Pope moved by Africa's 'profound sense of sacred'

 Returning to Rome after his trip to Cameroon and Angola, Pope Benedict said he had been particularly impressed by the "delight" of a "rejoicing Africa" and the sense of the sacred in the continent.

Speaking to reporters on his flight home, Pope Benedict said that during the course of his visit he had been particularly impressed by "this almost exuberant cordiality, this delight, of a rejoicing Africa."

"I felt they saw in the Pope ... the personification of the fact that we are the children and the family of God," he said.

"This family exists and we, with all our limitations, are part of it, and God is with us. ... I was also moved by the spirit of meditative absorption in liturgy, the powerful sense of the sacred; in the liturgies there was no self-presentation of groups, no self-animation, but the presence of the sacred, of God Himself; even the movements were always movements of respect and awareness of the divine presence."

"I was also profoundly affected by the death of two girls during the stampede of people entering the Stadio dos Coqueiros, on Saturday. I prayed, and continue to pray, for them," Pope Benedict said. "All of us pray and hope that in the future things may be organised in such a way that this does not happen again."

"I conserve a special memory of the Cardinal Leger Centre. It touched my heart to see a world of so much suffering, all the suffering, sadness and poverty of human existence; but also to see how State and Church work together to help those who suffer.

"It is, I believe, evident that by helping the suffering man becomes more human, the world becomes more human."

Pope Benedict also mentioned his meeting with members of the Special Council for Africa, twelve bishops who spoke to me of the situation in their local Churches, their proposals, their expectations.

"There emerged a detailed picture of the situation of the Church in Africa, how she moves, how she suffers, what she does, what are her hopes, her problems," the Pope said.

"There is much I could say, for example the Church in South Africa, which has gone through a difficult but substantially successful experience of reconciliation, now uses her experiences in an attempt at reconciliation in Burundi, and she seeks to do something similar, though facing enormous difficulties, in Zimbabwe," he concluded.

Source: VIS

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