Speaking before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI recounted the Sunday readings and emphasized the universality of the Church’s mission. He called for the end of racism and encouraged people to reflect on hospitality as a “sign and instrument of communion among human beings” of every race and culture.
Addressing his audience from the balcony of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father cited the Book of Isaiah’s prophesy of a “house of prayer for all peoples,” the gospel story concerning the healing of a Canaanite woman’s daughter, and the “universality of salvation” taught in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
Pope Benedict expounded on the Church’s responsibility to society to overcome racism, intolerance and exclusion, noting “one of humanity’s greatest challenges today is to end racism.”
The Holy Father observed that many countries, as a result of social and economic problems, are experiencing protests linked to racial discrimination. He asked his audience to pray for the building of a “world built on authentic justice and true peace.”
The Holy Father also asked people to pray for those affected by automobile accidents. He said, “We should not accept this sad reality!” Pope Benedict stated that human life is precious, remarking, “It is unnecessary for man to die or to be injured as a result of something potentially avoidable.”
The Holy Father noted that accidents are often caused by reckless driving. He continued, “Driving a vehicle requires moral and civic sensibilities.” Pope Benedict said that Catholics “must examine their conscience for their conduct as drivers” and that society must educate drivers “to defend human life and to love their neighbor.”
The Holy Father concluded by entrusting these intentions to the maternal intercession of Mary.
After the Angelus, the Holy Father described how with “deep emotion” he had learned of the unforeseen death of the Bishop of Bolzano-Bressanone, Wilhelm Emil Egger. He noted that he had left the bishop only a few days before when the latter was apparently in good health. Saying Bishop Egger was appreciated and loved for his commitment and dedication, the Holy Father offered prayers for the bishop and offered his condolences to the bishop’s relatives and his entire diocese.
The Holy Father also directed these words towards the English-speaking pilgrims:
“I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Sunday Angelus prayer. In today’s Gospel Jesus invites us, after the example of the Canaanite woman, to profess our faith and our complete trust in God. He alone, through the power of his Word and his Holy Spirit, can touch our hearts and save us. May your stay in Castel Gandolfo and Rome draw you nearer to Christ, and may God bless you all!”