.- Pope Benedict called Spain to a deeper faith during his farewell address at Barcelona’s airport.
As the Pope concluded his Nov. 6- 7 visit, he expressed gratitude to all who assisted in making the papal trip a success. He explained that he traveled to Spain in order to strengthen Catholics in a faith that has taken such deep root “that it has constantly shaped the spirit, customs, art and character of its peoples.”
“The preservation of this rich spiritual patrimony demonstrates the love of your country for its history and culture, yet it is also a privileged way of transmitting to younger generations those fundamental values so necessary for building up a common future of harmony and solidarity.”
Recalling the Way of St. James, the name given to a group of pilgrimage routes which run across Europe, leading to Santiago de Compostela, the Pope noted that these paths “differed greatly, each marked by its own language…but the faith was the same.”
“There was a common language, the Gospel of Christ,” he continued. “Beyond national differences,” the pilgrims “knew that they were members of one great family to which the other pilgrims and people along the way also belonged.”
“May this faith find new vigor on this continent and become a source of inspiration. May it give rise to an attitude of solidarity towards all, especially towards those communities and nations in greater need.”
Then addressing the crowds in the regional dialect of Catalan, the Pope said that during his day in Barcelona, he was able to participate in “two symbols of fruitfulness of the faith which … through charity and the mystery of God’s beauty, contributes to the creation of a society more worthy of man.”
On Nov. 7, the Pope consecrated the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) and visited Nen Deu, a facility that cares for children in need.
“Truly, beauty, holiness and the love of God enable people to live with hope in this world.”
After his visit to Nen Deu, the Pope met with Prime Minister of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who passed a law dramatically liberalizing the country’s abortion laws last June.
Concluding his address, the Pope placed Spain “under the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy,” asking the Blessed Mother to “obtain from Almighty God abundant heavenly gifts, that you may live as one family, guided by the light of faith.
“I bless you in the name of the Lord. With his help, we will meet again next year in Madrid, to celebrate World Youth Day. Adios!”
To read the full text of the Pope’s speech, visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/spain10/resource.php?res_id=1451