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Monday, December 5, 2005


VATICAN CITY, DEC 3, 2005 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received in audience participants in the meeting of presidents of the Latin American Episcopal Commissions for the Family and Life. The meeting is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Family, which is presided by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo.

  In his address, the Pope recalled the interest that John Paul II had always showed for the subject of the family and affirmed that, "for my part, I share this same concern which to a large extent affects the future of the Church and of peoples."

  "Your duty as pastors," he said, "is to present the extraordinary value of marriage in all its richness; as a natural institution, it is 'the heritage of humanity.' At the same time, its elevation to the great dignity of Sacrament must be contemplated with gratitude and wonder, as I myself recently pointed out when I said that 'the value of Sacrament that marriage assumes in Christ means that the gift of creation was raised to the grace of redemption. The grace of Christ is not external to man's nature, it causes it no harm, but, in elevating it beyond its own limits, liberates and restores it'."

  The total commitment of husband and wife, said the Holy Father, "with its particular characteristics of exclusivity, faithfulness, duration in time and openness to life, lies at the basis of that community of love and life that is marriage. Today, we must announce with renewed enthusiasm that the gospel of the family is a way to human and spiritual fulfillment, in the certainty that the Lord is always present, in His grace."

  Benedict XVI went on to explain how, "also in the field of life, new attitudes are putting this fundamental right into question. ... The elimination of the embryo is being facilitated, as is its use in the name of scientific progress which, in not recognizing its own limits and not accepting all the moral principles that enable the dignity of the person to be protected, becomes a threat to human beings themselves."

  The Pope then observed how "in Latin America, as elsewhere, children have the right to be born and to grow up in the bosom of a family founded on marriage," and he emphasized how children are an expression of the wealth of a family. "For this reason," he continued, "it is necessary to help everyone to realize the intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion which, in attacking human life at its beginnings, is also an act of aggression against society itself. Consequently, politicians and lawmakers, as servants of the social good, have the duty to defend the fundamental right to life, the fruit of God's love."

  Benedict XVI concluded: "There can be no doubt that pastoral work in such a delicate and complex field involving so many different disciplines and dealing with such fundamental questions, calls for the careful training of" those who administer it, as well as of the lay people who "dedicate their energies to serving families."

  Finally, the Pope recalled the forthcoming World Meeting of Families, due to be held in Valencia, Spain in July 2006 on the theme "Transmission of Faith in the Family."
AC/FAMILY:LIFE/LOPEZ                            VIS 20051205 (550)

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