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Monday, February 6, 2006


VATICAN CITY, FEB 5, 2006 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated mass this morning in the parish of Saint Anne inside the Vatican, a church under the care of the Augustinians. 

  In the homily, the Pope commented on the Gospel of the day, in which the Lord goes to the house of Simon Peter and encounters Peter's mother-in-law with a fever. "Jesus, coming from the Father, goes toward the house of humanity, our earth and finds humanity ill, sick with the fever, the fever of ideologies, idolatry, and the forgetting about God.  The Lord gives us His hand, lifts us up and heals us. And as he has throughout the ages; He takes our hand with His Word, and dispels the fog of ideology and idolatry. ... He cures us of the fever of our passions and our sins with the absolution found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

  Referring to the image found above the altar of the Church, in which appears Saint Anne explaining to the Virgin Mary, her daughter, the Sacred Scriptures, the Holy Father affirmed: "Women are also the first doors to the Word of God in the Gospel, they are authentic evangelists." In this light, he gave thanks to all the women "who always help us to know the Word of God, not only through their intelligence, but also through their hearts."

  Continuing with the narration of the Gospel, when Jesus, who slept in Peter's house, woke up very early to go and pray in the desert, Pope Benedict XVI said that, "this Gospel teaches us that the center of our faith and the center of our lives is found in God. When God is not present, man is not respected. Only when the splendor of God is reflected on the face of the human being, the image of God, is man protected by a dignity that nobody should violate."

  Having recalled that the Church celebrates today in Italy the Day of the Family, the Holy Father highlighted  that "the human being is not the manager of life, rather he is the custodian and caretaker." There exists "two mentalities," he continued "that are opposed in an irreconcilable way...one maintains that the human life is in the hands of man and the other recognizes that it is in the hands of God."

  Pope Benedict XVI affirmed that "the full respect of life is united to a religious sentiment, to the interior attitude with which man considers the reality surrounding him, either as a master or custodian thereof. The word "respect" comes from the Latin verb respicere, and indicates a way of looking at things and people that brings us to recognize the fact of their coexistence, not possessing them but caring for them. "In summary," he concluded, "if creatures are denied reference to God, as a transcendent foundation, they run the risk of being placed at the arbitrary mercy of human beings, who, as we can see, can treat them irresponsibly."
HML/.../SAINT ANNE                        VIS 200602206 (500)

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