Pope Benedict XVI appealed today for the success of the upcoming G-20 meeting in Cannes. His appeal came at the end of his weekly General Audience. “It is my hope,” said Pope Benedict, “that the meeting might help to overcome the difficulties that, on a global level, are blocking the promotion of an integral and authentically human development.”
Before the appeal, in his catechesis, the Holy Father reflected on the Solemnity of All Souls, which the Church keeps every November 2nd.
This yearly commemoration, often marked by visits to the cemetery, is an occasion to ponder the mystery of death and to renew our faith in the promise of eternal life held out to us by Christ’s resurrection. As human beings, we have a natural fear of death and we rebel against its apparent finality. Faith teaches us that the fear of death is lightened by a great hope, the hope of eternity, which gives our lives their fullest meaning.
The Pope said, “The God who is love offers us the promise of eternal life through the death and resurrection of his Son.”
In Christ, death no longer appears as an abyss of emptiness, but rather a path to life which will never end. Christ is the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in him will never die. Each Sunday, in reciting the Creed, we reaffirm our faith in this mystery. As we remember our dear departed ones, united with them in the communion of the saints, may our faith inspire us to follow Christ more closely and to work in this world to build a future of hope.
The Pope also had greetings for the English-speaking pilgrims present at the Audience:
I offer a warm welcome to the priests from the United States taking part in the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. My greeting also goes to the pilgrimage group from Saint Paul’s High School in Tokyo, Japan. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Japan and the United States, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!
Also on the Holy Father’s calendar for Wednesday evening was a traditional All Souls’ Day appointment: a period of silent prayer for his predecessors in the crypt beneath St Peter’s Basilica. The Solemnities of All Saints and All Souls begin a whole month dedicated especially to the pastoral concern for those who have died.