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Monday, March 30, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 28 MAR 2009 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received 7,000 young volunteers of the Italian "Servizio Civile".

  The Pope thanked them for the generosity with which they carry out their mission of peace. Commenting then on the final part of the Vatican Council II Pastoral Constitution "Guadium et spes", which focuses on the subject of peace among peoples, he remarked: "unfortunately wars and violence are unending, and the search for peace is always arduous.

  "At a time marked by the danger of possible planetary conflict", he added, "Vatican Council II - with this text - made a strong condemnation of the arms race". The Council Fathers made it clear, he said, that "new approaches based on reformed attitudes must be taken to remove this trap and to emancipate the world from its crushing anxiety through the restoration of genuine peace".

  "Today, as then, the true conversion of hearts is the right way, the only way, that can lead each of us, and humanity entire, to the peace we all long for".

  "Be, then", Pope Benedict told the young people, "always and everywhere, instruments of peace, decisively rejecting selfishness and injustice, indifference and hatred, in order to spread ... justice, equality, freedom, reconciliation, acceptance and forgiveness in all communities".

  "Each of you", the Holy Father went on, "through your experience of voluntary work, can reinforce your social awareness, achieve a closer knowledge of people's problems and become an active promoter of true solidarity. The main objective of the Italian national 'Servizio Civile', is clearly an educational one: to teach the young generations to cultivate a sense of responsibility towards people in need and the common good".

  "Life is a mystery of love", Benedict XVI told the young volunteers, "which is more truly our own the more we donate it; or rather, the more we donate our own self, making a gift of ourselves, our time, our resources and our qualities for the good of others".

  "May this", he concluded, "always be the logic of your lives. Not just now when you are young, but also tomorrow when you hold - I hope - important positions in society and form a family. May you remain people ready to sacrifice yourselves for others, willing even to face suffering for good and for justice".
AC/.../VOLUNTEER SERVIZIO CIVILE                        VIS 20090330 (400)

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