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from issue no. 03 - 2007

His simplicity and delicacy in communicating the Tradition of the Church

by Cardinal William Joseph Levada

On the occasion of the eightieth birthday of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, I would like to express heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for how much our Holy Father does and assure him of constant prayer.
What has always struck me, since the first meeting I had with the Holy Father when at the beginning of 1982 he began his Roman ministry as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, while I was still an official in the same Department, was above all his extraordinary simplicity and delicacy. And it is with these characteristic human attributes that he, formerly as theologian and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and now as Pope, Successor to Peter, expresses and communicates the great inheritance of the spiritual and doctrinal patrimony of the Tradition of the Church, the Fathers, the Scriptures always interpreted through the religious wisdom of the Saints and the Doctors of the Church.
And at the same time, as all have witnessed, for example in the speech delivered in 2006 to the Academy of Regensburg on the relationship of faith with modern rationality, Pope Benedict always seeks to confront cultural problems and the urgencies of the present historical moment, so that his words always turn out to be “relevant”, even if he never allows himself to be become thrall of the topical, because the eyes of the heart and mind are always directed and oriented on the eternal Logos that, by incarnating itself, has divinized man, without dissolving the divine in the ambiguities and opacities of history.
We could say that if John Paul II carried the truth of the Gospel throughout the world, promoting every seed of authentic missionary movement, Benedict XVI seems to want to continue on the path opened by his predecessor by revealing to the world the challenge of the Christian Logos which is presented as fullness of the meaning of life and the persuasive capacity of reason.
In his first encyclical letter Pope Benedict invited us to rediscover yet again the countenance of the true God, that is love, agápe, in order to become aware that the more audaciously we give our life the more we find ourselves, since the glory of love is to lose one’s own life for God and others in daily decisions. A strong and impassioned invitation that of the encyclical, to choose life against a culture of death, so as to offer once again to a humanity perturbed by uncertainties and fears the voice of Him who said: «I am the way, the truth and the life», and to propose therefore that the fundamental liberation that the Church can give us is to be in the sphere of the Eternal.
Because of this we heartfully thank our Holy Father and wish that the goodness of the Omnipotent God may accompany him every day on his way.
Most Blessed Father, ad multos annos!

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