Castel Gandolfo — Catholics should rejoice, and not be jealous, when other Christians succeed in doing the work of the Lord, Pope Benedict XVI said.
"God can do good and even amazing things outside the circle" of the Catholic church, the pope said Sunday, commenting on the day's Gospel reading during his midday Angelus address.
Speaking to pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo, the pope quoted St. Augustine, who said that just as there could be non-Catholic elements within the Catholic church, "so there may be something which is Catholic outside the Catholic church."
Pope Benedict said Catholics "must not be jealous, but should rejoice if someone outside the community does good in the name of Christ."
The pope said sometimes in the Catholic community, people have a difficult time recognizing the good that others accomplish. "We must all always appreciate each other and value each other, praising the Lord for the infinite creativity with which he works in the church and in the world."
Pope Benedict told the pilgrims and visitors he would return to the Vatican on Monday after three months at the papal villa 18 miles southeast of Rome.
Before leaving Castel Gandolfo, the pope held separate audiences with the staff of the papal villa and with Castel Gandolfo town officials, local church leaders and Italian police assigned to the area around the papal villa during his three-month stay.
"Everything in this world is fleeting. Everything, even the most positive and beautiful, inevitability carries within it its own conclusion," the pope said Friday during an evening meeting with employees of the papal villa.
The pope told them that his "calm and peaceful time" at Castel Gandolfo was ending and, just as the employees' children had returned to school and local parish activities were starting up again, his own schedule was about to move into high gear.
He asked the employees to keep him in their prayers as he travels to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto on Thursday; opens the Synod of Bishops Oct. 7; marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council Oct. 11 and launches the Year of Faith the same day.
In his meeting with town officials, the local bishop and police Saturday, Pope Benedict thanked them for their contribution to his three-month "period of study, prayer and rest." The Vatican said that during the summer, Pope Benedict finished the third volume of his work, "Jesus of Nazareth," focusing on Jesus' infancy and childhood; the volume is scheduled for a pre-Christmas release.