in this respect is unequivocal. Love of our neighbor was already recommended to the Israelites: 'Thou shalt not seek revenge and hold rancor against the children of your people, but you will love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19,18). If, at first, this precept seems directed only to the Israelites, it is, however, intended in an ever wider sense, even to include the foreigners who lived in their midst, in the remembrance that Israel itself was a foreigner in the land of Egypt (Cf Leviticus 19,34; Deuteronomy 10,19).
In the New Testament, this love is commanded in a clearly universal sense: it implies an idea of neighbor that has no limits (Cf Luke 10, 29-37) and includes even one's enemies (Cf Matthew 5, 43-47). It is important to note that love of one's neighbor is seen as an imitation and prolongation of the merciful goodness of the celestial Father who provides for the needs of all and makes no distinctions of persons (Cf ivi, v. 45). This is also linked to the love for God: the two commandments of love in fact are the synthesis and summit of the Law and the Prophets (Cf Matthew 22, 40). Only the person who practices both commandments is not far from the Kingdom of God, as Jesus Himself emphasized, in response to a Scribe who had questioned Him (Cf Mark 12, 28-34).
3. Following this path, which joins the love of neighbor with that of God and together to the life of God in us, it is easy to understand how love is presented in the New Testament as a fruit of the Spirit, what is more, as the first among many gifts listed by St. Paul in the Letter to the Galatians: "Instead, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, benevolence, goodness, fidelity, meekness, self-mastery" (Galatians 5, 22).
Theological tradition has always made a distinction between the theological virtues, the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, while, at the same time conserving their correlation (Cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1830-1832). While the virtues are permanent qualities conferred on the creature in view of the supernatural works he must accomplish, and the gifts perfect the virtues, be these theological or moral, the fruits of the Spirit are virtuous acts that the person does with ease, in a habitual way and with delight (Cf St. Thomas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 70 a. 1, ad 2). These distinctions are not opposed to what Paul affirms when speaking in the singular of the fruit of the Spirit. In fact, the Apostle wants to point out that the fruit par excellence is divine charity itself that is the soul of every virtuous act. Just as the sunlight is reflected in an unlimited spectrum of colors, so charity is manifested in multiple fruits of the Spirit.
4. In this sense, in the Letter to the Colossians it says: "Above all let there be charity, which is the key to perfection" (3,14). The hymn to charity in the first Letter to the Corinthians (Cf 1 Corinthians 13) celebrates this primacy of charity over all the other gifts (Cf vv. 1-3), including faith and hope (Cf v. 13). Of this [virtue] Paul affirms: "Charity will have no end" (v. 8).
Love toward one's neighbor has a Christological connotation, because it must be configured to the gift that Christ has made of his own life: "From this we have known love: He gave His life for us; therefore, we must also give our life for our brothers (1 John 3, 16). In so far as it is measured by the love of Christ, it can be called a new commandment," which makes it possible to recognize the true disciples: "I give you a new commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you, so should you also love one another. From this all will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another" (John 13, 34-35). The Christological meaning of love of one's neighbor will shine in the second coming of Christ. In fact, and indeed then, it will be seen that the measure of judgment of adherence to Christ is precisely the daily and visible exercise of charity toward one's neediest brothers: "I was hungry and you gave Me to eat ..." (Cf Matthew 25, 31-46).
Only the one who lets himself be moved by his neighbor and by his poverty, shows concretely his love for Jesus. To be closed and indifferent to the "other" is to be closed to the Holy Spirit, to forget Christ and to deny the universal love of the Father.
The Church, as the representative or substitute of Jesus Christ on earth, is infallible, and speaks with His own words: “This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).
When the Church makes an infallible pronouncement, we are not to suppose that a new doctrine is being introduced. For instance, when the Holy Father Pope Pius IX defined the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Conception and Pope Pius XII her Assumption as an article of faith, the infallible definition in each case was not a proclamation of a new doctrine, but was merely an announcement of an article of faith true from the very beginning, and publicly defined only in order to make the dogma clear to all and to be believed as part of the deposit of faith left to the Church.
Another example is the definition of the Holy Father’s infallibility, was made in 1870 by the First Vatican Council. The dogma was true from the very beginning, and had been universally held. But as in recent times many objections were being made against it, the Bishops in the Vatican Council thought it best, in order to make clear the stand of the Church, to make an infallible definition.
The Church makes infallible pronouncements on doctrines of faith and morals, on their interpretation, on the Bible and Tradition, and the interpretation of any part of parts of these. The Church also pronounces on the truth or falsity of opinions, teachings, customs, etc., with relation to fundamental doctrines. Another subject on which the Church makers infallible declarations is the canonization of Saints. All whom the Church has raised to the glory of the altar by a solemn canonization are undoubtedly now in Heaven, enjoying eternal bliss in the presence of God.
The Church teaches infallibly through the Pope alone, when he speaks officially or from the "Chair of Peter" (ex cathedra) as the Supreme Head, for the entire universal Church. As the Pope has authority over the Church, he could not err in his official teaching without leading the Church into error. As Our Lord said to Peter, the first Pope: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith may not fail; and do thou, when once thou has turned again, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22: 31-32).
In order to speak infallibly, the Pope must speak ex cathedra, or officially from the "Chair of Peter," under the following conditions: He must pronounce himself on a subject of faith or morals. Infallibility is restricted to questions regarding faith and morals. The Church pronounces on natural sciences and on legislation only when the perversity of men makes of them instruments for opposing revealed truths.
If the Pope should make judgments on mathematics or civil governments, he is as liable to error as any other man with the same experience. Letters to kings and other rulers are not infallible pronouncements. However, we should hold the Pope’s opinions on any subject with great respect, on account of his position and experience.
He must speak as the Vicar of Christ, in his office as Pope, and to the whole Church, to all the faithful throughout the world. In his capacity as private teacher, for example, in his encyclical letters, he is as any other teacher of the Church.
Should the Pope, like John Paul II, write a treatise on Canon Law or such as Ad Tuendam Fidem or "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" his book would be and was written in a private capacity, and liable to error, just as the books of other theologians. However we challenge anyone to find error in the Holy Father's works. We accept, not on faith, but in obedience to his authority, out of respect for his experience and wisdom.
He must make clear by certain words his intention to speak ex cathedra. These words are most often used: “We proclaim,” “We define,” etc. The Pope’s infallible decrees are termed “doctrinal,” since they involve doctrine. From the earliest days of the Church, the infallibility of the Pope has been acknowledged.
He remained Secretary until he was named in the Holy Father's Consistory of June 28, 1991 where he was made a cardinal, receiving the titular church of St. Pius V a a Villa Carpegna and named the new President of the Commission for Preservation of Artistic and Historic Patrimony of the Holy See which he held for two years. In addition His Holiness elevated Cardinal Sanchez to the position of Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy where he served until June 15, 1996 when he retired from that Curial responsibility because of age. He also served curial membership in the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, the Pontifical Council for Interpretation of Legislative Texts, the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. Despite the fact he has resigned, he remains in Rome at Vatican City.
Death of Pope Saint Marcellinus, 29th successor of Peter who was elected on June 30, 296. In this period of the persecution of Diocletian reached its peak destroying also churches and sacred texts. Among the victims we find Saint Agnes, Saint Lucy, Saint Bibiana, Saint Sebastian and Saint Lucian as well as this holy Pope who was born in Rome.
Death of Pope Saint Boniface V, 69th successor of Peter. Born in Naples, he was elected on December 23, 619. The beginning of his pontificate was delayed for 11 months and was embittered by wars for the Crown of Italy. He instituted the privilege of sanctuary for those persecuted who sought refuge in churches. It was during his papacy that Mohammed began preaching his new religion of Islam.
Cardinal Goffredo da Castiglione is elected Pope Celestine IV, 179th successor of Peter even though the cardinals were unable to reach an agreement on his election, so the Roman Senate closed them under lock and key in the ancient palace of the Settizonio on the Coelian Hill. From this episode was derived the term used today for the process of electing a Pope: conclave. His reign was less than a month. After he was coronated on October 28, he died on November 10th since he was already in very poor health when chosen as an "interim" pontiff.
Pope Gregory XIII, reinforcing the reforms of Pope Saint Pius V, calls for a renewal of ecclesiastical hymns.
Pope Leo XIII issues his 54th encyclical Non mediocri dealing with the Spanish College in Rome.
Pope John Paul II beatifies 121 martyrs of the Spanish Civil War and Blessed Narcisa Martillo Moran.