Pontiff Points Up Church's Missionary Mark

In Address on Solemnity of Pentecost

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Church is one, holy, catholic, apostolic -- and missionary, says Benedict XVI.



On the solemnity of Pentecost, the Pope observed that the Church "speaks in all languages and goes out to meet every culture."

The Holy Father delivered his message today from the window of his study before reciting the midday Regina Caeli with the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Explaining the significance of Pentecost, he said that the Church "had its solemn beginning with the descent of the Holy Spirit."

The Pope said that that Pentecost event, 50 days after Jesus' resurrection, points up "the essential and qualifying marks of the Church," which are professed by the faithful in the Creed: one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

To these marks the Bishop of Rome added another. "The Church, moreover, is missionary by its nature, and from the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit does not cease to move it along the roads of the world to the ends of the earth and to the end of time," he explained.

To Rome

Benedict XVI said he sees a symbol of the missionary nature of the Church "in the passage of the Gospel from the Jews to the pagans, from Jerusalem to Rome."

"Rome represents the pagan world and therefore all peoples who are outside the ancient people of God," the Pope said. "In fact, the Acts conclude with the arrival of the Gospel in Rome.

"We can say, then, that Rome is the concrete name of the catholicity and missionary spirit of the Church; it expresses fidelity to the origins, to the Church of all times, to a Church that speaks in all languages and goes out to meet every culture."

The Holy Father concluded his address asking the prayers of the faithful "so that the Holy Spirit descend abundantly upon the Church of our time and fill the hearts of all the faithful and enkindle in them -- in us -- the fire of his love."