Reflecting on the theologies of Peter and Paul and on the different temperaments and styles present in the Church, Benedict XVI added: “It is good that there are all these differences. Different charismas and temperaments exist today as well, but they do not clash, they unite through one common faith.”
The Pope went on to speak about martyrdom: Peter knew martyrdom awaited him in Rome, “but he did not cop out: he went to the cross which Christ pointed him towards and urged modern man too to embrace the martyrdom side to faith as well…which can come in many shapes and forms. No one can be Christian without following the Crucifix” and without accepting martyrdom.
Christians are called the “chosen ones”. But God “has chosen me not for my gifts, which I didn’t have, but out of his goodness. He wanted me to be the bearer of his choice which is always a mission and responsibility towards others. We must be grateful and joyous about this fact… God has chosen me to be Catholic, a bearer of his Gospel, a priest.” According to Benedict XVI it is too tempting to say “we do not want to rejoice at being chosen, that would be triumphalism.”
The Pope’s words tried to get across a message that is as pertinent as ever to Catholicism in today’s world: triumphalism does not strike or fascinate people, it simply drives them away. Only joy which stems from humble gratitude can be contagious and truly missionary.