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Friday, September 17, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 16 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At 3.15 p.m. today, the Pope left Edinburgh by car for Bellahouston Park in Glasgow where he arrived an hour later. Having driven through the park, greeting and blessing the 70,000 faithful present, he celebrated Mass in honour of St. Ninian of Galloway, apostle of Scotland (360-432).

 Recalling John Paul II's historic 1982 visit during which he had called the faithful to walk hand in hand with their fellow Christians, the Pope noted how this "has led to greater trust and friendship with the members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others".

  Benedict XVI also greeted representatives of other Christian confessions present at the ceremony. "Let us give thanks to God", he said, "for the promise which ecumenical understanding and co-operation represents for a united witness to the saving truth of God's word in today's rapidly changing society".

  On the subject of education he noted how "in the last thirty years, and with the assistance of civil authorities, Scottish Catholic schools have taken up the challenge of providing an integral education to greater numbers of students".

  "I encourage the Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers of Scotland never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level", he said.

  "The evangelisation of culture is all the more important in our times, when a 'dictatorship of relativism' threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man's nature, his destiny and his ultimate good. There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatise it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister. For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, ... not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith's wisdom and vision in the public forum.

  "Society today", the Pope added, "needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility. Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation".

  Addressing Scottish bishops, Benedict XVI reminded them that one of their primary pastoral duties is the sanctification of priests. "Pray with them for vocations", he said.

  And he told Scottish priests that "you are called to holiness and to serve God's people by modelling your lives on the mystery of the Lord's cross. Preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience. Dedicate yourselves to God alone and you will become shining examples to young men of a holy, simple and joyful life: they, in their turn, will surely wish to join you in your single-minded service of God's people".

  The Pope concluded his homily with some remarks addressed to the young Catholics of Scotland. "There are", he noted, "many temptations placed before you every day - drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol - which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive. There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for Him, know Him and love Him, and He will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today's society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God".

  "I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life".

  After Mass, the Pope travelled by plane from Glasgow to London's Heathrow airport. From there he went to the apostolic nunciature where he spent the night.
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