Cardinal Biffi: Church Is Holy, Despite Sins

Pope and Curia in 4th Full Day of Spiritual Exercises

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 1, 2007 (ZENIT.org).- The holiness of the Church is eternal despite the weaknesses and sins of some of its faithful, says the cardinal directing the retreat which Benedict XVI is attending.



Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, retired archbishop of Bologna, delivered that message today during a meditation in which he underlined the necessity of a transcendent ecclesiology guided by the idea of eternal happiness and the elevation of the soul in Christian contemplation.

The cardinal's meditation came during the weeklong Spiritual Exercises being attended by the Pope and members of the Roman Curia. The retreat ends this Saturday. The Holy Father suspended his usual meetings, including the general audience, in these days.

"One of the inalienable goals of the pastoral commitment is that of helping the people of God -- the little ones, as we should all be -- the joy and pride of being part of the Church," said Cardinal Biffi, as reported by Vatican Radio.

The cardinal said that this is one of the urgent necessities of this moment, as it was at the beginning of Christianity.

The preacher added that the members of the Church walk through history "shining with innumerable heroic testimonies, with their clear and valiant teachings, with their impressive examples of charity and with their exceptional manifestations of beauty."

Cardinal Biffi said that in the design of divine wisdom, and in his salvific plan, God knows the mystery of the historical reality of human guilt.

He added that the Church remembers the redemption of "Christ, beginning and center of the designs of the Father, who carries in his crucified and resurrected flesh the imprints of a tough fight" between good and evil.

Thanks to Christ, said the cardinal, the good "wins definitively and eternally."