Benedict XVI joins Italy in celebrating National Day for Life
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.- Following the recitation of the Angelus on a crisp, clear winter day in Vatican City, Pope Benedict expressed his solidarity with the Italian bishops in celebrating the "National Day for Life." The Holy Father reiterated his call for integral human development in the fight against poverty.

The "National Day for Life" is celebrated throughout Italy on the first Sunday of February. Pope Benedict XVI joined in the Day's 2010 observation as he dedicated his post-Angelus message to the cause.

Referring to the current global economic crisis, he pointed out that "mechanisms" that hurt and offend life have become increasingly dramatic these days, "producing poverty and strong social inequalities" and "striking the weakest and most defenseless."

This climate, he continued, leads us to recognize the need to work for the promotion of "an integral human development to overcome indigence and need, this above all reminds us that the goal of man is not well-being, but God himself, and that human existence must be defended and promoted in every one of its stages."

"In fact, no one," emphasized the Holy Father, "is the owner of his own life, but we are all called to protect and respect it, from the moment of conception to its natural passing."

Pope Benedict XVI closed by expressing his appreciation for all people who work directly with children, the sick and elderly. He also said that he hopes the initiative will succeed and offered his encouragement to those engaged in supporting life and the family.

One of the events that took place in preparation for the 32nd annual Day for Life in Italy was the Italian-language release of the award-winning film "Bella" on Jan. 26.

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