Pope says Catholics must trust in God's plans for the world

Benedict XVI told some 45,000 people gathered in St Peter's Square at his general audience to trust that Jesus is leading his Church and that God has his own plans for transforming the world.

Catholic News Service reports that the Pope focused his remarks on the personality of the "prince of the apostles."

Speaking without a text at the end of his prepared remarks, the Pope said: "It seems to be that the various conversions of Peter - his whole being - are a great consolation and lesson for us."

Like St Peter, he said, "we desire God and we, too, want to be generous, but we also expect God to be strong in the world and transform the world immediately according to our own ideas and the needs we see."

However, the Pope said, "God chooses a different path: God chooses the path of transforming hearts in suffering and humility."

In his main text, Pope Benedict said the Gospels make clear that St Peter was slow to understand that Jesus' role as Messiah was not to use power to bring social or political change.

And when Jesus told the disciples that he would suffer and die to redeem humanity, the Pope said, St Peter "was scandalised and protested."

"This is the great alternative that we, too, must keep learning: to give priority to one's own expectations, pushing Jesus away, or to accept Jesus in the truth of his mission and set aside expectations that are too human," he said.

Pope Benedict said, "Peter says to us: 'You think you have the recipe for the transformation of Christianity, but it is the Lord who knows the way.'"

St Peter's lesson for Christians of all time, the Pope said, is that they always must trust Jesus because he is the way, the truth and the life.

At the end of the audience, Pope Benedict greeted Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Moscow with a big smile and warm embrace. The archbishop brought 150 pilgrims from Moscow to visit the Vatican and Rome.

The pilgrims, forming the largest group to date organised by the Catholic Church in Russia, brought Pope Benedict an 18th-century Russian icon and handmade liturgical vestments.

Pope says Catholics must trust in God's plans for the world (Catholic News Service 17/5/06)

General Audience: Peter's spiritual journey (Vatican Information Service 17/5/06 - temporary url)
Prayers for Polish trip, rosary in month of the Virgin Mary (Vatican Information Service 17/5/06 - temporary url)
Like Peter we should realise that Jesus, not us, transforms the world, Pope says (AsiaNews.it 17/5/06)
Meeting the Pope was a "dream come true" for Russian pilgrims (AsiaNews.it 17/5/06)
German-born Pope Benedict's visit to Poland will be pastoral, personal (Catholic News Service/Catholic Online 17/5/06)
Peter invites us to "great adventure" of following Christ says Pope (Catholic News Agency 17/5/06)
Pope Benedict asks for prayers for forthcoming trip to Poland (Catholic News Agency 17/5/06)
Pope Stresses Unions Between Men and Women (Associated Press/The Christian Post 17/5/06)
Pope schedules meeting with #2 Russian prelate (Catholic World News 17/5/06)
Pope probes personality of St. Peter (Catholic World News 17/5/06)
Benedict XVI General Audience - text (17/5/06)
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18 May 2006