BENEDICT XVI (January 28, 2009)
In our catechesis on the writings of Saint Paul, we come now to the Pastoral Epistles, the two Letters addressed to Timothy and the one to Titus. Although their authorship remains debated, these three Letters, while subsequent to the central years of Paul’s life and activity, clearly appeal to his authority and draw from his teaching. Against threats to the purity of the apostolic tradition, they insist on a discerning understanding of the Scriptures and fidelity to the deposit of faith. Scripture and Tradition are seen as the "firm foundation laid by God" for the life of the Church (cf. 2 Tim 2:19), and the basis of her mission of leading all people to the knowledge of God’s saving truth (cf. 1 Tim 2:1-4). The Pastoral Epistles also reflect the development of the Church’s ministerial structures, and in particular the emergence of the figure of the Bishop within the group of presbyters. They present the Church in very human terms as God’s household, a family in which the Bishop acts with the authority of a father. Inspired by this vision, let us ask Saint Paul to help all Christians to live as members of God’s family, and their Pastors to be strong and loving fathers, committed to building up their flocks in faith and unity.