News24

Pope in plea for a bit of quiet

2010-07-04 21:22

Sulmona - Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday praised the life of a 13th century predecessor who resigned as pope, saying his simple life served as an example to people who found no time for contemplation.

Benedict said modern men and women should rediscover the art of listening at an open-air mass in the mountain town of Sulmona, marking the 800th anniversary of the birth of Celestine V.

"We live in a society where it seems that every space, every moment must be filled with initiatives, activities, sounds. Often there isn't even the time to listen."

"Don't be afraid of the silence inside and outside of us, if we want to be able not only to hear the voice of God but also of others who are beside us," he said.

At the mass in the main square of the town set in the Abruzzo region where an April 2009 earthquake killed more than 300 people, Benedict voiced his support for those living "in precarious conditions, because of the lack of a job, uncertain of their future, suffering physically or morally and feeling a sense of loss because of the earthquake".

The pope later visited the tomb of Celestine, who resigned in 1294 only five months into his papacy, in part out of a desire for greater solitude.