Pope Calls 'Church Militant' an Apt Description for Faithful on Earth

Says Evil Wishes to Dominate; We Must Battle It

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that the members of the Church on earth are aptly described as "ecclesia militans," the Church militant, since it is "necessary to enter into battle with evil."

The Pope said this Monday when he had a lunch with the College of Cardinals. The lunch was an expression of appreciation for congratulations received last month for the Pope's 85th birthday (April 16) and seventh anniversary of election to the See of Peter (April 19).

"At this moment my word can be only a word of gratitude," he said. "Gratitude first of all to the Lord for the many years he has given me; years with so many days of joy, splendid times, but also dark nights. However, in retrospect one understands even the nights were necessary and good, a motive for gratitude."

The Holy Father then reflected on the battle against evil, saying that though the term "ecclesia militans" is "somewhat out of fashion," it is true, "it bears truth in itself."

"We see how evil wishes to dominate the world and that it is necessary to enter into battle with evil," he explained. Evil is seen in many forms of violence, the Pontiff reflected, but also "masked with goodness and precisely this way destroying the moral foundations of society."

Friends

Benedict XVI said that in this struggle against evil in which we find ourselves, "it is very important to have friends." He then spoke of the College of Cardinals as his friends, with whom he "feel[s] at home." 

"I feel safe in this company of great friends, who are with me and all together with the Lord," he said. "Thank you for this friendship."

The Pope concluded with a word of confidence and hope: though in battle, he reflected, "we are in the Lord’s squad, hence in the victorious squad."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-34824?l=english