How the Pope Sees the Pope's Mission

Benedict XVI Reflects on Role as Successor of Peter

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FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 13, 2010 ( Benedict XVI today reflected with the bishops of Portugal on the role he carries as the Successor of Peter, saying a pope must live for the presence of God in the world.

The Holy Father’s address today to bishops gathered in Fatima gave him a chance to speak of his mission in a way he’s not done during these five years as Pontiff.

He said that as the Successor of Peter, he came to Fatima to pay a «debt of gratitude to the Virgin Mary» who in her appearances in Portugal transmitted «an intense love for the Holy Father which has borne fruit in a great multitude which prays, with Jesus as its guide: Peter, ‘I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.'» 

Meditating on his mission, he said that «the Pope needs to open himself ever more fully to the mystery of the cross, embracing it as the one hope and the supreme way to gain and to gather in the Crucified One all his brothers and sisters in humanity.»

He added, «Obeying the word of God, he is called to live not for himself but for the presence of God in the world.»

In this regard, he echoed the idea he expressed on the plane to Portugal, in which he reflected on the meaning of the Fatima message.

«[T]here is seen,» he told the journalist on the plane, «the need for a passion of the Church, which naturally is reflected in the person of the Pope, yet the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is sufferings of the Church that are announced. The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world.»

Benedict XVI also affirmed he is comforted by the «determination with which [the Portuguese bishops] too follow me closely, fearing nothing except the loss of eternal salvation for your people.»

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Full text of address to bishops:

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