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Monday, June 20, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2011 (VIS) - Today at 4.15 p.m. Benedict XVI travelled to Piazza della Liberta in San Marino where he was greeted by the Captains Regent of the republic, Maria Luisa Berti and Filippo Tamagnini.

  After the playing of the pontifical hymn and the national anthem of San Marino, the Pope, accompanied by the Captains Regent, entered the Palazzo Pubblico where he was greeted by the ministers of the republic. He then held a private meeting with the Captains Regent. Subsequently, in the Hall of the Grand and General Council, the Holy Father delivered an address before members of the government, the congress and the diplomatic corps.

  Benedict XVI began by reflecting on the origins of the community which came into being seventeen centuries ago around the deacon Marinus, a great preacher of the Gospel. He highlighted how, throughout their history, the inhabitants of the republic that bears the saint's name "have always remained faithful to the values of the Christian faith, which has been a firm foundation for their peaceful coexistence in keeping with criteria of democracy and solidarity".

  The Pope praised the Sammarineses' adherence to this "legacy of values" and encouraged them "to conserve and take advantage of it, so that it becomes the foundation of your deepest identity. ... Thanks to this identity you can build a society attentive to the true good of human beings, to their dignity and freedom, a society capable of safeguarding the rights of all people to live in peace. These are the advantages of healthy secularism, within which the institutions of civil society must act in their constant commitment to defend the common good.

  "The Church", he added, "respectful of the legitimate autonomy of the civil authorities, collaborates with them in the service of man, defending his fundamental rights and the ethical norms which are inscribed in his very nature. For this reason the Church is committed to ensuring that legislative authorities always promote and protect human life, from conception to natural end. She also asks that families receive due recognition and effective support".

  The Holy Father went on: "We well know how the institution of the family is currently being called into question, almost in an attempt to deny its irreplaceable value. The consequences of this fall on the weakest sectors of society, especially the young who are more vulnerable and therefore more easily exposed to disorientation, to situations of self-marginalisation and to the slavery of dependency. Educational institutions sometimes struggle to find adequate responses for the young who, as the support of the family falls away, often find that a normal insertion into the fabric of society is denied them".

  The Pope then turned his attention to the economic crisis, which is also affecting San Marino following years in which trade and tourism had brought some degree of prosperity. He also mentioned the issue of people who live on one side of the border and work on the other, expressing the hope that it could be resolved "while bearing in mind the right to work and the protection of families". The current situation "is a stimulus to reconsider our progress and an occasion for discernment", he said. "It puts the whole of society before the pressing need to face problems with courage and a sense of responsibility, with generosity and dedication, drawing on that love of freedom which characterises your people".

  "You", Benedict XVI told the authorities present, "have the task of constituting the earthly city, with due autonomy and with respect for those human and spiritual principles to which individual citizens are called to adhere in their own consciences. At the same time, you have the duty to continue to work actively to build a community founded on shared values".

  Having completed his address, the Holy Father, accompanied by the Captains Regent, visited the basilica of San Marino where he was welcomed by the rector, Msgr. Lino Tosi. After pausing in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and venerating the relics of St. Marinus, the Pope left the building and travelled to the heliport of Torraccia where he bid farewell to the State authorities. He then travelled by helicopter to the sports ground of Pennabilli, Italy, where he was due to meet with young people from the diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro.
PV-SAN MARINO/                            VIS 20110620 (730)

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