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The comfort of not being alone

· The Pope at the end of a lunch with Cardinals ·

The fifth anniversary of Benedict XVI's election as Pope was celebrated on Monday, 19 April. On this special day the Holy Father lunched in the Ducal Hall of the Apostolic Palace with 46 Cardinals and several members and collaborators of the Roman Curia

Seated at table with the Pope were Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins and Cardinal Jozef Tomko.

At the end of the lunch, Cardinal Sodano spoke to the Pope expressing his good wishes on behalf of all: “Ad multos annos, ad multos felicissimos annos!”.

The Holy Father thanked the College of Cardinals for the help he receives from them day after day, especially at this time when St Augustine's words, cited by the Second Vatican Council, seem to be confirmed and the Church seems a pilgrim inter persecutiones mundi et consolationem Dei.

In this regard the Pope also mentioned the Church's sins, recalling that as wounded and sinful she has an even greater experience of God's consolations.

The College of Cardinals in particular is a great comfort to the Pope. In the Church, the Holy Father explained, there are two principles, one personal and the other communal. The Pope has a personal responsibility that he cannot delegate; the Bishop is surrounded by his priests.

However, the Pope is surrounded by the College of Cardinals which, to borrow an Eastern term, might be called, as it were, a “synod”, the permanent body that helps, accompanies and supports him in his work.

And it was this special closeness that the Pontiff felt at that moment and he thanked the Lord for it, invoking, to be able to continue on his way, the power of faith in the joy of the Resurrection.

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