.- Earlier today, Pope Benedict presided at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica commemorating deceased cardinals and bishops, and noted that during November in particular, the Church must pray and offer "its redeeming sacrifice for the souls of the deceased faithful."
Members of the College of Cardinals concelebrated with the Holy Father, as he remembered cardinals, archbishops and bishops who had died within the course of the last year.
Specifically recalling his predecessor, the late John Paul II, Pope Benedict affirmed how "he left us, among other shining examples, that most precious example of prayer. At this time too, we take up his spiritual heritage, in the knowledge that his intervention continues even more intensely from heaven."
The Pope also specifically named five cardinals who have died over the last twelve months: Juan Carlos Aramburu, Jan Pieter Schotte, Corrado Bafile, Jaime Sin and Giuseppe Caprio, saying that, "Today, together with their souls, we entrust to the Lord those of the archbishops and bishops who, over the same period, concluded their earthly journey."
A reading from the book of Sirach was chosen to commemorate the dead, which the Holy Father said, "contains first an exhortation to constancy under trial then an invitation to trust in God."
He added that, "Whoever puts himself at the service of the Lord and passes his life in ecclesial ministry is not exempt from trials, on the contrary he faces the most insidious ordeals, as the experience of the saints amply shows.”
“But living in fear of God”, he pointed out, “frees the heart from all fear and immerses it in the depths of His love."
"Whoever trusts in Jesus”, continued the Pope, “places his faith in God Himself. ... We human beings need a friend, a brother to take us by the hand and accompany us to 'the Father's house,' we need someone who knows the way well."
"Jesus is the way open to everyone,” he said, there is no other. And those that appear as 'other' ways, in as much as they are authentic lead back to Him, otherwise they do not bring life.
While pointing out that “it is, then, a priceless gift that the Father gave humanity sending His only-begotten Son”, he said that “This gift brings a responsibility, which is greater the closer the relationship with Jesus."
The Pope concluded saying that "As we give thanks to God for all the benefits He granted our late confreres, for them we offer the merits of Jesus' passion and death to compensate for shortcomings due to human frailty."