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Monday, September 24, 2007


VATICAN CITY, SEP 23, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father made a pastoral visit to Velletri, south of Rome, where he presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the cathedral square. Benedict XVI held the title of the suburbicarian diocese of Velletri-Segni from the year 1993 until his election to the pontificate in April 2005. His successor as the titular holder of the diocese is Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, while the incumbent is Bishop Vincenzo Apicella.

  In his homily the Pope commented on today's Gospel reading of the dishonest manager, and reflected on the danger of excessive attachment to money and material wealth.

  "In truth," he told the several thousand faithful who had gathered to hear him, "life is always a choice: between faithfulness and unfaithfulness, between selfishness and altruism, between good and evil. The end of this particular Gospel passage is incisive and peremptory: no servant can serve two masters," which in the final analysis means "you cannot serve God and wealth."

  "A fundamental decision is, then, necessary," Pope Benedict proceeded, "the choice between the logic of profit as the ultimate criteria for our actions and the logic of sharing and solidarity. If the logic of profit prevails, the imbalance between poor and rich increases, as does the ruinous exploitation of the planet. When, on the other hand, the logic of sharing and solidarity prevails it is possible to alter and redirect our course towards equal development and the common good of everyone. Ultimately it is a decision between selfishness and love, between justice and dishonesty, ... between God and Satan.

  "If loving Christ and our fellow man is not considered as a superficial accessory," he added, "but rather as the real and ultimate aim of our entire life, we must know how to take fundamental decisions, to be ready to make radical sacrifices, if necessary even unto martyrdom. Today, as yesterday, the life of Christians calls for the courage to swim against the tide, to love like Jesus Who went so far as to sacrifice Himself upon the cross."

  After the Mass, the Pope blessed a bronze column given to him a year ago as a gift by 100 Bavarian cities to mark his apostolic trip to Germany and his 80th birthday. Two columns were made, one is in the Pope's home town of Marktl am Inn, the other has been donated by him to the diocese of Velletri-Segni.

  After bidding farewell to the civil and religious authorities of Velletri, the Holy Father returned to the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo where he prayed the Angelus.
PV-ITALY/WEALTH/VELLETRI                    VIS 20070924 (460)

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