Pope Benedict XVI : the mission of the Church to bring Christ to all mankindCastel Gandolfo, Aug. 25, 2008 - At his Angelus audience on Sunday, August 24, Pope Benedict XVI said that the mission of the Church-- to bring Christ to all mankind-- should never be identified with any nation or culture.
In his remarks to the crowd gathered in the courtyard of the apostolic palace at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father reflected on the day's Gospel reading, with Peter's profession of faith and Jesus' reply: "You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church."
"This is the first time that Jesus speaks of the Church," the Pope observed. As he gives Peter the commission to lead the Church, Jesus also indicates the purpose of the Petrine ministry: to build up the Church by protecting against division-- by serving as the one rock upon which the Christian community is founded.
The Pope told his audience that he felt the weight of this responsibility, and asked for the prayers of the faithful to help him with his duties. He underlined the importance of bringing Christ's offer of salvation to all of the world's people. "What blessings mankind would receive by accepting this offer, which brings joy and peace," the Pope said.
After leading the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father turned his attention to the international scene, remarking sadly on "a deeply worrisome rise in tensions" and a "progressive deterioration in the climate of trust and cooperation among nations." In what appeared to be a reference to the violence in South Ossetia he warned against a new rise of nationalism, reminding his audience that nationalism has produced "tragic consequences" in other cases.
Despite the dangers of current world events, the Pope said, "we must not give in to pessimism!" He urged recognition of "the moral force of law," and "fair and transparent negotiations" to resolve international tensions.
Above all, the Pope said, world leaders must resist "the temptation to meet new situations with old systems." To underscore his meaning he added: "Violence must be repudiated."
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