.- Once Pope Benedict XVI’s flight to Africa was sufficiently underway yesterday, he took questions from reporters accompanying him on his trip. The Holy Father responded to the claim by some in the media that he is alone and isolated in his decisions, by calling it a "myth" and saying "I do not feel alone at all."
The first of several questions put to Benedict XVI concerned a theme being repeated by the news media that the Pope has been isolated by the sometimes controversial decisions he has made, in particular the recent lifting of four Lefebvrist bishops’ excommunications.
The journalist noted that especially since Pope Benedict wrote a letter to world’s Catholic bishops last week, "many newspapers speak of the 'solitude' of the Pope. What is your view on this? Do you really feel alone?"
The Pope replied that he in fact feels just the opposite. "To tell the truth I cannot help laughing a little about this myth of my solitude. I do not feel alone at all. Every day I hold meetings with my closest collaborators, first among them the secretary of State."
"I see all heads of the dicasteries regularly, each day I receive bishops on their ad limina visits: lately all the visits have been bishops, one after another, from Nigeria and from Argentina. We had two plenary assemblies--one of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the other of the Congregation for Clergy. We had some friendly discussions, [we are] a network of friends. Besides, my Mass companions from Germany came recently for a day to talk to me."
"Truly, I am surrounded by friends in a marvelous collaboration with bishops, with my collaborators, and with lay people, and I am grateful for this."