Benedict's First Comments On Trip

Pope Benedict delivered his first words to American Catholics ahead of his visit here next week, saying in a taped video message today that: "I am coming, sent by Jesus Christ, to bring you his word of life." He spoke in English mostly, with a brief section in Spanish.

Sitting at a desk beneath a huge portrait of Mary and Jesus, Benedict said he hopes that his presence "will be seen as a fraternal gesture towards every ecclesial community, and a sign of friendship for members of other religious traditions and all men and women of good will."

Benedict's German-accented words were the first many American Catholics have heard from him directly about the visit, which begins Tuesday when he lands in Washington, and ends Sunday the 20th, when he flies from New York City back to Rome.

In the message, Benedict says his message comes at a time when "the world has greater need of hope than ever - hope for peace, for justice and for peace." In his view, he says, this hope can never be fulfilled without "obedience to the law of God."

By Michelle Boorstein |  April 9, 2008; 1:09 PM ET
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