The Holy Father said during the Mass he celebrated at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, on the last day of his three-day apostolic trip to Austria this month:
” Going to Sunday Mass is not just a rule to follow, but rather an inner necessity."
Bnedict XVI centered on the mantra of the early Christian martyrs of Abitene: "Without Sunday we cannot live. Sunday has been transformed in our Western societies into the weekend, into leisure time."
"Leisure time is certainly something good and necessary, especially amid the mad rush of the modern world. Yet if leisure time lacks an inner focus, an overall sense of direction, then ultimately it becomes wasted time that neither strengthens nor builds us up.
"Free time requires a focus -- the encounter with him who is our origin and goal."
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, explained that there had been a movement in Austria to defend "Sunday from tendencies to empty this day of its meaning."
Recalling the example of the early Christians, Benedict XVI explained that for them Sunday Mass was not a "precept," but rather "an inner necessity.""Does this attitude of the Christians of that time apply also to us who are Christians today?" the Pope asked.
The Holy Father answered: "Yes, it does, we too need a relationship that sustains us, that gives direction and content to our lives."We too need access to the Risen One, who sustains us through and beyond death. We need this encounter which brings us together, which gives us space for freedom, which lets us see beyond the bustle of everyday life to God's creative love, from which we come and toward which we are traveling."