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Monday, February 19, 2007


VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2007 (VIS) - Shortly before midday today, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Commenting on today's Gospel reading, the Pope pointed out how "it contains one of the most typical and powerful phrases of Jesus' teaching: 'love your enemies.' ... almost a 'manifesto' ... to which He asks His disciples to adhere, proposing His own model of life in radical terms."

  "Why," Pope Benedict asked, "does Jesus propose love for one's enemies, in other words a love that exceeds human capacities?" And he went on: "In reality, Christ's proposal is realistic because it takes into account the fact that there is too much violence in the world, too much injustice, and that, therefore, this situation cannot be overcome without the counterbalance of extra love, extra goodness. This 'extra' comes from God: it is His mercy, which became flesh in Jesus and which alone can 'tip' the world from evil towards good."

  "This evangelical episode is considered as the 'Magna Carta' of Christian non-violence, which does not consist in surrendering to evil ... but in responding to evil with good, thus breaking the chain of injustice. ... For Christians this is not merely a tactical form of behavior, but an individual way of life, the attitude of people who are so convinced by the love of God ... that they are not afraid to face evil only with the arms of love and truth.

  "Love for one's enemies," he added, "is the nucleus of the 'Christian revolution,' a revolution that is not based on ... economic, political or media power, but that is a gift of God. ... This is the novelty of the Gospel, which noiselessly changes the world. This is the heroism of the 'little ones' who believe in God's love and disseminate it."

  After praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI spoke of his "spiritual closeness" to Guinea. "The bishops of that country," he said, "have expressed to me their concern for the situation of social paralysis, general strikes and violent reactions that have caused numerous victims. In calling for human and civil rights to be respected, I give assurances of my prayers that a shared commitment to follow the path of dialogue may overcome the crisis."

  Finally, the Holy Father turned his attention to Poland where the bishops have called "a special day of prayer and penance for the entire Polish clergy" to fall on Ash Wednesday. "May this prayer for the sanctity of priests," said the Pope, "fill all the faithful with a spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation and mutual trust."
ANG/NON-VIOLENCE:GUINEA:POLAND/...            VIS 20070219 (450)

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