Letter to Cardinal Bertone

Vatican City, 21 April 2015
Feast of Saint Anselm of Canterbury

His Eminence
the Honourable Lord
Tarcisio Cardinal BERTONE
Cardinal Secretary of State em.

00120 Vatican City

Your Eminence!

Upon reading the text of your new book, “La fede e il bene comune. Offerta cristiana alla società contemporeana“, which you have so kindly sent to me, I vividly recalled the years of our work in the service of Peter. It once again became clear to me how many dimensions there are in the pastoral mission of a shepherd in the Church of Christ today. Indeed, pastoral care does not only mean that we observe the service of the sacraments and the proclamation of the Word of God to the faithful in the Church.

Above all, it has become clear to me that pastoral care also decidely includes the intellectual dimension, which employees of Cardinal Ruini expressed with the word “amor intellectualis“. Only when we consider the insights and the questions of our time, we can understand the Word of God as addressed to us. Only when we have concern for the possibilities and needs of our time, the sacraments can reach the people with their true power.

This includes something more: as much as the care for the faithful and the faith of immediate seekers has been our mission, so little can the service of shepherds be limited to only the Church. The Church is part of the world, which means that she can only do justice to her own service if she is concerned with the world as a whole. The Word of God, on His part, concerns the fullness of reality, and His presence gives the Church responsibility for all of it.

The struggle surrounding the Encyclical “Caritas in Veritate“, as you have impressively shown, indicates the entanglement of different levels: In the struggle of humanity the Church must lead society onto the right path and must find a way of reasoning which also concerns non-believers. Only when she goes beyond herself and accepts responsibility for humanity as a whole, does she remain true to herself.

All this becomes clear in the articles in your book. I think it will also cause readers who do not belong to the Church to think and find traces of this struggle which comprises the full spectrum of challenges of our time. So it has also once again become clear to me how our collaboration has not been limited to concrete acts of government, but reached into the depths of the struggle to serve the Word of God, the Logos of God today.

I use this opprtunity to thank you for these years of collaboration and wish that this book will cause many people to think and also open a way to the faith for them.

Benedict XVI


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