.- Today the Vatican publicized a letter from Pope Benedict written to the Spanish bishops during their pilgrimage to the shrine of Pilar de Zaragoza, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the consecration of Spain to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the letter, dated May 19th, the Pope wrote that, "Mary Immaculate reflects the mercy of the Father. Conceived without sin, she was capable of pardoning even those who abandoned and wounded her Son at the foot of the Cross. As our Advocate, she helps us in our needs and intercedes for us to her Son."
He continued, saying, "Accompanied by the paternal solicitude of Joseph, Mary welcomed her Son. In the home at Nazareth Jesus reached maturity in a family that was humanly splendid and marked by the divine mystery, one that has been a model for all families.”
“In this respect,” he wrote, “in domestic coexistence the family realizes its vocation of human and Christian life, sharing joys and expectations in a climate of understanding and reciprocal help.”
“Thus, the human person,” he continued, “who is born, grows and is formed in the family, is capable of undertaking with certainty the path of goodness, without letting himself or herself be disoriented by methods or ideologies foreign to the human person."
The Holy Father also pointed out that, "the Catholic Church in Spain is disposed to take firm steps in her evangelizing projects. Thus, it is to be hoped that she will be understood and accepted in her natural truth and mission because it is a question of promoting the common good for everyone, with respect both to persons and to society.”
“In effect,” he wrote, “the transmission of the faith and religious practices of believers cannot remain confined to the purely private sphere."