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Monday, February 16, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 14 FEB 2009 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in a congress organised to mark the eightieth anniversary of the foundation of Vatican City State.

  "For people who work in the daily service of the Holy See, or for those who live in Rome, it is taken for granted that at the heart of the city lies a small sovereign State. Yet not everyone knows that this is the result of a tormented historical process. A process that led to the foundation [of this State], motivated by exalted ideals of faith and by a far-sighted awareness of the ends its was intended to serve".

  After highlighting how Pius XI was the "principal architect and protagonist of the Lateran Pacts", and "the true founder and primary builder of Vatican City State", Benedict XVI explained how that Pontiff "guided the Church in the difficult years between the two World Wars. ... He also had to face the difficulties and persecution which the Church suffered in such countries as Mexico and Spain, and the confrontation with the totalitarian regimes that arose and established themselves over those years".

  "Vatican City State, which came into being following the Lateran Pacts and in particular following the Lateran Treaty, was considered by Pius XI as a way of guaranteeing the Church her necessary independence from all human power, and giving her and her Supreme Pastor the chance to accomplish fully the mandate received from Christ the Lord".

  This eightieth anniversary, he went on, "is a reason to express our profound thanks to the Lord, Who guides the destiny of His Church in the often turbulent events of history, and assists His vicar on earth in carrying out his role of 'Christianae religionis summus Antistes'".

  Despite the fact that the "Civitas Vaticana" is "a minute and undefended State, possessing no fearsome armies, ... it has been and still is the centre of constant activities that radiate forth in favour of solidarity and the common good", he said.

  "Vatican City State, which contains treasures of faith, of history and of art, is custodian to a precious heritage for all humanity. From its heart, where the Pope lives near the tomb of Peter, there incessantly arises a message of true social progress, of hope, reconciliation and peace".

  The Pope concluded by expressing the hope that "Vatican City State may increasingly become a true 'city on the hill', illuminated by the sincerity and generous dedication of those who work there at the service of the ecclesial mission of Peter's Successor".
AC/ANNIVERSARY VATICAN CITY STATE/...            VIS 20090216 (440)

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