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Friday, May 27, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 27 MAY 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Benedict XVI presided over the praying of the Rosary together with the bishops of Italy, entrusting the people of Italy to the Virgin. The Italian bishops were gathered for a General Assembly on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the political unification of Italy.

  After praying the Luminous Mysteries, Benedict XVI addressed the Italian bishops, recalling that this basilica "is the first in the West dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God", and that on 1 January 2000, Pope John Paul II opened the Holy Door "entrusting the Jubilee Year to Mary. Today we also wish to cross the threshold of this Most Holy "Door", which is Christ, and we ask the Virgin Mary to sustain our journey and to intercede for us".

  "The dispositions of the Virgin's heart - listening, receptiveness, humility, faithfulness, praise, and waiting -", he said, "correspond to the inner provisions and the gestures that shape Christian life. Aware that they express what God desires of the Church, they are what nourish her".

  "Faith, in fact", he continued, "is not alienation. The experiences that poison the dignity of humanity and the quality of social life are other [than faith]. ... Italy, celebrating 150 years of political unity, has reason to be proud of the presence and outreach of the Church, which does not pursue privileges nor intend to substitute the responsibilities of political institutions. Respectful of the State's legitimate secularity, the Church is attentive to sustaining the fundamental rights of the human person. Among these are foremost ethical instances and therefore the openness to transcendence, which constitute values prior to any state jurisdiction because they are inscribed in the very nature of the human person".

  The Church recalls "the duty to promote and protect human life in all its stages and to concretely support the family". In this context he referred to the problem of unemployment "that compromises the serenity of planning for family life in young persons, seriously damaging the authentic and harmonious development of society".

  The Pope urged the prelates to encourage "the faithful laity to overcome every spirit of small-mindedness, distraction, and indifference, and to participate in social life in the first person. Promote the formation of initiatives inspired by the Church's social doctrine so that those who exercise political and administrative responsibilities do not fall victim to the temptation to exploit their positions for personal interest or the thirst for power".

  "Taking education as the theme of this decade's pastoral commitment, you have sought to express the certainty that Christian existence - the good life of the Gospel - is precisely the demonstration of an accomplished life. In this way you assure a service that is not just religious or ecclesial but social as well, contributing to building the city of humanity. Take heart, then! In spite of every difficulty, 'nothing is impossible for God'".

 Benedict XVI concluded by entrusting the Italian peoples to the protection of Mary "Mater unitatis", so that the Lord might grant them "the invaluable gifts of peace and fraternity, and therefore harmonious development. That political forces might also be helped to live this anniversary of Unity as an occasion to strengthen the national union and to overcome every prejudicial conflict. That diverse and legitimate sensitivities, experiences, and perspectives might be rebuilt in a wider picture in order to seek together that which truly contributes to the good of the country. That the example of Mary might open the path to a more just, mature, and responsible society, capable of rediscovering the profound values of the human heart.
BXVI-ROSARY/                                VIS 20110527 (600)

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