(March 5, 2008)
"Continuing our catechesis on the Fathers of the Church, we turn to Saint Leo the Great, one of the most influential Popes in history. He was born in Tuscia and became Bishop of Rome in 440 during times of severe social unrest. Since the Roman Emperor’s authority had practically disappeared in the West, and Italy was suffering from frequent Barbarian incursions, Pope Leo took it upon himself to protect Rome. His courageous meeting in Mantua with Attila the Hun, whom he convinced to desist from his plans to devastate the city, is the most well known, but not the only event of its kind. Pope Leo promoted the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome as the successor of the Apostle Peter, and exercised this ministry in the East and the West with great prudence, pastoral sensitivity and wisdom. The Bishops attending the important Council of Chalcedon in 451, acclaimed the text he sent concerning faith in Jesus, true God and true man, with the words: "Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo".
Thanks to Pope Leo’s sermons and letters, we can still appreciate his zeal and charity as pastor of the Church, and his theological depth and clarity. He also shares with us his profound understanding of the liturgy, where he sees the mysteries of salvation as present to our time and influential in our everyday realities. May the life and example of Pope Saint Leo always remind us that the encounter with God in Christ is the source of our joy and our salvation!"