Several Italian media outlets, including some that are not usually friendly to the Holy Father, have acknowledged that Pope Benedict XVI’s discourse to the Italian bishops this weekend showed that the Pope is surprisingly familiar with the complex Italian reality.
The Italian daily “Avvenire titled its article, “He talks about Italy as if he knew it better than us,” which summarized reaction of the local press to the Pope’s discourse to the Italian bishops in which he addressed not only the numerous pastoral challenges that the Italian bishops are facing, but also the historic role of Catholicism in the building of the nation and the right of the Church to participate in the public square and the building of society. “This is no longer a new Pope. Benedict XVI speaks to the Italian bishops as one who feels a part of this Church, of which he is the Primate, in addition to being the Pontiff,” according to the article, written by Dino Boffo. “He knows it even on personal level,” he added.
Boffo praised the Pope for seeing things “that we Italians don’t see” and for encouraging the bishops to face the difficulties of a culture that is increasingly secularized.
Boffo concludes his article noting how recently the President of Italy strongly urged that the Church’s voice be heeded. “It was a warning that certainly becomes more significant after the meeting yesterday with the Italian bishops,” he wrote.