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Monday, March 26, 2012


Vatican City, 25 March 2012 (VIS) - This evening, following the celebration of Vespers, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. presided at a dinner in the courtyard of the cathedral of Leon. The event was attended by Mexican and Latin American bishops, and by members of the papal entourage.

The secretary of State pronounced an address in which he observed that the Pope's visit to Mexico was "an occasion of profound happiness, seeing how this beloved nation has once again opened wide its doors to the Successor of Peter, manifesting in this way the greatness of spirit of her children, her exquisite hospitality and the robust Catholic faith rooted among her citizens".

Cardinal Bertone noted that this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Holy See. "Both the Church and the State share a common duty, each according to its specific mission, in protecting and promoting the fundamental rights of each person", he said. "Of special note among them is the freedom of man to search for the truth and to profess his own religious convictions, in public as well as in private, which has been recognised and guaranteed by civil law. And it is to be hoped that in Mexico this fundamental right will continue to be strengthened, conscious that it goes much further than mere freedom of worship. It penetrates every dimension of the human person, called to express his or her faith, to proclaim it and share it with others, without imposing it, as the most precious gift from God.

"Moreover", the cardinal added, "diplomatic efforts must be more fully rooted in the promotion of this great common cause, to which Christianity can offer a valid contribution, because it is “a religion of freedom and of peace, and it is at the service of the authentic good of humanity”. The Church never ceases to call on everyone to let political activity be a praiseworthy and ceaseless endeavour in support of citizens, and not become a struggle for power or an imposition of rigid ideological systems, which so often result in the radicalisation of wide sectors of the population.

"In this sense, the bishops here present represent the Catholic Church’s engagement to work for the benefit of the human family, for whom Jesus Christ gave His life. In each generation, she has written a page of this history of service to humanity. Some lines of it are the work of saints, others of the martyrs. This history has not been lacking in daring pastors, in exemplary religious men and women, in young people with prophetic voices, in valiant witnesses to charity and in faithful lay people who, often with great simplicity, have offered a hand and an open door to their brothers and sisters in need. The beauty of Christianity has been expressed in many different ways so that each man or woman, without regard to race, language or social class can be embraced. In it, much of the dimension of faith has come to be so deeply professed and celebrated, as is seen in Mexico and throughout Latin America, and shown through the many charitable projects which have inspired so many to overcome selfishness and to help with the most basic and urgent social needs. Nor should we forget initiatives for the promotion of the right of every person and all peoples, the defence of their liberty and the cultivation of art and culture.

"If this mission has been tainted in some way, that does not tarnish the splendour of the Gospel, which is always present to purify and illuminate our path, which today is seen in the revitalisation of the faith to which Benedict XVI continues to invite us".

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