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Monday, May 30, 2011

WORD OF GOD, CONSOLATION AND CHALLENGE FOR CHRISTIANS IN INDIA

VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2011 (VIS) - "The Second Vatican Council reminds us that, among the more important responsibilities of bishops, the proclamation of the Gospel is pre-eminent", said Benedict XVI today to the prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India at the end of their ad limina visit, emphasizing that it is "a source of satisfaction that the proclamation of God's word is bearing rich spiritual fruit in your local Churches, especially through the spread of small Christian communities in which the faithful come together for prayer, reflection on the Scriptures and fraternal support".

  "Every effort should be made", he continued, "to stress that individual and group prayer is, by its very nature, born of and leads back to, the wellspring of grace found in the Church's sacraments and her entire liturgical life. Nor can it be forgotten that the word of God not only consoles but also challenges believers, as individuals and in community, to advance in justice, reconciliation and peace among themselves and in society as a whole. ... In fidelity to the new commandment to love one another as the Lord has loved us, Christians of all times and places have striven to serve their fellow human beings selflessly and to love them with all their heart. After all, love is God's gift to humanity; it is his promise and it is our hope".

  "In this light, I am pleased to note the impressive signs of the Church's charity in many fields of social activity, a service borne in a particular way by her priests and religious. ... The Church's schools prepare young people of all faiths and none to build a more just and peaceful society.  Church agencies have been instrumental in the promotion of microcredit, helping the poor to help themselves. In addition, they promote the Church's healing and charitable mission through clinics, orphanages, hospitals and innumerable other projects aimed at promoting human dignity and well-being ... May Christ's faithful in India", the Pope prayed, "continue to assist all those in need in the communities around them, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or social status, out of the conviction that all have been created in God's image and all are due equal respect".

  In conclusion, the Holy Father spoke of "the grave challenges which threaten to undermine the unity, harmony and sanctity of the family", which the bishops had referred to him, and about "the work which must be done to build a culture of respect for marriage and family life. A sound catechesis which appeals especially to those preparing for marriage", he said, "will do much to nourish the faith of Christian families and will assist them in giving a vibrant, living witness to the Church's age-old wisdom regarding marriage, the family, and the responsible use of God's gift of sexuality.
AL/                                        VIS 20110530 (460)

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