Potpourri of Popery, Corpus Christi in Cyprus Edition

Happy feast of Corpus Christi, when Catholics everywhere adore Christ present in the Eucharist, especially through public processions.
In places where Christians aren't weenies, the feast falls on Thursday. The Pope's Corpus Christi homily from then was lovely ("In what sense is Jesus a priest?"), and accompanied by the usual Eucharistic procession through the streets of Rome.
Today the pope celebrated the feast again in Cyprus, where he spent the weekend, and the local Sufi mystic was among the large crowds happy to see him.

The official reason for the visit was the consigning of the Instrumentum Laboris (Fr. Samir comments on it here) for the upcoming synod on the Middle East, but one of the major contributors to the document, a Turkish Catholic bishop, was murdered (though apparently not for political reasons) on the way to meet the Pope in Cyprus, so the visit became in a heightened way an "encouragement of the brethren."

He describes his mission in the airplane interview, in which he declined in response to questioning to say anything political about Cyprus or to denounce Israel.
I do not go with a political message, but with a religious message, that must prepare souls more to find openness for peace. These are not things that go from today to tomorrow, but it is very important not only to take the necessary political steps, but above to prepare souls to be capable of taking the necessary political steps, to create that interior openness for peace, that, in the end, comes from faith in God and from the conviction that we are all sons of God and brothers and sisters to each other.
 We'll see him take that up in remarks both to civil authorities and the local Catholic community: build genuine personal friendships with all kinds of people, and those friendships will be the seeds of peace.

First stop: an ecumenical prayer service. The Orthodox welcomed him  (see the cool pix).

At Nicosia he met with politicians and diplomats: the usual message, but in a different form.
When carried out faithfully, public service enables us to grow in wisdom, integrity and personal fulfilment. Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics gave great importance to such fulfilment – eudemonia - as a goal for every human being, and saw in moral character the way to reach that goal. For them, and for the great Islamic and Christian philosophers who followed in their footsteps, the practice of virtue consisted in acting in accordance with right reason, in the pursuit of all that is true, good and beautiful. 
I'm impressed that you can invoke Plato and Aristotle to any effect in any political body in the world!

Is it my imagination or is he much more practical with the Cypriots than with Europeans? Knowing nothing about Cyprus, I'm not sure what that indicates --that is, I can't tell whether in a passage like the following he spells it out for them because he needs to (thanks to Muslim misbehavior and the usual Orthodox-Catholic tensions) or because there's a certain intellectual health in Cyprus that means he can (whereas in Europe everyone's habit of mind is already so corrupt he can only give indications and hope for them to take root). I suspect the latter, but see what I mean. He asks:
what does it mean in practical terms to respect and promote moral truth in the world of politics and diplomacy on the national and international levels? How can the pursuit of truth bring greater harmony to the troubled regions of the earth?
And answers:
promoting moral truth means acting responsibly on the basis of factual knowledge. As diplomats, you know from experience that such knowledge helps you identify injustices and grievances, so as to consider dispassionately the concerns of all involved in a given dispute. When parties rise above their own particular view of events, they acquire an objective and comprehensive vision. Those who are called to resolve such disputes are able to make just decisions and promote genuine reconciliation when they grasp and acknowledge the full truth of a specific question.
A second way of promoting moral truth consists in deconstructing political ideologies which would supplant the truth. The tragic experiences of the twentieth century have laid bare the inhumanity which follows from the suppression of truth and human dignity. In our own day, we are witnessing attempts to promote supposed values under the guise of peace, development and human rights.
promoting moral truth in public life calls for a constant effort to base positive law upon the ethical principles of natural law. An appeal to the latter was once considered self-evident, but the tide of positivism in contemporary legal theory requires the restatement of this important axiom. Individuals, communities and states, without guidance from objectively moral truths, would become selfish and unscrupulous and the world a more dangerous place to live. On the other hand, by being respectful of the rights of persons and peoples we protect and promote human dignity. When the policies we support are enacted in harmony with the natural law proper to our common humanity, then our actions become more sound and conducive to an environment of understanding, justice and peace.
The pope is amazingly bold in issuing challenges to audiences, but I don't think he's ever just flat spelled it out for people (positivism: bad; ideologies must be deconstructed) --not even his own bishops in Fatima a few weeks ago like that.

Of the Christian community he asked two things: witness, for the good of society at large; and also genuine friendship with other Christians and non-Christians (something he discussed with the politicians and diplomats, too).
 given your unique circumstances, I would also like to draw your attention to an essential part of our Church’s life and mission, namely the search for greater unity in charity with other Christians and dialogue with those who are not Christians....Given your circumstances, you are able to make your personal contribution to the goal of greater Christian unity in your daily lives. Let me encourage you to do so, confident that the Spirit of the Lord, who prayed that his followers might be one (cf. Jn 17:21), will accompany you in this important task.... Only by patient work can mutual trust be built, the burden of history overcome, and the political and cultural differences between peoples become a motive to work for deeper understanding.  
In the Latin parish Church he celebrated Mass, and offered a beautiful homily about the cross and its relationship to hope. This is the central text of his visit, and it culminates in the challenge to priests to accept martyrdom if they can and if it comes to that:
In my thoughts and prayers I am especially mindful of the many priests and religious in the Middle East who are currently experiencing a particular call to conform their lives to the mystery of the Lord’s Cross. Through the difficulties facing their communities as a result of the conflicts and tensions of the region, many families are taking the decision to move away, and it can be tempting for their pastors to do likewise. In situations of this kind, though, a priest, a religious community, a parish that remains steadfast and continues to bear witness to Christ is an extraordinary sign of hope, not only for the Christians but for all who live in the region. Their presence alone is an eloquent expression of the Gospel of peace, the determination of the Good Shepherd to care for all the sheep, the Church’s unyielding commitment to dialogue, reconciliation and loving acceptance of the other. By embracing the Cross that is held out to them, the priests and religious of the Middle East can truly radiate the hope that lies at the heart of the mystery we are celebrating in our liturgy today.
For today's feast of Corpus Christi, the Pope explained the Western Church's devotion, and again urged Christians in Cyprus to be witnesses of hope in the Middle East. The "English" text includes three paragraphs of French, which ain't my language, but this seems to be the gist, following on St. Teresa's remark that with our eyes Christ looks upon the world, with our lips He proclaims his gospel to the world, etc:
However, it is important to understand that when we participate in the Church's work, we are not honoring the memory of a dead hero, extending what he did. Instead, Christ is alive in his body, the Church, his priestly people. By feeding on Him in the Eucharist and receiving the Holy Spirit in our hearts we truly become the Body of Christ that we receive, we are truly in communion with him and with each other, and we become truly instruments, in witness to him before the world.
A few other addresses worthy of note, each from prior to the Cyprus trip:
Remarks for the traditional vigil closing the month of May.
Mary's charity does not stop with concrete aid, but reaches its culmination in giving Jesus himself.... [This]is a communication and a donation that -- as Elizabeth attests -- fills the heart with joy: "For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy." Jesus is the true and only treasure that we have to give to humanity. It is of him that the men and women of our time have profound nostalgia, even when they seem to ignore or reject him. It is of him that the society in which we live, Europe, the whole world, is in great need.
Next week, to close the Year of the Priest, Benedict is hosting an Encounter With Priests in Rome.

And finally, good sign for Catholic/Orthodox relations: nose-y, nose-y, nose-y;  and: Legalism
    Photo credit: AP Photo/Osservatorio Romano, HO