At a Thursday meeting of organizations dedicated to providing aid to the Eastern Churches, Pope Benedict XVI reiterated his call for an end to war, violence and injustice in the Holy Land and pledged the Church's continued support.
The audience with the Holy Father involved participants in the annual general meeting of the Reunion of Organizations for Aid to the Oriental Churches (ROACO). The meeting had focused on the situation in the Holy Land and on the Catholic Church in Bulgaria.
Pope Benedict began his speech to the group by reflecting on charity, which he called “the fertile source of all forms of service to the Church.” Charity is the measure, method and means by which one can verify these services, he said.
The members of ROACO, the Pope said, are able to “continue, even to augment, that 'movement of charity which, by papal mandate, the Congregation supervises so that, in a disciplined and equitable way, the Holy Land and other eastern regions may receive the spiritual and material support necessary for ordinary ecclesial life and for special needs."
Recalling his pilgrimage to the Holy Land this past May, Benedict XVI stated, "I renew my prayer and my appeal for no more war, no more violence, no more injustice.”
The Pontiff also gave his assurance that “the Universal Church remains at the side of all our brothers and sisters who reside in the Holy Land. This concern is reflected in a special way in the annual Holy Land collection. I therefore exhort your ROACO agencies to continue their charitable activities with zeal and with fidelity to the Successor of Peter."
At the end of the audience the Pope turned his attention to the recently inaugurated Year for Priests, calling upon his audience "to give maximum attention to caring for clergy and supporting seminaries."
He also recalled how, in inaugurating this Jubilee Year on June 19, "I entrusted all the priests of the world to the Heart of Christ and of Mary Immaculate, with a special thought for those who, in both East and West are experiencing moments of difficulty and trial. I take this occasion," he concluded, "to ask you too to pray for priests."