Archive of July 8, 2006

Pope: Christian marriage values make love healthier, stronger, and more truly free

Valencia, Fla., Jul 8, 2006 (CNA) - Addressing the hundreds of thousands gathered in Valencia for the Fifth World Meeting of Families, Pope Benedict XVI said that a Christian view of love magnifies the happiness which men and women encounter in marriage.

The Pope, seated on a stage before prelates of the Church, musicians, and scores of families assured the crowd that, “to promote the values of marriage does not stand in the way of fully experiencing the happiness that man and women encounter in their mutual love. Christian faith and ethics are not meant to stifle love, but to make it healthier, stronger and more truly free.”

Benedict spoke forcefully about the, “strength and identity of the family (which is) founded upon marriage and open to the generous gift of life.”

The teaching of the Christian view of marriage, the Holy Father said, “is the best way to counter a widespread hedonism which reduces human relations to banality and empties them of their authentic value and beauty.”

“Human love,” he said, “needs to be purified and to mature if it is to be fully human and the principle of a true and lasting joy (cf. Address at Saint John Lateran, 5 June 2006).”

The role of the family, the Pope said, “is to provide a home where joy and love continue to be fostered in mankind.  “The family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love. That is why the Church constantly wishes to demonstrate her pastoral concern for this reality, so basic for the human person.”

Benedict told the large crowd that by nature of our creation in the image and likeness of God, “complete human fulfillment only comes about when we make a sincere gift of ourselves to others...This is what (the Church) teaches in her Magisterium: ‘God, who is love and who created man and woman for love, has called them to love. By creating man and woman he called them to an intimate communion of life and love in Marriage. ‘So they are no longer two but one flesh’ (Mt 19:6)’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Compendium, 337)”

Recalling the words of Pope John Paul II, the Pontiff said, that "man has been made in the image and likeness of God not only by his being human, but also by the communion of the persons that man and woman have formed since the beginning. They become the image of God, not so much in their aloneness as in their communion" (Catechesis, 14 November 1979).

This irreplaceable nature of a family serves as an, “intermediate institution between individuals and society,” the pope said. 

“The family is itself based primarily on a deep interpersonal relationship between husband and wife, sustained by affection and mutual understanding. To enable this, it receives abundant help from God in the sacrament of Matrimony, which brings with it a true vocation to holiness.”

”Father and mother have said a complete "yes" in the sight of God,” the Pope continued, “which constitutes the basis of the sacrament which joins them together. Likewise, for the inner relationship of the family to be complete, they also need to say a "yes" of acceptance to the children whom they have given birth to or adopted, and each of which has his or her own personality and character. In this way, children will grow up in a climate of acceptance and love, and upon reaching sufficient maturity, will then want to say ‘yes’ in turn to those who gave them life.”

The Pope then spoke of the need for parishes to embrace families, especially those who are distant from other relatives, in order to ensure that families do not feel alone.  Parishes, he said, are “called to cooperate as networks of support and a helping hand for the growth of families in faith.”

In this way, families will be able to better attend to one of their chief responsibilities, “the transmission of faith in the family.”  The Holy Father pointed out that this responsibility - which is the theme of the World Meeting of Families - “is nicely expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: ‘As a mother who teacher her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith’ (No. 171).”

“To hand down the faith to children, with the help of individuals and institutions like the parish, the school or Catholic associations,” Benedict continued, “is a responsibility which parents cannot overlook, neglect or completely delegate to others. The Christian family is called the domestic church because the family manifests and lives out the communal and familiar nature of the Church as the family of God.”
In addition to passing on the faith and the love of God, the Pope said, “One of the greatest responsibilities of families is that of training free and responsible persons.”

“For this reason,” he said, “the parents need gradually to give their children greater freedom, while remaining for some time the guardians of that freedom. If children see that their parents - and, more generally, all the adults around them - live life with joy and enthusiasm, despite all difficulties, they will themselves develop that profound "joy of life" which can help them to overcome wisely the inevitable obstacles and problems which are part of life.”

Pope also spoke briefly of the importance of Grandparents with in the life of each family.  Grandparents, he said, “can be - and so often are - the guarantors of the affection and tenderness which every human being needs to give and receive. They offer little ones the perspective of time; they are memory and richness of families. In no way should they ever be excluded from the family circle. They are a treasure which the younger generation should not be denied, especially when they bear witness to their faith at the approach of death.”

“And so,” the Pope concluded, “I invite government leaders and legislators to reflect on the evident benefits which homes in peace and harmony assure to individuals and the family, the neuralgic center of society, as the Holy See has stated in the Charter of the Rights of the Family. The purpose of laws is the integral good of man, in response to his needs and aspirations. This good is a significant help to society, of which it cannot be deprived, and for peoples a safeguard and a purification.”

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Pope Benedict arrives in Spain for World Meeting of Families

Valencia, Fla., Jul 8, 2006 (CNA) - Upon his arrival today at Valencia’s airport, the Holy Father was met by the King of Spain, Juan Carlos, who welcomed the Pope on behalf of the people of Spain.  Pope Benedict greeted the many dignitaries gathered for his arrival, church officials, and those involved in the governing of the country, as well as all present and listening or watching through various media.

The Pope told those gathered of his joy at visiting their country, of which he has many memories from earlier visits, congresses, and meetings.

After greeting and thanking the various officials, the Holy Father offered words of consolation to all those still grieving the loss of loved ones following the fatal subway accident, which took place on Monday in Valencia and which claimed the lives of 42 people.

Pope Benedict said that his reason for being in Valencia is to take part in the Fifth World Meeting of Families and to recognize the central role of the family in the Church and society.  “The family is a unique institution in God’s plan, and the Church cannot fail to proclaim and promote its fundamental importance, so that it can live out its vocation with a constant sense of responsibility and joy.”

Benedict recalled that it was Pope John Paul II who originally convoked the World Meeting.  Expressing his desire to share in the same deep, pastoral care as his predecessor, the Holy Father expressed the joy with which he looks forward to celebrating the closing Mass of the World Meeting with all of the many participants and people of Spain.

“In union with all taking part, I will implore from the Lord, through the intercession of our Most Holy Mother and the Apostle Saint James, plentiful graces for the families of Spain and of the whole world.”

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Pope Benedict thanks, encourages Spanish bishops in the face of "rapid secularization"

Valencia, Fla., Jul 8, 2006 (CNA) - Following Pope Benedict XVI’s ceremonious arrival at the Valencia airport and a brief stop to pray at the site of the victims of Monday’s Metro disaster, the Holy Father arrived at Valencia’s Cathedral to greet the bishops, religious, and clergy gathered there. He also delivered a letter to the episcopate of Spain.  

The Holy Father began his letter by stating his intent in Valencia to renew the vision of the family as, “a sanctuary of love, life, and faith.”

In his letter, the Holy Father gave thanks to God for bringing him to Valencia for the Fifth World Meeting of Families and then thanked all those involved in making the celebration happen.  “I am especially appreciative,” the Holy Father wrote, “of the efforts of the Archbishop of Valencia and his Auxiliary Bishops to make this event, so significant for the entire Church, bear its desired fruit and give new impulse to the family as a sanctuary of love, life and faith.”

The Pope praised what he called the “family-like setting” which he had already witnessed among the organizers and participants of the meeting.  The love witnessed among those involved in the meeting, the Holy Father pointed out, is a sign of the success of the Meeting and an incentive to all to carry the results of the gathering back to their own Dioceses, “making its possible for every home to receive the Gospel message, which confirms and enriches love and thus helps it to overcome whatever difficulties it may encounter.”

Referencing Spain in particular, Pope Benedict said, “you know that I follow closely and with much interest the life of the Church in your country, a country with deep Christian roots, one which has greatly contributed and must still contribute to the proclamation and spread of the faith to many other parts of the world. Keep alive and vigorous this spirit, which has accompanied the life of Spaniards throughout their history, so that it will help nourish and vitalize the soul of your people.”

Benedict encouraged the Spanish bishops to continue their work of evangelization in the face of the, “rapid secularization,” which exists in their country. “Acting as if (God) did not exist or relegating faith to the purely private sphere undermines the truth about man and compromises the future of culture and society. On the contrary, lifting one’s gaze to the living God, the guarantor of our freedom and of truth, is a premise for arriving at a new humanity.”

“Nowadays, in a special way the world needs people capable of proclaiming and bearing witness to God who is love, and consequently the one light which in the end, illumines the darkness of the world and gives us strength to live and work (cf. Deus Caritas Est, 39).”

“In times and situations of difficulty, recall those words of the Letter to the Hebrews, ‘let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith, who, for the sake of the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, disregarding the shame ... so that you may not grow weary or lose heart (12:1-3).’ Proclaim that Jesus is ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God(Mt 16:16),’ ‘the one who has the words of eternal life(cf. Jn 6:68),’ and you will not tire of giving reason for your hope (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), the Pope encouraged.”

The Holy Father praised the work of the bishops in proclaiming the Gospel and guiding their people through the many different aspects arising in their culture.  He also recognized the importance of their making the Eucharist central in their plan of evanelization.  Quoting the Homily he gave in Marienfeld, during last year’s World Youth Day, the Holy Father said that, “Certainly in the Eucharist there takes place, ‘the central act of transformation capable of truly renewing the world.’”

“Brothers in the Episcopate,” the Benedict concluded, “I exhort you earnestly to preserve and increase your fraternal communion, as a witness and model of the ecclesial communion which should reign in all the faithful people entrusted to your care. I pray for you, and I pray for Spain. I ask you to pray for me and for the whole Church. I invoke the Most Holy Virgin Mary, so greatly venerated in your land, asking that she protect and accompany you in your pastoral ministry.”

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Holy Father tells seminarians to follow Jesus without hesitation

Valencia, Fla., Jul 8, 2006 (CNA) - At the conclusion of his visit to Valencia’s cathedral, Pope Benedict XVI took a moment to greet the many seminarians preparing for the priesthood in Spain and to pray the Angelus with them and their families.  The Holy Father told the men that they should fully embrace their time of preparation for the priesthood.

“Live intensely the years of preparation in the seminary,” the Holy Father exhorted them, “with the guidance and help of your formators, and with the docility and complete trust of the Apostles, who followed Jesus without hesitation.”

“Learn from the Virgin Mary how to accept your vocation without reserve, with joy and generosity,” the Holy Father said.

The Pope also told the men to be thankful for the support of their families.  “Your parent’s love, devotion and fidelity, and the concord which reigns in your families, is the setting which best enables you to hear God’s call and to accept the gift of a vocation, the Pope said.” 

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Pope stops motorcade to pray at site of metro disaster

Valencia, Fla., Jul 8, 2006 (CNA) - Between his arrival at the Valencia Airport, and prior to his official visit to the city’s cathedral, Pope Benedict visited the Jesus Metro Station where 42 people lost their lives.

After leaving a wreath of flowers and silently offering a prayer for the victims and their families, the pope thanked the many police and firefighters who assisted in evacuating the victims of Monday’s disaster.

Thousands of Valencians and pilgrims from around the world applauded the Holy Father along the way from the airport to the Cathedral.  And several of Valencia’s musical groups played along the route.

The bells of Valencia’s churches rang as the Pope passed and the flags of the Vatican, Spain, and the city of Valencia were hung from balconies along the path of the motorcade.

Upon arriving at Valencia's Cathedral, the Holy Father joined several families of the victims of the metro disaster in praying the Our Father.

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