Pope prays for scouts

VATICAN CITY – Greeting an international group of Scouts on the 100th anniversary of Scouting, Pope Benedict XVI prayed that the movement would continue to promote “human, spiritual and civil formation in every country of the world.”
The pope congratulated the young men and women at the end of his weekly general audience Aug. 1, just a few hours after they joined Scouts from around the world in renewing their promises to serve God and others with generosity.
Wading into the crowd to shake hands with and bless his visitors, Pope Benedict received a Scout’s scarf, which he tried to slip over his head. An aide took it from him, though, before he was able to readjust the knot.
In his main audience talk, Pope Benedict picked up where he left off July 4 before going on vacation, telling pilgrims about the life and teaching of St. Basil, a fourth-century bishop.
The bishop, he said, encouraged people to recognize their own dignity as creatures of God and the dignity of others.
He emphasized that “the Christian living in conformity with the Gospel recognizes that all people are brothers and sisters” and that each person has a responsibility to be a good steward of the gifts God provides for all.
In St. Basil’s writings, Pope Benedict said, he used “courageous, strong words” to explain that loving one’s neighbors means not possessing anything that one’s neighbors are lacking. The saint said, “All the needy look to our hands like we ourselves look toward God when we are in need.”
Calling St. Basil “one of the fathers of the social doctrine of the church,” the pope said his teaching is “very relevant” today when globalization has widened the gap between rich and poor, but also makes it easier to see that “even people geographically far away are truly our neighbors.”
Pope Benedict said, “Only through openness to God, our common father, can we create a just and fraternal world.”
St. Basil also has an important message for young people trying to live Christian lives in a predominantly pagan culture, the pope said.
With a combination of “criticism and openness,” the 4th-century bishop encouraged the young to examine their culture, which contained “examples of an upright life, of virtue.”
The pope said St. Basil used the example of bees, who take from flowers – and only certain flowers – just what they need to produce honey. In the same way, Pope Benedict said, we must take “only what is useful to us and conforming to the truth and leave the rest behind.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.