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Pope says Christians should embrace persecution as source of blessing
Catholic News Service ^ | January 10, 2007 | Cindy Wooden

Posted on 01/10/2007 5:54:07 PM PST by NYer

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Christian community and its members always will face persecution and suffering, but they should embrace it as a source of blessing, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Speaking at his Jan. 10 general audience about the ministry and death of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, the pope said the persecution of the early Christian community is what pushed the disciples to leave Jerusalem and bring the Gospel to the world.

"Even in our lives the cross, which is never lacking, becomes a blessing," the pope said.

And by accepting suffering in the knowledge that it will lead to growth and blessings, "we learn the joy of Christianity even in moments of difficulty," Pope Benedict said.

St. Stephen, he said, "teaches us to love the cross because the cross is the path Christ always uses to arrive in our midst."

The pope also spoke about the ministry of St. Stephen, who was elected by the Christian community and confirmed by the apostles as one of "seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom," charged with distributing charity.

The fact that St. Stephen and the other six also preached the Gospel, he said, is a reminder that "charity and proclamation always go together."

The pope touched briefly on the fact that before having them begin their ministry, the apostles laid hands on the seven, which is why many Christians see them as the church's first deacons.

Pope Benedict did not refer directly to theological discussion over the possibility of ordaining women deacons based on New Testament texts describing community leaders laying their hands on the heads of women chosen to carry out specific tasks on behalf of the community.

However, he said, the gesture of laying hands on someone's head "can have different meanings. In the Old Testament the gesture mostly has the significance of transmitting an important charge."

Sts. Paul and Barnabas were anointed that way before being sent off to evangelize the gentiles, as was St. Timothy, he said.

Pope Benedict said that St. Paul's descriptions of the power of the laying on of hands and the need for discernment prior to anointing someone in that way demonstrate an evolution in the meaning of the gesture, which later developed "in the line of a sacramental sign."

At the end of the audience, Pope Benedict greeted 30 members of an international soccer team made up of priests. The priests gave him a yellow jersey with his name in Italian, "Benedetto," and his number in Roman numerals, "XVI."


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
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1 posted on 01/10/2007 5:54:13 PM PST by NYer
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To: NYer
"Pope says Christians should embrace persecution as source of blessing"

You go first Pope.

2 posted on 01/10/2007 5:55:52 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Faithful greet Pope Benedict XVI as he arrives to the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican for his general audience, Wednesday, Jan. * Go to World Photos slideshow

3 posted on 01/10/2007 5:57:36 PM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Faithful greet Pope Benedict XVI as he arrives to the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican for his general audience, Wednesday, Jan. * Go to World Photos slideshow

4 posted on 01/10/2007 5:58:40 PM PST by NYer (Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to Heaven. St. Rose of Lima)
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To: NYer
Amen, Pope. That's right out of the Bible.

Somewhere.

5 posted on 01/10/2007 6:01:27 PM PST by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all.)
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To: Texas Eagle

Matthew 5. "Blessed are you when men revile you, and persecute you, and utter all manner of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Slightly different phrasing in the Gospel of Luke.


6 posted on 01/10/2007 6:04:42 PM PST by Tax-chick ("I don't know you, but I love who you seem to be.")
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To: Tax-chick

Thanks for the assist, Sis.


7 posted on 01/10/2007 6:07:09 PM PST by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all.)
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To: Enterprise
****You go first Pope.****

Ummm...I think he already did.

8 posted on 01/10/2007 6:11:30 PM PST by fkabuckeyesrule (My Dell (2004-2006))
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To: NYer

I say; the pope should let go of his ankles.


9 posted on 01/10/2007 6:13:20 PM PST by MaxMax (God Bless America)
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To: fkabuckeyesrule

Ummmmmm - Ummmmmm - hey - that's pretty catchy. Ummmm, Ummmmmm.


10 posted on 01/10/2007 6:14:32 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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To: MaxMax; Enterprise

I think you guys are on the wrong thread. I don't know what thread your comments should be on, but it sure isn't this one.


11 posted on 01/10/2007 6:29:19 PM PST by livius
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To: livius
"I think you guys are on the wrong thread. I don't know what thread your comments should be on, but it sure isn't this one."

Sez who?

12 posted on 01/10/2007 6:36:41 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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To: livius; Enterprise

13 posted on 01/10/2007 6:47:59 PM PST by MaxMax (God Bless America)
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To: MaxMax

LMAO! Yer killin' me!!


14 posted on 01/10/2007 6:50:28 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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To: NYer

Ah, it only took two posts and the blessings are already coming forward.

Didn't take long did it?


15 posted on 01/10/2007 6:57:34 PM PST by Cap'n Crunch (Rush Limbaugh, the Winston Churchill of our time)
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To: MaxMax

That is very disturbing. *shudder*


16 posted on 01/10/2007 6:58:21 PM PST by samiam1972 (Live simply so that others may simply live!)
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To: Cap'n Crunch

It got ugly fast.


17 posted on 01/10/2007 6:58:46 PM PST by samiam1972 (Live simply so that others may simply live!)
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To: samiam1972

Yeah, usually it's around post 10. I guess the Good God really wants to bless us.


18 posted on 01/10/2007 7:04:55 PM PST by Cap'n Crunch (Rush Limbaugh, the Winston Churchill of our time)
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To: Cap'n Crunch
I hadn't even read their posts and I was thinking that Catholic FReepers are truly blessed...and I really mean that.

I get to practice self-control, anger management, and I end up doing a lot of praying. I don't know how many replies I've typed and deleted. MOst of the time God gives me the grace of keeping my thoughts to myself. I don't know how those who do engage them continue to do it with such grace, the Holy Spirit must be helping them.

19 posted on 01/10/2007 7:26:21 PM PST by tiki
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To: NYer

I guess the Pope didn't get the message...God wants us to be happy, happy, happy all the time. Isn't that what the Purpose Filled Life tells us?

/sarcasm


20 posted on 01/10/2007 7:33:12 PM PST by Aggie Mama
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To: tiki

hahahaha... yeah, it is a good exercise in restraint. Helps me out in my job at the police dept. too. The other day I arrested a guy on an outstanding warrant. He's in the back of my car telling me he hopes I die of cancer.

I think the same of him as I do these people who feel the need to make such comments. Sad. Then grateful that it bothers me less and less, that I can manage to pray for them and endure this little slight and offer it to Jesus in memory of what He said, and suffered.


21 posted on 01/10/2007 7:35:05 PM PST by Cap'n Crunch (Rush Limbaugh, the Winston Churchill of our time)
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To: Enterprise

Let's see...I think standing up to 1 billion Muslims might be a start...Why don't you get back to us the next time you do that, okay?


22 posted on 01/10/2007 7:35:13 PM PST by Aggie Mama
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: Aggie Mama
That is kind of along the lines I am thinking here. A lot of Christians have died lately fighting militant Islam and many many Christians have openly supported Israel in their fight against a very wicked ruthless vile religion. I favor killing the persecutors by the millions so they won't be able to persecute anyone anymore. But then, I'm not the Pope.
24 posted on 01/10/2007 7:48:38 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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To: Ronaldus Magnus

My, how tolerant. Don't pray for him, call him names.


25 posted on 01/10/2007 7:50:28 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: Aggie Mama

27 posted on 01/10/2007 7:54:29 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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To: MaxMax

God gave us free will. My will is not to embrace suffering. I would rather fight it when I can. I am thankful that our forefathers didn't embrace suffering from the King of England.


28 posted on 01/10/2007 7:56:08 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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To: Ronaldus Magnus

"Enterprise" & "MaxMax" are just playing their part!


29 posted on 01/10/2007 8:02:30 PM PST by cheme
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To: Enterprise
My, how tolerant. Don't pray for him, call him names.

His words reveal his bigotry. At your suggestion, I will pray for him and that he overcomes this sin.

30 posted on 01/10/2007 8:08:54 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: MaxMax
[Embracing suffering is a Christian thing] For clergy yes. But I live in the real world where most don't take crap from anybody.

You offer further support of my hypothesis that you don't understand Christianity.

Even from people like you.

Then I shall gracefully embrace the persecution offered by your overt bigotry!

LOL, I'm a bigot

Yes, sadly the statements you have made here against the Pope reveal a deep seated bigotry.

31 posted on 01/10/2007 8:10:04 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: Ronaldus Magnus; MaxMax; Enterprise
Discuss the issues all you want, but do NOT make it personal!
32 posted on 01/10/2007 8:10:28 PM PST by Religion Moderator
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To: cheme

And just what part is that?


33 posted on 01/10/2007 8:14:14 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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To: Enterprise

I thought it was clear?


34 posted on 01/10/2007 8:19:14 PM PST by cheme
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To: cheme

You are not clear.


35 posted on 01/10/2007 8:23:23 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: Enterprise

Enterprise, I think you are not attacking Catholics but have misunderstood some things about the Catholic attitude.

We are all called to resist evil, which is one of the reason the great majority of our police forces are Catholic, and there is a disproportionately heavy dose of Catholics in the military too. A government or a ruler is resonsible for protecting his people, and this does mean using force.

The Pope was talking about situations in which individuals are powerless to defeat by force those who hate us. In that case, we cannot bow down (the way the hostage reporters who "converted" to Islam did), but simply have to accept whatever suffering comes to us for holding to our principles and our faith.


37 posted on 01/10/2007 8:40:58 PM PST by livius
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To: Ronaldus Magnus
Statements? You spelled that wrong. It should read statement.

Btw, I'm nondenominational. And the pope has been the blunt of
many jokes and comments. Do you not allow that in your utopia of debate?
(the obvious) He is not a god.

I find it curious that you've taken a personal interest in
my outlook. Thank you for caring.

38 posted on 01/10/2007 8:45:13 PM PST by MaxMax (God Bless America)
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To: livius

Now THAT is a reasonable view! (And explanation)


39 posted on 01/10/2007 9:23:04 PM PST by Enterprise (Drop pork bombs on the Islamofascist wankers. Praise the Lord and pass the hammunition.)
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: MaxMax
Statements? You spelled that wrong. It should read statement.

The grotesquely distorted picture of the Pope posted in your post #13 is certainly another statement of overt religious prejudice when coupled with the anal sex reference about the Pope in your post #9.

Btw, I'm nondenominational.

Creed or denomination doesn't make religious prejudice any less vile.

And the pope has been the blunt of many jokes and comments.

All independent of the overt religious prejudice that has been posted here.

Do you not allow that in your utopia of debate?

Certainly not. I hope that the religious prejudice remains on this thread as a permanent record of what those who post it really are.

(the obvious) He is not a god.

Of course he isn't, but that fact doesn't in any way reduce or mitigate the overt religious prejudice that has been posted against him.

I find it curious that you've taken a personal interest in my outlook.

My interest is primarily in highlighting the ignorance of anyone who publicly espouses overt religious prejudice.

Thank you for caring.

I do my best to care about everyone, especially people who are religiously prejudice.

41 posted on 01/10/2007 10:28:43 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: Ronaldus Magnus
Post #9 was a metaphor.
And the picture is an English comedian named Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson).

Have a happy day.

42 posted on 01/10/2007 11:21:19 PM PST by MaxMax (God Bless America)
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To: Texas Eagle

You're welcome. St. Paul covers the subject, too :-).


43 posted on 01/11/2007 3:26:42 AM PST by Tax-chick ("I don't know you, but I love who you seem to be.")
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To: tiki
What a sweet and thoughtful thing to say.

May God continue to bless you with such wisdom and humility.

I am always impressed with the faith and conviction that I see with many on this thread. You continue to confirm that feeling.

God Bless!

44 posted on 01/11/2007 3:56:36 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: livius

Well spoken words livius. This is why devotion to St. Micheal is very popular also.


45 posted on 01/11/2007 4:05:31 AM PST by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation.)
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To: NYer
BTW, here's a link to a similarly-posted article on FR (also posted yesterday):

He Teaches Us To Love The Cross (On St. Stephen)
46 posted on 01/11/2007 4:32:28 AM PST by ConservativeStLouisGuy (11th FReeper Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Unnecessarily Excerpt)
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To: NYer

The Holy Father makes an interesting observation. Accepting our cross to bear with grace is probably the hardest thing in life. However, knowing that God is with you at every moment and bringing good out of it all takes a constant infusion of Faith, Hope and Love.


47 posted on 01/11/2007 6:12:09 AM PST by Gerish (Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.)
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To: Tax-chick; Texas Eagle

Here's another:

These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
John 15:17-21


48 posted on 01/11/2007 7:54:31 AM PST by nanetteclaret (Our Lady's Hat Society)
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To: All

This thread is the perfect example of Satan lashing out at those who embrace the cross. He hates it. It takes away his power over man. It destroys his plan of victory over our souls. The bomb-throwers contributing to this post are only proving Pope Benedict's point. PERFECTLY.

It's threads like these, filled with vitriol and ridicule of the Holy Father, that show me how blessed I am to be Catholic.

And for those who are claiming that embracing suffering isn't biblical, apparently they've never come across the Beatitudes in all their biblical "study".


49 posted on 01/11/2007 8:00:34 AM PST by Rutles4Ever (Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna)
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To: Texas Eagle
Amen, Pope. That's right out of the Bible. Somewhere.

John 15:18 through 16:4 is a good start.

50 posted on 01/11/2007 8:08:27 AM PST by Campion ("I am so tired of you, liberal church in America" -- Mother Angelica, 1993)
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