.- On Saturday, Pope Benedict held a meeting with a group of the most prominent prelates in the Vatican, saying that, "I have come here with no written speech, but with a sense of vibrant gratitude in my heart, and with the intention to learn.” The meeting, held with Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, the substitute for General Affairs, Archbisbop Leonardo Sandri, the secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, their assistants and all the collaborators in both the First and Second Sections of the Secretariat of State, was a chance for the Pope to collaborate with his advisors and learn from their experience.
Cardinal Sodano spoke in the name of all officials present as well as of those who work in pontifical representations throughout the world. Afterward, the Holy Father spoke in off-the-cuff remarks, saying, “I am slowly learning something about the structure of the Secretariat of State, especially as each day a pile of documentation arrives, of work done in this Secretariat of State.”
“And so I see,” he said, “from the variety, density and even competency concealed in this work - just how much is done here in these offices."
The Pope continued: "If we think of the great international administrations - for example the European administration, and Msgr. Lajolo has told me the number of employees who work there - we truly are a small number.”
“The fact”, he said, “that such a reduced number of people does such an immense task for the Universal Church does great honor to the Holy See. This large job done by a small number of people shows the assiduousness and dedication with which the work is actually done."
The Pope noted that, "We do not work - as many people say of work - to defend power. We do not have a secular, earthly power. We do not work for prestige, we do not work to see a company grow or anything of that nature.”
“We work, in fact,” he said, “so that the paths of the world may be open to Christ. And in the end all our work, with all its ramifications, serves precisely so that the Gospel, and thus the joy of the Redemption, can reach the world.”
“We become”, the Holy Father stressed, “collaborators of the Truth, in other words, of Christ in His action in the world, in order that the world may truly become the Kingdom of God."
He concluded noting, "I can, then, simply say a big thank you. Together we undertake the service that is proper for Peter's Successor, the 'Petrine service,' that of confirming our brothers and sister in faith."