Pope credits name to Benedict XV and St. BenedictAt first public audience, Pope Benedict explains name
Vatican, Apr. 27 (CWNews.com) - At his first general public audience, on Wednesday, April 27, the Pope explained why he had chosen the name "Benedict."
Pope Benedict XVI also announced that he would continue the pattern set by Pope John Paul II (bio - news), delivering a brief catechetical address at each weekly public audience. In fact, he said, he plans to resume the series begun by his predecessor, who was offering meditations on the psalms and canticles of the Bible. At his next Wednesday audience, Benedict said, he will "begin precisely from where his [John Paul's] catechesis was interrupted" by his final illness.
The Pope appeared for about 90 minutes before a crowd of about 15,000 people who had gathered in a sunny St. Peter's Square. He began by making a slow tour through the square in his white Jeep, greeting and blessing the faithful, before taking his place in front of the Vatican basilica to make his prepared remarks-- which were repeatedly interrupted by applause. After delivering his address in Italian, he read summaries of the message in English, French, Spanish, and German. He also saluted different groups in the audience individually in their own languages, including Croatian, Slovenian, and Polish.
Pope Benedict told the audience that as he began his papal ministry, his sentiments were dominated by "awe and gratitude to God-- who surprised me more than anyone else by calling me to success Peter the apostle." He added that the "inner trepidation" he felt, because of the enormous responsibility of the papacy, was eased by the "serenity and joy from the certainty of God's help, that of his most holy Mother the Virgin Mary, and the patron saints." He repeated his request to the faithful for their prayerful support.
Explaining his choice of the name "Benedict," the Pontiff referred to his predecessor Pope Benedict XV, "a true and courageous prophet of peace," who sought first to avert World War I and later to limit the slaughter. "In his footsteps I place my ministry, in the service of reconciliation and harmony," the Pope said.
Next the Holy Father spoke the St. Benedict, the co-patron of Europe, and the founder of the religious order that "exercised an enormous influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the European continent." He stressed the importance of Europe's Christian patrimony, "which cannot be renounced," and asked for the intercession of St. Benedict to protect the Church and further her mission of evangelization.