2007-03-03 15:00:29

Pope Benedict pays homage to Paul VI

(March 3, 2007) Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday paid homage to his predecessor Pope Paul VI saying Divine Providence had provided the Church with an intrepid guide at a time when there were numerous challenges and problems. Pope Benedict’s observation came in an address he delivered to some 30 members of the Paul VI Institute of the northern Italian city of Brescia that specialized in the study of the teachings of the late pope. The group gifted the Pope with a copy of all the works it has published in over 25 years. Expressing his admiration for his predecessor, Pope Benedict said that with an expert yet firm hand Paul VI concluded the Second Vatican Council which was begun by Pope John XXIII. The post-conciliar period, he observed, wasn’t less arduous either. Even though he had to face sufferings and at time violent attacks, he did not allow himself to be conditioned by misunderstandings and criticisms; but remained a firm and prudent helmsman of the boat of Peter in every occasion. Holding firm to his love for Christ and his teachings, he at times adopted difficult and unpopular decisions. Fired by a missionary zeal, Pope Benedict said his predecessor undertook important ecclesial, missionary and ecumenical journeys to distant nations, stressing that he was the first Pope to visit the Holy Land. With the passing of time, Pope Benedict added, it became more evident how his pontificate was important, both for the world and for the church. Pope Benedict received the group from Paul VI Institute at the end of his weeklong spiritual retreat that he concluded on Saturday morning.

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