At the conclusion of a lunch with Church leaders in Milan on June 3, Pope Benedict XVI said that despite the hostility Catholics face worldwide, God holds the faithful close to himself.
“If from time to time we may think that the Ship of Peter is at the mercy of ruthless adversaries, it is also true that we see that the Lord is present,” the Pope said.
“He is alive, he truly rose again and holds the government of the world and the heart of mankind in his hand.”
The pontiff was in Milan for the 7th World Meeting of Families, which more than one million people from over 150 countries attended.
In his brief, improvised remarks, the Pope said: “I simply want to say thank you for everything I have been able to experience over these days, for this experience of the living Church.”
“This experience of the living Church, which lives from the love of God, which lives for the risen Christ has been, let us say, the gift of these days,” he added. “Thus let us give thanks to the Lord.”
During lunch, Pope Benedict XVI was also greeted by the current Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, and his predecessor, Cardinla Dionigi Tettamanzi, who gave the Holy Father a copy of the Ambrosian Book of Gospels cover, designed by Italian artists and featuring an icon representing heaven.