I’m not going to apologise for the delay in transmission or explain why this is the topic upon which I choose break my silence.
No kidding. Here’s a bit of what he said:
Dear friends, always be conscious that you are called to embody in the world’s airports the Church’s mission of bringing God to man and leading man to the encounter with God. Airports are places that increasingly reflect the globalized reality of our time. Here one finds people of a wide variety of nationalities, cultures, religions, social status and age. One also comes across all manner of difficult human situations that demand increasing attention. I think, for example, of people waiting anxiously as they seek to pass through border controls without the necessary documentation, either as immigrants or asylum seekers. I think of the inconvenience caused by anti-terrorism security measures…
I know that I have often experienced a degree of existential angst in airports out of all proportion to my normal levels of anxiety when juggling hand luggage, passport, wallet, laptop and shoes at the security checks. And there have certainly been times – such as when stuck in an international stopover for twelve hours 6 hours out of whack with one’s own personal timezone – when a friendly chaplain would have been appreciated.
One thinks too of the literary and film references to airports. Douglas Adams once wrote that it was hardly surprising that no language on earth had ever coined the proverb “as pretty as an airport”. There was the Steve Martin classic “Trains Planes and Automobiles”. And then there was of course the Tom Hanks 2004 film “The Terminal” – perhaps that was what the Holy Father was thinking of on this occasion.
In any event, which it is reassuring that in this increasingly confusing world, there are actually people who give of themselves to alleviate such suffering. And that the Holy Father would take the time to encourage them in their ministry. Yes, the New Evangelisation is all about proclaiming the Gospel in the new situations of the modern millennium.