25 settembre 2008

Paul Is No Inventor of Christianity, Says Pope

Notes Apostle's Faithful Transmission of Tradition

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The importance that Paul gave in his letters to sacred Tradition proves false the claim the Apostle invented Christianity, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, which he dedicated to a continuation of his series of catecheses on St. Paul. Some 15,000 people gathered for the audience, including several groups from Eastern Europe and Oceania.

The Holy Father spoke about St. Paul's relationships with the Twelve, which he said were "always marked by profound respect and by the frankness that in Paul stemmed from the defense of the truth of the Gospel."

He particularly stressed the relationship with Peter, noting that the Apostle to the Gentiles stayed with the first Pope for 15 days to learn about Christ's earthly life.

During Paul's time with the Twelve, the Pontiff explained, he received teaching on central elements of the Christian tradition. He then transmits this Tradition faithfully. Benedict XVI particularly noted passages from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians where the Apostle explains the Christian faith on the Eucharist and the Resurrection.

"The words of Jesus in the Last Supper really are for Paul the center of the life of the Church," the Pope explained.

And the "other text, on the Resurrection, transmits to us again the same formula of fidelity," he continued.

"The importance that [Paul] bestows on the living Tradition of the Church, which she transmits to her communities, demonstrates how mistaken is the view of those who attribute to Paul the invention of Christianity," the Holy Father contended. "Before proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he encountered him on the road to Damascus, and met him in the Church, observing his life in the Twelve, and in those who had followed him on the roads of Galilee. [...]

"The mission received on the part of the Risen One in order to evangelize the Gentiles must be confirmed and guaranteed by those who gave him and Barnabas their right hand, in sign of approval of their apostolate and evangelization, and of acceptance in the one communion of the Church of Christ."

The Pontiff concluded by affirming that faith is born from an experience of the risen Christ.

"The more we try to follow in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth on the roads of Galilee, so much the more will we understand that he has taken charge of our humanity, sharing in everything except sin," he said. "Our faith is not born from a myth or an idea, but from an encounter with the Risen One, in the life of the Church."

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