BENEDICT XVI: MAY THE CHURCH BECOME ‘A SACRAMENT OF UNITY’ FOR HUMAN
Vatican City, Apr. 22, 2005 (CNA) - Pope
Benedict XVI met this morning with those cardinals still in Rome
following Monday’s conclave. He expressed to them what he described
as a mixture of gratitude and unworthiness for the task ahead of him
as 265th Pope.
He said that "to the intense emotions I
experienced on the occasion of the death of my venerated predecessor
John Paul II and then during the conclave, especially its outcome,
can be added an intimate desire for silence and two complementary
feelings: a deep and heartfelt gratitude and a sense of human
impotence in the face of the exalted task that awaits me."
The new Pope told them of his “need to give
thanks to God Who, despite my human frailty, elected me as Successor
to the Apostle Peter and entrusted me with the task of supporting
and guiding the Church, that in the world she may become a sacrament
of unity for the entire human race."
Likewise, he emphasized how "truly
emotional" his first appearance in St Peter's Square two days ago,
Noting the tremendous welcome he received
stepping onto the balcony to greet the faithful for the first time
Pope Benedict said, "May my most heartfelt thanks reach everyone:
bishops, priests, male and female religious, young and old alike,
for their spiritual solidarity."
The Pope also thanked members of the
College of Cardinals, especially Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo
Sodano and the camerlengo, Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, for
"the active collaboration they gave to running the Church during the
period of vacant see.”
“With special affection,” he said, “I would
like to greet those cardinals who, for reasons of age or ill health,
did not participate in the conclave."
The new spiritual shepherd for 1 billion
Catholics also extended his personal thanks to the cardinals "for
the trust you have placed in me by electing me as bishop of Rome and
pastor of the Universal Church.”
“It was an act of faith”, he said, “that
constitutes an encouragement to undertake this new mission with
greater serenity, because I am convinced that I can count on both
the indispensable help of God and your generous collaboration. I
pray that your support for me may never fail!"
Pope Benedict called to mind his
predecessors, Blessed John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and
especially John Paul II, "whose witness over the last days supported
us more than ever, and whose ever-living presence we continue to
He added that, "The light and the strength
of the Risen Christ radiated in the Church by that kind of 'last
Mass' that (John Paul II) celebrated in his agony, culminating in
the 'Amen' of a life entirely offered, through the Immaculate Heart
of Mary, for the salvation of the world."
"For me,” he concluded, “your spiritual
closeness, your enlightened counsel and your effective cooperation
will be a gift for which I will be ever grateful and a stimulus to
carry out the mandate entrusted to me with total faithfulness and