Aug 26, 2014 / 12:31 pm
Participants in the annual Ratzinger “schulerkreis” study group were overjoyed at seeing the retired pontiff in good health, noting that they were deeply moved by his homily on the triumph of God’s love.
“The homily was very moving. It was the Gospel of the day about Cesarea of Philippi where Jesus asks the apostles, ‘Who do you say I am?’” Father Vincent Twomey recalled to CNA Aug. 25.
“Peter answered ‘you are Christ, son of the living God,’” to which Jesus responds: “you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church.”
Fr. Twomey was one of the participants of this year’s Ratzinger “schuelerkreis,” or “students’ circle,” which has met annually to discuss topics in theology and the life of the Church since 1978, when their professor Josef – later to become Pope Benedict XVI – was tapped to become a bishop.
This year’s encounter was held at Castel Gandolfo Aug. 21-24, with German theologian Karl-Heinz Menke serving as relator. During the main meetings he gave a presentation on the “Theology of the Cross.”
Following the normal discussions, Fr. Twomey explained that on Sunday the group traveled to the Campo Santo Teutonico chapel in the Vatican for Mass, where the main celebrant was retired pontiff Benedict XVI.
The main points of Benedict’s homily, the priest explained, were that “today people are always asking who is Jesus Christ.”
“They say he was a great man, a teacher, a revolutionary perhaps. People outside see him in different ways. And that’s not a bad thing; that means that Jesus image has spread throughout society and religions,” he went on, “But, to recognize him as the Son of God is a gift of faith.”
Noting how “Our Lord didn’t build his Church on a theory or a statement, but on a person, relationship with Jesus,” Fr. Twomey stated that Benedict’s words were “very moving because the Church where we celebrated was near the place where Peter himself gave his final witness.”
“Benedict XVI talked about how the gates of hell would never prevail. The Church is always the weak player, always under attack but the Church always survives because it is not a human, but a divine entity.” …