Pope Francis remembers Ratzinger: “Moved and grateful to have had Benedict XVI”

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Pope Francis paid tribute to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who died this morning at the age of 95 (LIVE UPDATES – PHOTO STORY). Bergoglio, speaking of kindness during the Te Deum, observes: “At this moment, our thoughts spontaneously go to the dearest Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who left us this morning. With emotion we remember his person so noble, so kind. And we feel so much gratitude in my heart: gratitude to God for having given him to the Church and to the world; gratitude to him for all the good he has done, and above all for his testimony of faith and prayer, especially in these last years of his retired life” “Only God – says Bergoglio – knows the value and strength of his intercession, of his sacrifices offered for the good of the Church. This evening I would also like to re-propose kindness as a civic virtue, thinking in particular of our diocese of Rome” (ALL VIDEOS – THE SPECIAL).

Francis’ speech

“Kindness is an important factor in the culture of dialogue, and dialogue is indispensable for living in peace, as brothers and sisters who do not always get along – it is normal – but who nevertheless talk to each other, listen to each other and try to understand and let us think only of “what would the world be without the patient dialogue of so many generous people who have kept families and communities together”, Bergoglio said again, “Persevering and courageous dialogue does not make the news like clashes and conflicts, yet it discreetly helps the world to live better”. Well, kindness is part of the dialogue. It is not just a question of “etiquette”; it is not a question of “etiquette”, of gallant forms No, this is not what we mean here when speaking of kindness. Instead, it is a virtue to be recovered and exercised every day, to go against the tide and humanize our societies”. Today “the damages of consumerist individualism are there for all to see. And the most serious damage is that others, the people around us, are perceived as obstacles to our tranquillity, to our comfort. Others “inconvenience” us, disturb us, take away our time and resources to do what we like. The individualistic and consumerist society tends to be aggressive, because others are competitors to compete with”.

Kindness as an antidote

“Kindness is an antidote against certain pathologies of our societies: against cruelty, which unfortunately can insinuate itself like poison into the heart and intoxicate relationships; against anxiety and distracted frenzy that make us concentrate on ourselves and close us to others. These “diseases” of our daily life make us aggressive,” he continued. “However, thank God, there are still kind people, who know how to put their worries aside to pay attention to others, to offer a smile, a word of encouragement, to listen to someone who needs to confide in, to let off steam”.