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Monday, July 25, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUL 25, 2005 (VIS) - Shortly before entering the church of Introd for a meeting with priests and deacons of Valle d'Aosta, the region of northwest Italy where he is spending a brief holiday, Benedict XVI spent a few moments with journalists who were waiting outside the building.

  Asked whether, three months having passed since his election, he found it difficult being Pope, the Holy Father replied: "Yes, in a certain sense it has been difficult, I had never thought of this ministry, but people are very good to me and support me."

  Another reporter asked him if he felt the closeness of his predecessor John Paul II, to which Benedict XVI replied: "I always feel him very close, through his writings and through his spiritual presence."

  For his part, Osvaldo Naudin, mayor of Introd, renewed his invitation to the Pope to return to the Valle d'Aosta next year; he also jokingly commented that the Holy Father is learning the local dialect thanks to the "crash course" he is following over these days.

  Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta highlighted the importance of the Pope's meeting with the local clergy which, he said, reflects the "collegiality and communion on which the Church is founded."

  After the meeting, in which 140 priests, religious and deacons participated, the Pope again paused to speak to journalists. Referring to the terrorist attacks which have marked the last weeks he affirmed that it was incorrect to define them as anti-Christian: "I feel the intention is far more general, and not specifically against Christianity."

  Asked whether Islam could be considered a religion of peace, he said: "I would not like to use big words to apply generic labels. It certainly contains elements that can favor peace, it also has other elements: we must always seek the best elements."

  The Holy Father also made some brief comments on the prospects for dialogue between the Holy See and China, expressing the desire that they "continue to move forwards." Finally, replying to a reporter who asked him about the situation of divorced people who have remarried, he said: "we cannot solve large problems in just a few words."
BXVI-VACATIONS/.../NAUDIN:ANFOSSI                    VIS 20050725 (370)

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