Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pope Says Hope Still Strong in France

Affirms Church Is Where to Find Promises of Eternal Life

PARIS, SEPT. 13, 2008 ( Though some speak of Europe turning its back on Christianity, Benedict XVI today in Paris affirmed that hope will continue to be stronger than all else.

The Pope spoke of hope in his homily at a Mass celebrated at the Esplanade des Invalides, which gathered some 260,000 people.

"Hope will always remain stronger than all else," he said. "The Church, built upon the rock of Christ, possesses the promises of eternal life, not because her members are holier than others, but because Christ made this promise to Peter: 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.'"

Leading up to the Pope's visit, which is underway through Monday, the press published statistics about the decline of religious practice among the French.

In this context, the Holy Father told them: "In this unfailing hope in God's eternal presence to the souls of each of us, in this joy of knowing that Christ is with us until the end of time, in this power that the Holy Spirit gives to all those who let themselves be filled with him, I entrust you, dear Christians of Paris and France, to the powerful and merciful action of the God of love who died for us upon the cross and rose victorious on Easter morning."

French Prime Minister François Fillon was among those who attended the Mass. The Pope was joined by some 90 cardinals and bishops and 1,500 priests. A choir of 1,200 voices led the songs.

The offerings were presented by members of Aux Captifs La Libération (To Captives, Freedom) an association dedicated to caring for those who live on the street.

And Benedict XVI left a demanding message: "Do not be afraid," he said, directing himself especially to youth who hear the call to consecrated or priestly life. "Do not be afraid to give your life to Christ.

"Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests at the heart of the Church. Nothing will ever replace a Mass for the salvation of the world."

No comments: