Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
March 24, 2011 // Uncategorized

World needs peacemakers strengthened by faith, pope says at audience

Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The world needs peace and it needs peacemakers who are strengthened by faith and committed to promoting reconciliation among peoples, Pope Benedict XVI said.

During his weekly general audience at the Vatican March 23, the pope continued his series of audience talks about the doctors of the church, focusing on St. Lawrence of Brindisi, an Italian Capuchin and famed preacher.

Pope Benedict said the priest, who served as a military chaplain at the beginning of the 1600s, “applied himself heroically to efforts toward peace and reconciliation between the nations and peoples of Europe.”

“The moral authority he enjoyed made him an adviser who was much sought after and listened to,” the pope said.

“Today, just as in the time of St. Lawrence, the world needs peace, it needs peaceful and pacifying men and women. All those who believe in God must always be sources of peace and peacemakers,” Pope Benedict told an estimated 10,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the first outdoor audience of the spring.

The pope said St. Lawrence had a great gift for languages and spoke German and French in addition to Italian and to the classic languages: Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Syrian.

But his linguistic skills were not the key to his success in politics and in evangelization, the pope said.

Although he held positions of great importance and had a heavy workload, “Lawrence cultivated a spiritual life of exceptional fervor, dedicating much time to prayer and especially to the celebration of the holy Mass, which often would last for hours.”

The pope said St. Lawrence knew large sections of the Bible by heart and would spend hours each day praying with the Scriptures.

He was convinced that “listening to and accepting the word of God would produce an interior transformation that would lead to holiness,” Pope Benedict said.

“Today, too, the church needs well-prepared, zealous and courageous apostles for the new evangelization so that the light and beauty of the Gospel would prevail over the cultural currents of ethical relativism and religious indifference,” the pope said.

At the end of the audience, Pope Benedict spoke briefly with a Canadian aboriginal leader, Grand Chief David Harper of Manitoba’s Keewatinowi Okimakanak people.

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Editor’s Note: The text of the pope’s audience remarks in English is posted online at:

The text of the pope’s audience remarks in Spanish is posted online at:

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