The Holy Father has "never been inert in the face of suffering and injustice," the President of the Italian Senate said as he reflected on the impact of the five years of Benedict XVI's time as Pope. The politician noted that the Pope has opted to "face the wolves" rather than avoid addressing difficulties such as cases of priests who sexually abuse minors.
The address from the leader of the Italian Senate, Renato Schifani, took place during a Wednesday evening presentation organized by the Congregation of the Children of the Immaculate Conception, which was themed "The world suffers for a lack of thought."
Likening the Holy Father to the "messenger" of the Gospel, the image of the pastor and the fisherman, Schifani said that "Benedict XVI really knows that loving means being ready to suffer, and as pastor he gives witness to (Him) who has truly made history with men."
The day after his election, noted Schifani, the Pope asked for prayers for strength to confront "the wolves."
Reflecting on the Pope's attitude since then, Schifani observed that, "Facing the hidden dangers, the betrayals, the scandals, the open and painful wounds of the Church, Benedict XVI doesn't flee out of fear before the wolves."
In the current climate, which sees "the dismay and the sense of betrayal that 'sinful and criminal acts' have produced in the whole world and all of the Church, Benedict XVI has expressed openly ... the shame and remorse that we all feel," the senator said.
The Pope has "condemned the silence of the 'mute dogs' of our time," has not limited himself merely to indignation at the suffering of victims of sexual abuse but has shared in their pain and has addressed the issue "without reserve and with strong words."
"Joseph Ratzinger has never been inert in the face of suffering and injustice, but is a pastor that doesn't leave 'survivors without an audience,'" never opting to remain indifferent or to take the easy way out, the senator said.
Amidst attempts to create a climate of "moral panic" in recent months, Schifani continued, the Pope has responded with "evangelical meekness," not responding to insults or taking vengeance, but only "entrusting himself to He who judges with justice."
Schifani added later that there will be a day in the future when "the free women and men of our time will be able to say of him, ' in the middle of that violent storm, he maintained trust and hope and transmitted them also to his travel companions. From that shipwreck ... was born a fervent and solid Christian community."