The pope today met a group of children from Italian Catholic Action. I found it interesting that a man like Pope Benedict, who is such a theologian, could speak as directly and simply as he did to these kids. Here is what he said (my translation from the Italian original as I cannot find an official English translation for you to reference):
“Dear children of A.C.R.,
I am very pleased that in this year, as Christmas approaches, you have come here to celebrate with your presence in these solemn palaces where there is always joy in serving the Lord. Greetings to you and your teachers, the President of the Italian Catholic Action, the assistant general and your new national director, Fr. Dino.
Many say that children are capricious, that they are contented with nothing but consumed by games, one after another, without being content with any of them. You however say to Jesus: “You are enough for me!” This means: “You are our dearest friend, our companion when we play and when we go to school, when we are home with our parents, uncles and aunts, little brothers and sisters and when we go outside with our friends.” You open our eyes to recognize our sad companions, and so many babies in the world that suffer hunger, sickness and war. You are enough for us, Lord Jesus, you give us true joy, which doesn’t end like our games, but enters our souls and makes us good. You are enough for us most of all when we pray, because you always hear our prayers which we pray so that the world becomes more beautiful and better for all. You are enough for us because you forgive us when we are in trouble; you are enough for us because if we get lost, you come looking for us and you take us in your arms like you did for the lost sheep. You are enough for us because you have a most beautiful Momma who, before you died on the cross, you wanted to make our Momma too.”
My dear little friends, do you want to help your friends to be like this with Jesus? A child from A.C.R. is one who, when he goes with Jesus, loves to carry with himself a friend also, because he wants him to know Jesus; he doesn’t think only of himself, but has a big heart and pays attention to others. You have many teachers that help you to live, pray and grow in the knowledge of the Gospel. The Italian Catholic Action has a true aim of helping you become saints; by this you will meet Jesus, and love the Church and become interested in the world’s problems. Isn’t it perhaps true that you are to help children more unfortunate than you? Isn’t it perhaps true that with the “month of peace”, you are able to appreciated peace with so many adults because you live in peace with each other?
Yes, dear children, you can pray to the Lord to change the hearts of the makers of war, to bring terrorists to their senses, to convert the hearts of those who always think of war, and to help humankind to build a better future for all the children of the world. I am sure that you will pray with me, help me with the not too easy job that the Lord has given to me. For me, I assure you of my affection, my prayers, while I bless you together with all people who care for you. Merry Christmas to you, your families and to all children of the Catholic Action!” (Pope Benedict XVI, 20 Dec. 08)