New Pope Benedict says ‘John Paul left us a Church that is more courageous, freer, younger’

New Pope Benedict says ‘John Paul left us a Church that is more courageous, freer, younger’

.- Earlier today, newly elected Pope Benedict XVI, formerly, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger delivered his first homily at a Mass in the Sistine Chapel with the gathered College of Cardinals.

In it, he expressed his great affection for the late Pope John Paul II and noted his profound influence on the modern Church.

“It seems”, he said, “I can feel his strong hand squeezing mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and listen to his words, addressed to me especially at this moment: 'Do not be afraid!'”

He said that John Paul left “us a Church that is more courageous, freer, younger. A Church that, according to his teaching and example, looks with serenity to the past and is not afraid of the future.”

Both Ratzinger and then Karol Wojtyla were key architects of the Second Vatican Council. In this vein, Pope Benedict noted that, “With the Great Jubilee the Church was introduced into the new millennium carrying in her hands the Gospel, applied to the world through the authoritative re-reading of Vatican Council II.”

“Pope John Paul II”, he said, “justly indicated the Council as a 'compass' with which to orient ourselves in the vast ocean of the third millennium. Also in his spiritual testament he noted: ' I am convinced that for a very long time the new generations will draw upon the riches that this council of the 20th century gave us'.”

He added that, “In the hour of death, conformed to his Master and Lord, John Paul II crowned his long and fruitful pontificate, confirming the Christian people in faith, gathering them around him and making the entire human family feel more united.”

With some trepidation, the new pope noted that he steps into the shoes of John Paul and the Apostle Peter, the first pope, before him.

Noting the “sense of inadequacy” within him in his new role, Pope Benedict XVI expressed with confidence his “profound gratitude to God Who - as the liturgy makes us sing - does not abandon His flock, but leads it throughout time, under the guidance of those whom He has chosen as vicars of His Son, and made pastors.”

> Read the whole homily at:

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