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Wednesday, October 5, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 5, 2005 (VIS) - The second part of Psalm 134, "only God is great and eternal," was the theme of the Holy Father's catechesis in today's general audience, which was held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 50,000 people.

  The Pope explained how "the Psalmist resolutely compares two different religious visions. On one side rises the figure of the living and personal God, ... a living being who 'guides' His people, ... supporting them with the power of His love; on the other is idolatry, the expression of a deviant and deceptive religiosity. Indeed, idols are nothing more than 'the work of men's hands.' ... They have human form, ... but they are inert."

  "The destiny of those who adore these dead things, is to become like them: impotent, fragile and inert. These verses clearly convey man's eternal temptation to seek salvation in the 'work of his hands,' placing hope in wealth, power and success."

  The psalm, "following this meditation on true and false religion," concludes with a liturgical blessing. "The liturgy is the privileged place to listen to the divine Word that revives the Lord's salvific acts, but it is also the space from which community prayer rises to celebrate divine love. God and man meet in an embrace of salvation, that finds fulfillment in the liturgical celebration."

Following the audience, the Pope greeted pilgrims in various languages. Addressing a group of faithful from the Italian region of Umbria, he said: "You come from the land of St. Benedict and St. Francis, they also made this pilgrimage (to Rome). ... After many centuries, their testimony of love and peace is still relevant: Italy, Europe and the world have need of them."

  He then addressed some words to Polish pilgrims: "Six months have passed since the death of my dear predecessor John Paul II. His Magisterium and the testimony of his life remain important to us. I entrust the cause of his beatification to your recitation of the Rosary."
AG/PSALM 134/...                                    VIS 20051005 (350)

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