Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — “We are on the Lord’s team, the winning team,” Pope Benedict XVI told members of the College of Cardinals at the end of a luncheon he hosted to thank them for their friendship and support.
At the end of the meal in the frescoed Sala Ducale of the Apostolic Palace May 21, the pope told the cardinals that St. Augustine once described history as “a battle between two loves,” love for oneself and love for God.
“In this battle it is very important to have friends,” the pope told the cardinals. “As for me, I am surrounded by friends in the College of Cardinals; they are my friends and I feel at home, I feel safe in this company of great friends who are with me and all of us are with the Lord.”
The pope hosted the meal as a way to thank the cardinals for their best wishes and expressions of support on the occasions of his 85th birthday April 16 and the seventh anniversary of his election April 19.
“First of all, I want to thank the Lord for the many years he has given me; years with many days of joy, splendid times, but also dark nights. Looking back, I understand that even the nights were necessary and good, a reason to give thanks,” he said.
Pope Benedict told the cardinals he knows the phrase “the church militant” is “a bit out of fashion” today, but it still reflects a truth about the place of a Christian in the world.
“We see how evil wants to dominate the world,” and how it uses cruelty and violence, but also how it “masks itself with good and, precisely in this way, destroys the moral foundations of society,” the pope said.
The “church militant” is called “to struggle against evil,” the pope said.
Thanking the cardinals for their “communion in the joys and the sadness,” Pope Benedict said that he and the church would continue moving forward, confident that they will share in Christ’s victory over evil.