At noon today the Pope received Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica, and those who work with him. Benedict told them that the basilica should continue to be a place which is totally oriented to the glory of Christ and the unity of the Church.
The Holy Father recalled how the chapter of the papal basilica of St. Peter's dates back to 1053, "when Pope Leo IX confirmed on the archpriest and canons of St. Peter's, who had taken up residence in the monastery of Santo Stefano Maggiore, the possessions and privileges granted by his predecessors."
Since its creation in the 11th century, those who care for the ministries of St. Peter’s have participated in various fields of activity, liturgical, administrative, pastoral and charitable. "From the 11th century until today 11 Popes have been part of the Vatican chapter, and among them I particularly wish to recall those of the 20th century, Pius XI and Pius XII."
Benedict XVI then went on to tell his listeners what he expects of them and the value of their contribution. He asked the chapter to continue “to recall with your prayerful presence at the tomb of Peter that nothing must be put before God; that the Church is entirely oriented towards Him, towards His glory; that the primacy of Peter is at the service of the unity of the Church, and that this unity is in its turn, at the service of the salvific plans of the Most Holy Trinity."
The Pope closed by encouraging those who work at the basilica to keep it a place of prayer. "I put great trust in you and in your ministry, that St. Peter's Basilica may be a true place of prayer, adoration and praise for the Lord. In this sacred place, where every day thousands of pilgrims and tourists arrive from all over the world, more than elsewhere it is necessary that ... there should be a stable community of prayer guaranteeing a continuity with tradition and, at the same time, interceding for the intentions of the Pope in the Church and the world today."