Focolare President, Members to Say Farewell at Audience

Non-Christians, Non-Believers Speak of Pope’s Legacy

Numerous members of the Focolare Movement, as well as its president, Maria Voce, and General Council, will attend Benedict XVI’s last general audience on Wednesday, to express their gratitude and closeness to him.

In a letter to the worldwide movement, Voce suggests that the members see in Benedict XVI’s resignation “a call from God to a new and greater measure of unity.”

Expressions of appreciation and support for Benedict XVI from adherents of the Focolare Movement who are not members of the Catholic Church have poured in. Galia, an Orthodox believer of Moscow, said: “I have felt sorrow and the sensation of a great loss. I hope that this step of Benedict XVI will be an example of love for the new Pope which does not fear sacrifice.” Ali, a Moroccan Muslim, wrote: “We are losing someone who worked for the peace and unity of the world.” Abdou, an Algerian Muslim said: “An act of this importance is of an originality that has no equal. It must serve as an example to the whole of humanity.” Racim, also an Algerian Muslim, said: “I would like to thank him for all that he has given. I hope the next Pope will always have the same look of fraternity, of openness to other beliefs, to build a world of universal fraternity.”

Metta, a Buddhist from Thailand, said: “Having lived with Catholic brethren, I have understood profoundly that the essence of this ministry is spiritual, but that there are also so many capacities and competencies. I will be with him and with other Christians through my prayer, also for the election of the next Pontiff, so that the Church will continue for the good of humanity.”

Among the friends of non-religious convictions, Italian Armando said: “I have appreciated the Pope’s humility and his sincere references to the cause of the resignations and the difficulties present in the Church.” Luan and Donika of Albania said: “We hope that the future Pontiff will continue in the line of openness to other Christian confessions and other religions, as well as to persons of different convictions.”