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Solemnity of Christ the King 2005

Pope Benedict XVI's words at the Angelus
St Peter's Square, Sunday 20 November 2005 - also in Croatian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear brothers and sisters,
The Solemnity of Christ the King is celebrated today, the last Sunday of the liturgical Year. Since the announcement of his birth, the only-begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary, was described as "king" in the Messianic sense, that is, heir to the throne of David in accordance with the Prophets' promise, for a Kingdom that would have no end (cf Lk 1, 32-33). The kingship of Christ remained completely hidden until he was 30 years old, years spent in an ordinary life in Nazareth. Then, during his public life, Jesus inaugurated the new Kingdom which "does not belong to this world" (Jn 18, 36), and finally, with his death and resurrection, he fully established it. Appearing to the Apostles after he had risen, he said: "Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth" (Mt 28, 18): this power flows from the love that God manifested in its fullness in the sacrifice of his Son. The Kingdom of Christ is a gift offered to the people of every epoch so that those who believe in the incarnate Word "may not die but (may) have eternal life" (Jn 3, 16). For this, precisely in the last Book of the Bible, the Apocalypse, He proclaims: "I am the Alpha and the Omega... the beginning and the end" (Apoc 22, 13).

"Christ: Alpha and Omega" is the title of the closing paragraph of Part I of the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council, promulgated 40 years ago. In that beautiful passage which borrows some words from the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, we read: "The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the desires of history and civilization, the centre of mankind, the joy of all hearts and the fulfilment of all aspirations. It is he whom the Father raised from the dead, exalted and placed at his right hand, constituting him judge of the living and the dead. Animated and drawn together in his Spirit we press onwards on our journey towards the consummation of history which fully corresponds to the plan of his love: "to unite all things in him, things in Heaven and things on earth'" (GS, 45). In light of the centrality of Christ, Gaudium et Spes interprets the condition of contemporary men and women, their vocation and their dignity, and also the milieus in which they live: the family, culture, the economy, politics, the international community. This is the Church's mission, yesterday, today and for ever: to proclaim and witness to Christ so that man, every man, may fully realise his vocation.

May the Virgin Mary, whom God uniquely associated with the kingship of his Son, obtain that we welcome him as the Lord of our lives, so as to cooperate faithfully with the coming of his Kingdom of love, justice and peace."

After the Angelus:

"I am pleased to offer a cordial greeting to the Spanish-speaking pilgrims who are present for the prayer of the Angelus. Today, I greet in particular my Brother Bishops of Mexico, the priests, Religious and faithful who are taking part in the Beatification in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara of the Martyrs Anacleto González Flores and eight Companions, and of José Trinidad Rangel, Andrés Solá Molist, Leonardo Pérez and Darío Acosta Zurita, who faced martyrdom to defend their Christian faith. On this Solemnity of Christ the King, whom they called upon at the supreme moment of giving up their lives, they are a permanent example and an incentive to us to give a consistent witness to our own faith in contemporary society. With these sentiments and with deep affection, I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and to all the Mexican faithful.

Tomorrow, the liturgical Memorial of the Presentation of Mary Most Holy at the temple, we will be celebrating Pro Orantibus Day, that is, the day for religious communities of contemplative life. On behalf of the whole Church, I express gratitude to those who, in the cloister, dedicate their lives to prayer, offering us an eloquent witness of the primacy of God and of his Kingdom. I recommend closeness to them with our spiritual and material support.

Je salue cordialement les pèlerins francophones. En ce dimanche consacré aux victimes de la route, je confie à l’amour du Seigneur toutes les personnes décédées dans des accidents de la circulation, ainsi que les très nombreux blessés et leurs familles. J’invite tous les automobilistes à une conduite prudente et responsable, afin de lutter efficacement, avec les Autorités, contre ce mal social et de réduire le nombre des victimes.

I warmly welcome the English-speaking visitors present at this Angelus. May the Blessed Virgin Mary be close to all of you during your time in Rome, and may Christ, our Lord and King, bless you and your families with joy and peace.

Es ist mir eine Freude, auch die Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache zu begrüßen. Besonders heiße ich die Gruppen aus den Pfarren St. Paul in Wien-Döbling und St. Anton in Linz auf dem Petersplatz willkommen. Am heutigen Sonntag betrachtet die Kirche Christus als den König der Liebe. Durch die Taufe dürfen wir teilhaben an seiner königlichen Würde, die uns immer auch eine Berufung ist, mit Christus den Menschen zu dienen. Euch allen einen gesegneten Sonntag und eine gute Woche.

Srdačno pozdravljam hrvatske hodočasnike, osobito iz grada Dubrovnika. Čvrsto držite dar vjere u Krista Gospodina kako bi vas, o svom ponovnom dolasku, uveo u svoje kraljevstvo! Hvaljen Isus i Marija!

Pozdrawiam serdecznie obecnych tu Polaków. Dzisiaj Uroczystość Chrystusa Króla. Modlimy się: „Przyjdź Królestwo Twoje". Niech Chrystus króluje w waszych sercach, w waszych rodzinach, w waszej Ojczyźnie. Niech wam błogosławi.

Saluto con affetto i pellegrini di lingua italiana, in particolare i gruppi provenienti da Pera di Fassa, Rimini, Porto San Giorgio, Silvi Marina, Aprilia, Nettuno, Aquino, Cagliari e Calvi. Saluto inoltre l’Azione Cattolica della Diocesi di Oppido-Palmi, l’Associazione Mariana d’Italia, gli sbandieratori e musici di Motta Sant’Anastasia e il Corpo musicale di Nozzano Castello.

I wish you all a good Christ the King Sunday!"