Christ Is a Novelty, Director of Papal Retreat Says

Pope and Curia in 2nd Full Day of Spiritual Exercises

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2007 ( Christ's entry into history makes Christianity "an incomparable novelty in the history of humanity," says the director of the weeklong spiritual retreat being attended by Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, retired archbishop of Bologna, reminded his listeners of that today, the second full day of the Spiritual Exercises. The Pope and his aides in the Roman Curia began the retreat on Sunday afternoon.

"Seek the things that are on high" is the theme of the retreat being held in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

"The apostles, despite continuing to be coherent and loyal Jews, adored the Son of Mary as dominating all times, as the center of everything," said the cardinal, according to the summary of his preaching reported by Vatican Radio.

The 78-year-old cardinal explained that although the apostles did not propose "a different religion from that in which they had lived." Christianity "was born within Israel's faith," it became "an incomparable novelty in the history of humanity."

"The apostles found themselves before a man who broke all paradigms," Cardinal Biffi said. He added that after the Resurrection, the apostles "were obliged to reinterpret all the episodes of Christ's life. They were obliged to give in, to admit that they had come into contact with someone who is above every being."