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Monday, December 12, 2005


VATICAN CITY, DEC 10, 2005 (VIS) - Today in the Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI received 8,000 religious and members of secular institutes and societies of apostolic life from the diocese of Rome.

  The Pope, greeting participants in the audience, said: "My special thoughts go out to those living in monasteries of contemplative life, who are spiritually united with us" and "consecrated people from Africa, Latin America and Asia currently studying in Rome."

  "As always," he continued, "consecrated people constitute a valuable presence in the life of the Church of Rome, because they offer a unique witness to the unity and universality of the People of God. ... The complex social and cultural context of our city ... demands from you a constant attention to local concerns, as well as a courageous faith in the charism that distinguishes you. From its origins, consecrated life has been characterized by a thirst for God. ... Do not be afraid of visibly showing yourselves as consecrated people and ... demonstrating the fact that you belong to Christ."

  The Holy Father then recalled how consecrated people are "deeply involved in diocesan programs" and collaborate in pastoral work, thanks also to the activities of groups that represent them such as: the Italian Confederation of Superiors Major, the Union of Italian Female Superiors Major, the Group of Secular Institutes and the Ordo Virginum. Benedict XVI called on consecrated people to continue this work with intensified loyalty to their commitments, the charisms of their institutes and the guidelines of the local Church.

  "The Church has need of your witness, of a consecrated life that faces the challenges of today with courage and creativity. Faced with the advance of hedonism, I ask of you the brave witness of chastity. Faced with the thirst for money, your sober life and your service to those in need reminds us that God is the authentic source of wealth that never perishes. Faced with individualism and relativism, ... your fraternal life of obedience confirms that your fulfillment comes through God."

  The Pope concluded by recalling the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar Decree "Perfectae caritatis," dedicated to consecrated life and affirmed that: "Those living a consecrated life live in the world, but their hearts are directed beyond time; and to modern man, who is often absorbed by the things of the world, they bear witness that true destiny lies in God Himself."
AC/CONSECRATED PEOPLE/ROME                    VIS 20051212 (420)

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