Benedict XVI Rejects Image of “ Superstar Pope”

Source: FSSPX News

On December 22, on the occasion of his traditional address to the Roman Curia, Benedict XVI returned to the topic of the World Youth Day (WYD) of August 2008 in Australia, and he had to heart to specify that the Pope is not a “star” in some “rock festival” but he who leads to Christ. 

“Popular analyses tend to view these days as a variant of contemporary youth culture, a sort of rock festival in an ecclesial key, with the Pope as its main attraction,” he observed. “Such analyses presume that, with or without faith, these festivals would be basically the same; and thus the whole question of God can be set aside.” The pope deplored that “even some Catholics would seem to agree, seeing the whole event as a huge spectacle, magnificent perhaps, but of no real significance for the question of faith and the presence of the Gospel in our time. They might be ecstatic celebrations, but in the end they would really change nothing, nor have any deeper effect on life.”

Benedict XVI presented the WYD as “the culmination of a long process in which the young people turn to one another and then, together, turn to Christ,” and to the “cross”. “The Pope himself is not the star around which everything revolves. He is completely and solely a Vicar. He points beyond himself to the Other who is in our midst, to that God who loves us all the way to the Cross.”

In 1985 , the World Youth Days were initiated by John Paul II, who was called the “superstar pope” because of his media success among the crowds of the younger generation. In fact, the organizers of the WYD often had to deplore the disruptions of public order  which commonly accompany rock festivals.

During his address to the Roman Curia, Benedict XVI also warned against the “self-destruction of man himself” when he disregards his nature. “Rain forests deserve indeed to be protected, but no less so does man,” the pope said. He emphasized the “responsibility” of the Church which “cannot and must not limit herself to passing on to the faithful the message of salvation alone. She has a responsibility towards creation, and must also publicly assert this responsibility. In so doing, she must not only defend earth, water and air as gifts of creation belonging to all;” but protect man against his own self-destruction.”  And he thus justified the public stands he had taken.

The Sovereign Pontiff, who encouraged “something like a human ecology, correctly understood”, denounced “the self-destruction of man” when the nature of human beings as man and woman is not respected. He criticized the “gender” theory according to which human being is not determined by his (her) sex and which he considers as “and attempt at self-emancipation from creation and the Creator.”

Besides, Benedict XVI also mentioned last October Synod of Bishops devoted to the Word of God, as well as the Year consecrated to the Apostle of the Nations: “Saint Paul is not a figure of the past.” The message of Bible Scriptures,” affirmed Benedict XVI “will not remain a Word from the past nor can it be restricted to this past.”