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Solemnity of Christ the King 2006

Pope Benedict XVI's words at the Angelus
St Peter's Square, Sunday 26 November 2006 - also in Croatian, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear brothers and sisters,
On this last Sunday of the liturgical year we are celebrating the Solemnity of Christ the King. Today's Gospel proposes to us anew part of the dramatic questioning to which Pontius Pilate subjected Jesus when he was handed over to him, accused of usurping the title, "King of the Jews". Jesus answered the Roman governor's questions by declaring that he was a king, but not of this world (cf. Jn 18: 36). He did not come to rule over peoples and territories but to set people free from the slavery of sin and to reconcile them with God. And he added: "For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice" (Jn 18: 37).

But what is the "truth" that Christ came into the world to witness to? The whole of his life reveals that God is love: so this is the truth to which he witnessed to the full with the sacrifice of his own life on Calvary. The Cross is the "throne" where he manifested his sublime kingship as God Love: by offering himself in expiation for the sin of the world, he defeated the "ruler of this world" (Jn 12: 31) and established the Kingdom of God once and for all. It is a Kingdom that will be fully revealed at the end of time, after the destruction of every enemy and last of all, death (cf. I Cor 15: 25-26). The Son will then deliver the Kingdom to the Father and God will finally be "everything to everyone" (I Cor 15: 28). The way to reach this goal is long and admits of no short cuts: indeed, every person must freely accept the truth of God's love. He is Love and Truth, and neither Love nor Truth are ever imposed: they come knocking at the doors of the heart and the mind and where they can enter they bring peace and joy. This is how God reigns; this is his project of salvation, a "mystery" in the biblical sense of the word: a plan that is gradually revealed in history.

The Virgin Mary was associated in a very special way with Christ's kingship. God asked her, a humble young woman of Nazareth, to become Mother of the Messiah and Mary responded to this request with her whole self, joining her unconditional "yes" to that of her Son, Jesus, and making herself obedient with him even in his sacrifice. This is why God exalted her above every other creature and Christ crowned her Queen of Heaven and earth. Let us entrust the Church and all humanity to her intercession, so that God's love can reign in all hearts and his design of justice and peace be fulfilled."

After the Angelus:

"Dear brothers and sisters, as you know, in the next few days I will be visiting Turkey. From this moment I would like to send a cordial greeting to the beloved Turkish People, rich in history and culture; I express to this People and to its representatives my sentiments of esteem and sincere friendship. I look forward with deep emotion to meeting with the small Catholic Community which is ever present in my heart, and to joining the Orthodox Church in a brotherly way on the occasion of the Feast of the Apostle St Andrew. I follow trustingly in the footsteps of my venerable Predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II; and I invoke the heavenly protection of Bl. John XXIII, who was Apostolic Delegate in Turkey for 10 years and nourished affection and esteem for that Nation. I ask you all to accompany me with prayers that this pilgrimage will bear all the fruits that God desires. Thank you for your prayers and affection.

This 1 December is World Day Against AIDS. I warmly hope that this event will encourage an increased responsibility in treating this disease, together with the commitment to avoid all discrimination against those afflicted. As I invoke the Lord's comfort upon the sick and their families, I encourage the Church's many initiatives in this area.

Je souhaite la bienvenue aux pèlerins de langue française, en ce dernier dimanche de l’année liturgique, et je salue en particulier les membres de la Conférence Olivaint. Que le Christ Jésus soit toujours au cœur de votre vie de croyants, lui que nous fêtons spécialement aujourd’hui comme l’Alpha et l’Omega, Celui qui est, qui était et qui vient! Que son amour vous éclaire et vous inspire ! Bon séjour à Rome.

I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. On this Solemnity of Christ the King, let us pray for the spread of the Gospel, the triumph of God's reconciling love and the coming of his eternal Kingdom of holiness, justice and peace. May Christ's peace always reign in your hearts!

Mit Freude begrüße ich die deutschsprachigen Pilger und Besucher hier auf dem Petersplatz. Heute feiern wir den Christkönigssonntag. Gott hat seinem geliebten Sohn alle Gewalt gegeben im Himmel und auf Erden, damit er sein Reich der Liebe und der Gerechtigkeit in den Herzen der Menschen und in der Welt errichte. Streben auch wir danach, unser Leben ganz in seinen Dienst zu stellen. - In dieser Woche bitte ich besonders um euer Gebet für meine bevorstehende Apostolische Reise in die Türkei. Euch allen wünsche ich einen gesegneten Sonntag.

Saludo con afecto a los peregrinos de lengua española. Queridos hermanos, al contemplar hoy a Jesucristo, Rey del Universo, pidamos a la Virgen María que nuestra vida, iluminada con la verdad de Cristo, sea testimonio de santidad y de gracia, haciendo realidad su reino de justicia, de amor y de paz. ¡Feliz Domingo!

Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków. W mojej modlitwie, łączę się dzisiaj szczególnie z rodzinami górników, którzy zginęli w katastrofie w kopalni Halemba, w Rudzie Śląskiej. Proszę, by Chrystus, Król Wszechświata przyjął zmarłych do swej chwały w niebie, a ich rodziny i was wszystkich umocnił pokojem i nadzieją. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus.

Saluto i pellegrini di lingua italiana, in particolare i numerosi direttori di coro, musicisti e cantori - grazie per questo bel contributo che ci avete dato - che partecipano al XXVIII Congresso Nazionale di Musica Sacra, promosso dall'Associazione Italiana Santa Cecilia. Cari amici, sono lieto che abbiate commemorato, a 50 anni dalla morte, il grande Maestro Lorenzo Perosi, veramente un grande maestro, che è stato Direttore della Cappella Sistina e ha lasciato opere musicali di altissima ispirazione religiosa. Vi auguro di essere autentici evangelizzatori con l'espressione della bellezza e dell'armonia della vostra arte musicale. Saluto inoltre i fedeli provenienti da Trieste, da Udine e dalle parrocchie romane della Natività, del Santissimo Corpo e Sangue di Cristo e di San Leonardo Murialdo. Infine, in occasione della Giornata italiana per la ricerca sul cancro, desidero esprimere il mio incoraggiamento alle associazioni e ai ricercatori impegnati a combattere questa malattia. A tutti auguro una buona domenica."