Presiding over the recitation of the Sunday Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI commemorated all the faithful departed, explained the meaning of Christian hope, and called for evangelization about the reality of death and eternal life, so that Christian truth does not mix with "various types of mythologies."
"Today, with our souls directed to this reality, finally we commemorate all the faithful departed who have preceded us with the sign of faith and now rest in peace," said the Pope. He stressed the importance that Christians "live their relationship with the dead in the truth of the faith, and look at death, and what lies beyond, in the light of revelation."
"It is also necessary today to evangelize about the reality of death and eternal life, a reality particularly subject to superstitious beliefs and syncretism, so that the Christian truth is not jeopardized by mixing with mythology of all kinds," said the Pontiff.
He also noted the question of whether the men and women of our time still want eternal life.
“Perhaps earthly existence has become their only horizon?” he asked.
The Holy Father recalled that the "blessed life" is a hope common to "men of all times and all places" and said that Christian hope "is not only individual but is always hope for others. Our lives are profoundly united with each other, and good and evil that everyone does always affects others.”
As pilgrim souls in the world, Pope Benedict noted that our prayers can "help other souls who are being purified after death. This is why the Church invites us to pray for our beloved dead and to visit their graves in cemeteries.”
“Mary, star of hope, make stronger and more authentic our faith in eternal life and join our prayer of suffrage for the faithful departed, "he prayed.
After the Marian prayer of the Angelus and the response for the faithful departed, Benedict XVI greeted all the faithful in several languages. In English, he said:
“I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. Today, All Souls Day, the Church commemorates the faithful departed and invites us, the living, to pray for their eternal repose in the peace of Christ’s Kingdom. Let us pray in a special way not only for our loved ones who have died, but also for all those who count on the charity of our prayers. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s abundant blessings!”
As is traditional, this afternoon the Pope will conduct a private visit to the Vatican grottoes to pray for the Popes buried there and for the souls of all the dead.