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General Audience, 1st October 2008

BENEDICT XVI

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Wednesday, 1st October 2008

 

Saint Paul (6)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on Saint Paul, we now consider two events which illustrate Paulís relationship to the Twelve, which combined respect for their authority with frankness in the service of the Gospel. At the Council of Jerusalem Paul defended before the Twelve his conviction that the grace of Christ had freed the Gentiles from the obligations of the Mosaic Law. Significantly, the Churchís decision in this matter of faith was accompanied by a gesture of concrete concern for the needs of the poor (cf. Gal 2:10). By endorsing Paulís collections among the Gentiles, the Council thus set its teaching on Christian freedom within the context of the Churchís communion in charity. Later, in Antioch, when Peter, to avoid scandalizing Jewish Christians, abstained from eating with the Gentiles, Paul rebuked him for compromising the freedom brought by Christ (cf. Gal 2:11-14). Yet, writing to the Romans years later, Paul himself insisted that our freedom in Christ must not become a source of scandal for others (cf. Rom 14:21). Paulís example shows us that, led by the Spirit and within the communion of the Church, Christians are called to live in a freedom which finds its highest expression in service to others.

* * *

I offer a warm welcome to the new students of the Pontifical Irish College. May your priestly formation in the Eternal City prepare you to be generous and faithful servants of Godís People in your native land. I also greet the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary on the occasion of their General Chapter. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Ireland, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and the United States, I invoke Godís abundant blessings.
 

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