Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pope on TV comforts girl in quake trauma

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Vatican City — Pope Benedict XVI consoled a Japanese girl, 7, reassured a mother about her ailing son's soul and advised a Muslim woman that dialogue was the way to peace in Cote d'Ivoire.
News photo
Dial a pope: Elena, 7, asks Pope Benedict XVI a question about Japan's March 11 disaster during an Italian TV show aired Friday. KYODO PHOTO
In a push to engage the world online, the pontiff fielded their questions during an unusual Good Friday appearance on Italian TV. It was hardly a casual or spontaneous chat: Seven questions were selected from thousands that poured in via RAI television's website, and Benedict recorded his answers last week.
He seemed a bit stiff, sitting all alone in a big white chair behind his desk inside the Apostolic Palace as an unseen interviewer read out the letters to him.
But the teacher and pastor in Benedict, 84, came through as he fielded the questions, which all dealt with suffering and Jesus' death, which Christians recall on Good Friday, and his resurrection, feted on Easter Sunday.
The first question came from Elena, 7, who asked why she felt so afraid after Japan's earthquake shook her house and killed so many children.
"Why do children have to be so sad?" the girl asked. "I'm asking the pope, who speaks with God, to explain it to me."
Speaking simply as if Elena were right there, Benedict responded that he too wondered why so many innocent people suffer, but that she should take heart in knowing that Jesus had suffered too.
"You can be sure that in the world, in the universe, there are many people who are with you, thinking of you, doing what they can for you to help you," Benedict said.

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