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Tuesday, November 15, 2005


VATICAN CITY, NOV 15, 2005 (VIS) - In a solemn ceremony held yesterday morning, the Italian parliament commemorated the visit, made there three years ago, by John Paul II. During the celebration, a plaque was unveiled recalling the late Pope's meeting with Italian deputies and senators on November 14, 2002, upon whom he invoked divine blessings.

  To mark the occasion, Benedict XVI sent a Message to Pier Ferdinando Casini, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. The Message was read out during the ceremony by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

  "The visit of my beloved predecessor to the Italian parliament," writes the Pope in his Message, "was without precedent, and was made possible through the consolidation of a serene vision of relations between Church and State; in the awareness - as the Pontiff said in his address - of the 'highly positive results' which over the course of time these relations have brought both to the Church and to the Italian nation."

  The Pope continues his Message: "On this happy anniversary, then, all that remains to me to do is to express the hope that this spirit of sincere and loyal collaboration may become ever deeper. In assuring the Holy See's constant commitment to this end, I would like once more to stress that the Church - in Italy, in all other countries, and in the various international organizations - does not intend to claim any privilege for herself, but only to secure the opportunity to carry out her mission, with respect for the legitimate lay nature of the State. This, moreover, if well understood, does not contrast with the Christian message, rather it is indebted thereto, as scholars of the history of civilizations know well."

  The Holy Father ends his Message by calling on the parliamentarians to remember John Paul II, "drawing real inspiration from his teachings and promoting the formation of the human person, culture, the family, schools and full and dignified employment, with careful attention for the weakest and for old and new forms of poverty."

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