In Brindisi, Pope Benedict XVI Appeals for Co-operation Toward Peace


(15 Jun 08 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI today offered anew the Christian message of cooperation and peace among all peoples, especially among those of the Near and Middle East.

The Holy Father made his appeal in remarks before the Sunday Angelus prayer, which on this 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time he prayed with the faithful of Brindisi, on "the heel of the boot" in the extreme southeast of Italy, at the end of an open-air Mass on the waterfront, overlooking the port of the ancient city where the Roman poet, Vergil, breathed his last, and where it is said St. Peter and St. Paul disembarked on their journey to bring the Gospel to Rome, the capital of the world.

Quoting from his recent address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Pope Benedict said, "The action of the international community and its institutions, provided that it respects the principles under-girding the international order, should never be interpreted as an unwarranted imposition or a limitation of sovereignty. On the contrary, it is indifference or failure to intervene that do the real damage. What is needed is a deeper search for ways of pre-empting and managing conflicts by exploring every possible diplomatic avenue, and giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation.

During his homily in Brindisi, Pope Benedict spoke of the two-fold Christian vocation to holiness and mission, which is present from the beginning of salvation history and given perfectly to the 12 disciples, whose calling by Jesus was the dramatic core of this Sunday's Gospel.

In the afternoon, the Holy Father met with the priests of Brindisi-Ostuni in the Cathedral, church of St. John the Baptist.

Pope Benedict encouraged them to place themselves ever more completely in the service of the Gospel, saying, "Christ, to whom you have consecrated your lives, is with you! He is the one in whom we all believe, to him alone do we entrust our lives, it is he, whom we desire to proclaim to the world!

The Holy Father also congratulated the archdiocese on the newly-opened seminary, which today was officially named after Pope Benedict XVI.

The Pope said the seminary is a sign of the present and the future of the diocese, representing as it does the culmination of years of work, and at the same time, the guarantee that, because of the generous and patient work to be done in it, the Christian communities shall never be without shepherds of souls, teachers of faith, zealous guides and witnesses to Christ's charity.

Pope Benedict went on to say the seminary is not only the place where new priests are formed: it is also a place for the continuing formation and education of young people and adults who desire to be of service to the cause of the Kingdom.

The accurate formation of seminarians and the continuing education of priests and other pastoral workers are of the first concern to the bishop, to whom God has entrusted the mission of guiding, as a wise pastor, the People of God who are here in this city.