Benedict XVI Asks: Is the Church a Place of Hope?

Highlights Goodness Amid Darkness

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MUNICH, Germany, MAY 16, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is affirming that despite the «weeds» in the Church, there is still hope, because in it the Lord continually gives himself to us.

The Pope stated this in a German-language message, publicized Saturday by the Vatican, which was sent to participants in an ecumenical congress that began Wednesday and ended today in Munich.

This «Oecumenische Kirchentag,» which gathered members of the German Christian churches, Catholic and Protestant, is the second of its kind. The first took place in 2003 in Berlin.

The Pontiff noted the gathering’s motto, «So That You Might have Hope.»

«You want to send a signal of hope to the Church and to society at a difficult time,» he said. «I thank you very much for this.»

«In recent months we have had to be repeatedly confronted with news that could take away the Church’s joy, that darkened it as a place of hope,» the Holy Father acknowledged.

He recalled, «In his impassioned dispute with God over sparing the city of Sodom, Abraham obtained assurance from the Lord of the Universe that if there were ten just people there he would not destroy the city.»

Benedict XVI added, «Thanks be to God, in our cities there are many more than ten just people!»

Pure and generous

He affirmed, «If we are more attentive today, if we do not see only darkness, but also the light and good in our time, we see how faith has made men pure and generous and educates them in love.»

«The weeds are also present within in the Church and among those whom the Lord has welcomed into his service in a special way,» the Pope observed, «but God’s light has not been extinguished; the good seed has not been destroyed by the bad seed.»

He asked, «Is the Church a place of hope?»

The Pontiff answered: «Yes, since from it the Word of God comes to us again and again and always, the Word that purifies us and shows us the path of faith.

«It is because in it the Lord continues to give us himself, in the grace of the sacraments, in the word of reconciliation, in the many gifts of his contemplation.

«Nothing can obscure or destroy all of that.»

The Holy Father pointed out, «We must be joyful for this in the midst of all tribulations.»

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