En route to Mexico, Pope Benedict XVI spoke with journalists travelling with him aboard the Papal plane. Responding to a question regarding his spirits at the outset of the six-day visit to Latin America, especially in view of the first leg of the visit, to Mexico, the Holy Father said, “It is for me a great joy, one that responds to a desire I have had for a long time.” To describe his sentiments, the Holy Father said, “the words of the II Vatican Council come to mind: gaudium et spes, luctus et angor – joy and hope, but also grief and anguish. I share the joys and the hopes, and I also share the griefs and the difficulties of the great nation [of Mexico].” The Holy Father went on to say, “I am going to encourage and to learn, to comfort in Faith, Hope and Charity, to console with commitment to the good and to the struggle against evil.”
Asked what role the Church has in combating the scourge of drug trafficking and drug-related violence in Mexico, Pope Benedict said, “We know well the beauties of Mexico, but also this enormous problem of narcotics trafficking and violence. It is certainly a great responsibility for the Catholic Church, in a country in which 80 percent of the people are Catholic. We must work against this evil, which is destructive of mankind and [especially] of our youth.” The Pope went on to say, “[T]he first task is to proclaim God: God the judge, God who loves us but loves us [in order to pull us] toward the good, toward truth and away from evil. The Church’s great responsibility, therefore, is to educate consciences, to educate in the moral responsibility and to unmask evil, to unmask this idolatry of money that enslaves men; to expose these false promises, lies, deceits – we must see that humanity needs the Infinite.”
Speaking in response to a question focused on the second, Cuban leg of the trip, the Pope said, “With this visit a way of cooperation and dialogue has been inaugurated – a long road that requires patience, but that leads forward.” The Pope added, “It is evident today that Marxist ideology as it had been conceived no longer responds to reality.” He said, “new models must be found, though with patience.”
Addressing the broader context of Latin America, which is celebrating two centuries of independence, the Pope said, “Naturally, the Church must always ask herself whether enough is being done for social justice on this great continent.” Pope Benedict wen on to say, “The Church is not a political power, not a party, but a moral reality, a moral power.”
Pope Benedict XVI sends message to the UK
23/03/2012 3:15 pm
Pope Benedict XVI has sent a telegram to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the people of the United Kingdom as he flies over UK airspace to Mexico for the first leg of his Latin American trip.
In the short message, the Holy Father assures the British people of “a special remembrance in my prayers”.
Pope Benedict wrote to the the heads of state of the countries he was scheduled to fly over as he made his way to South America.
As well as the UK, the Holy Father sent telegrams to Italy, France, Ireland, Greenland (Denmark), Canada, and the United States.
Message to the United Kingdom
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
As my journey to Mexico and Cuba takes me over the United Kingdom, I avail myself of the occasion to send cordial greetings to Your Majesty and to assure you and all the British people of a special remembrance in my prayers.
Benedictus pp. XVI