Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pope Begins New Catechesis on Saint Paul

From the Vatican:

Last Sunday, the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, marked the
beginning of a Year dedicated to the figure and teaching of the Apostle Paul.
Today’s Audience begins a new series of catecheses aimed at understanding more
deeply the thought of Saint Paul and its continuing relevance. Paul, as we know,
was a Jew, and consequently a member of a distinct cultural minority in the
Roman Empire. At the same time, he spoke Greek, the language of the wider
Hellenistic culture, and was a Roman citizen. Paul’s proclamation of the Risen
Christ, while grounded in Judaism, was marked by a universalist vision and it
was facilitated by his familiarity with three cultures. He was thus able to draw
from the spiritual richness of contemporary philosophy, and Stoicism in
particular, in his preaching of the Gospel. The crisis of traditional
Greco-Roman religion in Paul’s time had also fostered a greater concern for a
personal experience of God. As we see from his sermon before the Areopagus in
Athens (cf. Acts 17:22ff.), Paul was able to appeal to these currents of thought
in his presentation of the Good News. Against this broad cultural background,
Paul developed his teaching, which we will explore in the catecheses of this
Pauline Year.

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