Naples, Fla., Oct 21, 2007 (CNA) - Tens of thousands of Neapolitans turned out today in pouring rain to hear the Pope’s words and show their support for him. Cries of “viva la Papa” (long live the Pope) could be heard as the he made his way in the Pope mobile to the Piazza del Plebiscito, where he celebrated Mass and recited the Angelus.
The Holy Father’s message for Naples was that its culture of violence must be overcome through political solutions and above all, by a spiritual renewal which is fueled by the “great force for transforming the world,” prayer.
Naples needs effective political solutions to fight against the mentality which draws young people into an underworld of illegal activities, but even more so it needs a deep spiritual renewal, the Pope said.
This renewal will come about through a formation of consciences which can transform people’s attitudes and ways of behaving. The indispensable key to this conversion is prayer: “The deepest expression of faith, which in silence can change the world and transform it into the kingdom of God,” the pontiff explained.
Pope Benedict also showed that he is aware of life outside of the better parts of Naples and provided some solutions for the circumstances of abject poverty that many Neapolitans find themselves in. In a move reminiscent of when Pope John Paul II spoke out against the Sicilian mafia, Benedict XVI also singled out the Camorra, the organized crime network in Naples for contributing to the city's corruption.
In his homily, the Pope said that it is crucial to immediately intervene to protect children who are at risk of being drawn into gangs and drug rings. He suggested supporting children in schools, organizing their free time and helping them find jobs.
The Holy Father challenged the Neapolitans to see that hope for a change in their city will take place. “The seeds of hope may be small but they can grow into large trees which can bear much fruit,” Benedict counseled. He concluded his homily by encouraging the faithful to “build on authentic faith which… can keep hope alive even in the most difficult situations.”
Naples, Fla., Oct 21, 2007 (CNA) - After celebrating an outdoor Mass at the Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples, the Pope met with Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox and Protestant leaders as well as the presidents of numerous African and Latin American countries and some Nobel Peace laureates. He reminded the assembled leaders that religions must never be exploited to promote hatred and violence.
According to Vatican Radio, the representatives of the world’s religions were in Naples to attend the 21st Saint Egidio International Peace Forum that has taken place over the last three days.
Addressing the religious leaders, Pope Benedict said, “Faced with a world torn by conflict, where the name of God is still used to justify violence, it is important to reiterate that religions must never be exploited to promote hatred and violence.” Rather, “religions can and must offer precious resources for the peaceful future of humanity.”
The Holy Father affirmed that the Catholic Church is committed to pursuing peace through dialogue. “The Catholic Church intends to continue follow the path of dialogue to encourage understanding between different cultures and religious traditions.” The Pope prayed that this spirit of dialogue, which was begun by Pope John Paul II at the first gathering for peace in Assisi, “will be spread especially in those areas of the world where tensions prevail, freedoms are denied, and where men and woman suffer the consequences of intolerance and incomprehension.”
Naples, Fla., Oct 21, 2007 (CNA) - At the conclusion of Holy Mass celebrated in the Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples, the Holy Father addressed a few words to the faithful before the recitation of the Angelus. He exhorted them to continue materially and spiritually supporting the missions.
He first greeted the delegation united in Naples from various parts of the world for the International Meeting for Peace, orgainized by the Community of Saint Egidio, which had as its theme: “For a world without violence – Religion and culture in dialogue.”
The Holy Father asked for prayers for this meeting, but especially for the World Missionary Day, which had as its theme “All the churches for all the world.”
Benedict XVI commented: “Every particular Church is co-responsible for the evangelization of all humanity, and this cooperation between the Churches was increased by Pope Pius XII with the Encyclical Fidei donum (the Gift of Faith), 50 years ago.”
Regarding the reliance of the missions on the support of those faithful who remain at home, the Pontiff stated: “Let us not be lacking in our spiritual and material support for those who work on the frontier of the missions: priests, religious, and laypeople, who often find grave difficulties, and even persecutions.”
Concluding his words before the angelus the Holy Father said: “We entrust these prayer intentions to Mary Most Holy, who in the month of October we love to invoke with the title with which she is invoked in the nearby Sanctuary of Popei: Queen of the Holy Rosary.”