Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI: Wednesday delivered a surprisingly blunt reflection on religious hypocrisy, suggesting the church he has headed was confronting internal “divisions” and sometimes presented a “disfigured” Face


VATICAN CITY — Standing above the ancient tomb of Saint Peter, Pope Benedict XVI used his final homily as pontiff Wednesday to deliver a surprisingly blunt reflection on religious hypocrisy, suggesting the church he has headed was confronting internal “divisions” and sometimes presented a “disfigured” face.

Looking frail and aided by young priests as he moved beneath the vaulted canopy of the papal altar in St. Peter’s Basilica, the pope appeared to implicitly address the Vatican power struggles and scandals that plagued his nearly eight-year tenure and, some have argued, potentially hastened his departure as leader of the Catholic Church. Presiding over his last public Mass — on Ash Wednesday, the opening of Lent, a period viewed by Catholics as a time of reflection and penance — he asked his flock to dwell on the true nature of a Christian life.

“We can reveal the face of the church and how this face is, at times, disfigured,” the German-born pontiff said, speaking in Italian. “I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the church, of the divisions in the body of the church.” He called for his ministry to overcome “individualism” and “rivalry,” saying they were only for those “who have distanced themselves from the faith.”

VATICAN CITY

Washington Post

By Anthony Faiola,

Wednesday, February 13