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Home arrow newsitems arrow Benedict's Source to revitalize Europe ? "The World needs Hope", Pope says pointing at Human Rights

Benedict's Source to revitalize Europe ? "The World needs Hope", Pope says pointing at Human Rights

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 17 September 2008


Benedict's "Source" to revitalize Europe : - "The World needs Hope", Pope says, calling to relaunch E.U. via Human Rights !

Paris - Lourdes - Strasbourg : 12 - 17 September 2008.

The vital need to re-launch Europe can be succesfully met by defending fundamental Human Rights of the People, said Pope Benedict XVI in his 1st speech in France, at his meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently chairs the EU.

Sarkozy replied by welcoming Christian and other religions' contribution to indispensable Public Debates on crucial issues which affect Human Dignity, Europe, even Humankind, as BioGenetics.

- "When Europeans will see and personally experience that the inalienable Rights of the Human Person .., those of their free Education, their Family life, their Work, ..their Religious Rights, ..are respected and promoted, then, these Europeans will fully understand the greatness of the European construction and will be actively involved in it", Benedict XVI stressed.

pope_benedict_salutes_with_sarkozy_elysee_400 pope_benedict_speaks_at_elysee_palace__sarkoy_hears_400

- "It's important that during France's EU Presidency, there is, indeed, a desire for the Church to contribute to protect Human Person's integrity, and I think that there is also a growing Conscience, beyond any polemics, to defend Human Rights, and, thus, contribute to ensure respect for Human Dignity", added to "EuroFora" the Pope's Spokesman, Vatican's Press Director Federico Lombardi.

- "Nobody really told us here that Lisbon Treaty was good for this or that reason to the People. They only told us that we "had" to ratify it, and tried to scare us, but failed", said 2 Irish pilgrims to "EuroFora", after 2 Majority Abstentions in 1999 and 2004 EU Elections and 3 "NO" to Referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005, followed by the Irish "No" in 2008, during a Decade of EU Crisis since the controversial Turkey EU- bid (1999-2008).

More than .."224 cases of Murders, Torture, "Disappearancies" or Destructions" by "agents of Turkish Security forces", where all those responsible for so heavy Crimes still remain scandalously unpunished, despite regular condemnations of Ankara by Strasbourg''s European Court of Human Rights from 1996 to 2008, were examined the same week by CoE's Ministers, who decided to launch a fresh call "urging" the Turkish Authorities to end this dangerous "virtual Impunity" of criminals, without comparison to European countries.

- "Why not Ukraine, instead of Turkey ?", asked EuroFora a Journalist from "Kiev : the city where it's enough to cross the streets in order to realize that it's a European town", as Sarkozy recently said, before solemnly declaring this week, together with Ukranian President Jushenko and EU Commission's chair Baroso, EU's "recognition that Ukraine is a fully European Country, linked to Europe by culture and History".


Europe's "Christian roots" and Values, with "openess and mutual respect" to other cultures and beliefs, were highlighted by Sarkozy in harmony with Benedict XVI.

The Human person should be protected "from his inception until his natural death", added the Pope, faithful to BioEthic principles defended by his predecessor and collaborator, John Paul II, of topical importance in France, Europe and the World today, as Sarkozy announced :

- "Fast and important progres in Genetic Science and procreation raise delicate BioEthical Questions to our Democracies", which "involve our view of Humans and Life, and can lead to Social Mutations. That's why they cannot remain only a business of experts", hestressed.

- "It's Politician's responsibility to set a proper framework for such Public Debates", as "France will do on BioEthics in 2009". "Religious and Philosophic traditions must take part, with their ideas and centuries' long experience : A positive Laicity is an open invitation to Dialogue", he said.

- "France engaged in Europe at another Debate on how to make Financial Capitalism more moral", and the "Social doctrine of the Church fits well what is at stake in modern Globalized Economy"

- "But, a "Real Dialogue is not for an elite of a Globalized world : It penetrates deep into the People : That's why Churches should actively participate : .. It's bringing New Oxygen to Public Debates", stressed Sarkozy.

- "Democracy must not be cut off Reason", which is "compatible with Faith", thanks to "the meeting between Christianism and Greek philosophy ", he added, referring to Pope's views. "It means to advance with logic arguments, search what's best and respect common principles of thinking :... It's an everyday need for Public Administration and the Political Debate", he added.
Pope Benedict's 1st visit to France looked like the start of a brillant, manifold demonstration that this was well-founded and could become true in the lives of the People : After its Theoretical foundations unfolded at a "speech to the world of Culture", inaugurating Bernadins' cultural centre, and its dogmatic instrument shaped at an address to the Clergy in the Historic Notre Dame' Cathedral, he started to resolutely reach out to the People :


The move went upwards like Bach's music : Begining with a call to more than fifteen thousand enthousiastic Youngsters gathered at Notre Dame's parvis with overnight celebrations, it gained strength in an impressive open-air Mass at Paris'central Invalides'area facing Alexander III's bridge, attended by more than 150.000 people, French Prime Minister Fillon, many Ministers, Foreign Ambassadors, etc, and culminated in a series of pan-European Mega-meetings at Lourdes 150th anniversary, together with all French Bishops, EU Commission's vice-Chairman Barrot, and some 200.000 enthousiastic People from all over Europe and beyond : After a Sea of Lights astonishingly braved Saturday Night's rain, an open-air mass at riverside fields among Pyrenees' Mountains Sunday Morning, was followed on Monday by a Sea of "Compassion" to those facing Health or Life threats, surrounded by an endless gathering of People, whose gigantic dimensions obviously surprised the organisers..

Meanwhile, Benedict had the occasion to speak to the French Priests at Notre Dame of Paris, and with the Bishops at Lourdes, where they prepare a crucial November plenary meeting, due to take important decisions on imminent EU debates and choices about Europe's identity, BioEthics, etc.
- "A new way of thinking about Laicity has become necessary", agreed the Pope with President Sarkozy at Elysee. While keeping the "distinction between Politics and Religion, to guarantee Citizens' Liberty", "religion is important for shaping Consciousness and contributing, together with others, to create a basic Ethical Consensus in society".

- "Searching Essential realities", (as "God" for christians), needs "Speech : "Logos" in greek, i.e. Reason", "able to shape a Community","with creative work transforming Human History". But "Dialogue" is instrumental for "Reason", because it's the way to "search" for Truth", in "Liberty", according to Greek Platonic Philosophy, with Socrates' dialectics. "Reason" implies "Spirit and Liberty", hence the polyphonic "Music" of "Dialogue", in a responsible, "well balanced" way, to avoid "destruction".

Starting with a "Dialogue between christians and intellectual or artistic movements" highlighted at Bernardins' Cultural Center. with former Presidents Chirac and Giscard d'Estain, UNESCO's chair Anastassopoulos, etc., as well as representatives of Muslim Communities, (including a separate Turkish), after contacts with Jews at Vatican's Embassy, the Pope turned towards the People :

To French Priests : "Church built on the rock" !


- Speaking to thousands of French Priests at Notre Dame's Cathedral, Benedict highlighted a solid "Church built on the Rock" of conscious and active persons, transmitting "a lively, energetic and sharp" "God's Speech, actively working on Human History".


"Praying together" with "representatives of Christian Churches and ecclesiastic communities", (as Orthodoxes, Armenians, Protestants, etc), he called "to reinforce the Unity of the church", against "any form of Division", around Holy Spirit', "the Word","Christ's Justice", and "Love" to fellow- humans : Essentials which "resume all holy scripts", as he said.

To Young People : "New Horizons"
To some 15.000 enthousiastic Young People at Notre Dame's parvis, along Seine's river, Benedict spoke about "the Energy of the Holy Spirit" and "the Mystery of the Cross" : - "The Holy Spirit opens New Horizons to Human Intelligence .. and makes it conscious of the real greatness of Christ's sacrifice, dying and resurecting for World's life".

Some "may slander you as crazy, laugh at you, or even persecute you. But, "the Holy Cross is a symbol of God's love", and "givesmoral strength" : "Witness of People's pains, it's at the same time, a precious, unique expression of their Hopes", he told them at Paris' dawn.

Invalides' plateau : "People chosen to become God's friends"
At the 1st open-air Mass in Paris' center area of Invalides, facing the Grand Palais, along the river Seine, during an impressive gathering of more than 150.000, French Prime Minister Fillon, Ministers Alliot-Marie, Bachelot, Dati, Jouyet, Assembly's President Accoyer, Senate's Chair Poncelet, former 1st Lady Bernadette Chirac, former Prime Minister Raffarin, many foreign Ambassadors, and other political personalities were present. (While earlier, from the Socialist opposition, Paris' Mayor Delanoye, artist Robert Hussein a.o. assisted at the Elysee meeting).





But the "Entry Song" focused on the "People chosen to become God's Friends". The September 11 mass was Dedicated to "Saint Chrysostomus, that great priest of Constantinople", with his "wonderful eloquence and great courage to face challenges", who "made out of despaired and godless people, a people of brothers", opening a possibility to "become all one complete entity", as Pope Benedict reminded.

- "Reason never enters in real contradiction with Faith", stressed Pope Benedict, who prepared his speeches for France during a short Summer rest at Brixen/Bressanone's Seminar, whose Library honors both "Faith and Science".. - "We must use not only our Reason, but also our Faith" : "Get away from Idolatry", "cupidity", "avidity for money, power or even knowledge deviating from essential aims", and other "falses appearances". and "build your Home on the Rock", "with the force that Holy Spirit gives to those who let it act in them", he said to the People of Paris.

Benedict at Lourdes : - "Become Light (even) in the Dark !"
- "Our World needs Hope", stressed Pope Benedict, addressing an impressive TorchLight procession at Lourdes' sanctuaries, where a Sea of Lights held by Hundreds of Thousands of People gathered at Pyrenee's Mountains from all over Europe astonishingly kept their flames despite a heavy Rain at a windy Dark Night...

- "150 years earlier (1858 - 2008), ..here, in the cave, ... a simple young girl, Bernadette .. saw a Light". "The everyday life of her Family was, however, made of Misery, Sadness, Sickness, Misunderstandings, Rejection and Poverty... It was hard to live in Jail". Today, "we think to all Human Beings who suffer : The innocent Victims who face Violence, War, Terrorism, Hunger, Injustices, Catastrophes, Hate and Oppression, Violations of Human Dignity and of their fundamental Rights, of their Liberty to act and think. We also think to those who face Familial problems, sufferings from Unemployment, Sickness, Infirmity, Isolation, or their situation as Immigrants, without forgetting those who suffer and die for the name of Christ", he said.

- "But the Shadows of the Earth, did not hinder Sky's Light to shine : <<The Light shines in the Dark>>" ..."A Way full of Light opens in Human History even in its Darkest moments" : ..."As Night falls, Christ tels us : <<- Keep your Lamps alight !>>."Hold a Light while walking in the Night .. sums up our condition as Christians on their way : "We need light, and we are called to become Light !", Benedict stressed to People setting in motion Lights, Flags and Songs with enthousiasm.


"<<- She looked at me as a Person, who speaks to another Person>>, the poor girl had noted."Light emerges from such a Dialogue", stressed the Pope : "A small Flame called Hope, Compassion and Tenderness dwells inside those who return after being moved by Lourdes' experience". "Christ .. entrusts us with the Mission to let the Light of Charity shine : To make of our Prayers an Act of Love to our brothers and to Fraternal Charity", he concluded.




At the Field : Cross' victorious sacrifice, by Love to Humanity, is a Vital Source breathing New Life to the World.
Full Sunlight marked the Next day : A bright Sunday morning Open-air Mass, at a riverside field among Pyrenees' Mountains, gathered some 200.000 People waving Flags from all over Europe, but also beyond (we found also Americans, Mexicans, etc), together with all French Bishops.


Benedict surprised everyone, entering "come una brezza leggera" ("like a light wind"), as the Bible's reading of his concluding Angelus at Brixen/Bressanone had warned since August : Among an exceptional silence, that let hear only the Wind blowing among the Trees and the River flowing between the Mountains and the field. When People started applauding, it was already too late : He had passed right in front of all Photographers, Journalists, and Priests, without most of them even realizing his sudden appearance !.. Bible's advise to be "always vigilent", had proved its wisdom in real practice..

- "Love's power is stronger than the Evil which threatens us". "In his Cross, Jesus took upon him the weight of all Sufferings and Injustices of our Humanity... all Humiliations, Discriminations and Tortures inflicted in many ares of the World to our brothers and sisters" "All People of good will, all those who suffer in their heart or body, are invited to lift their eyes to Jesus' victorious Cross to find the Source of life", said Benedict's strong message.

He called for a "ReNewal of our Communities' lives", for "a New Vigour, which can strengthen the Church to proclaim more audaciously the mystery of the Christ ...everywhere in the World" : 150 Years later (1858 - 2008) "this Jubilee, Breaths New Life to our mission : .. What is essential in Lourde's message", is that "Bernadette, girl of a very Poor Family, without Knowledge nor Power, weak in Health", was "chosen to transmit the message .. <<What you have hidden to Wisemen and Experts, you revealed it to Babies>>, says the Bible : "Christians are called ... to bear Witness and show Solidarity to all their Brothers in Humanity".

"Lourdes' 1st task is ..to welcome mainly those who are sick, poor, and all persons who suffer". "The Light emerging from Mary's face", "like a Mother who stands together with her children in their joys and their ordeals", "tels us that we are ..never abandoned". "She opens the doors of the World and of our History... to an Invincible Hope, refusing to hear those who claim that we are trapped by Fatality".

"The real Spring of Hope", where "every believer can contemplate the fullfilment of his vocation", is the gift of Mary's Maternal love "to all People of God", "in Simplicity, in Truth", "present among her People", he concluded at the Angelus.

To French Bishops : "Mission to engage in Debates"
Main "Contemporary Concerns" of the Church were addressed by Pope Benedict in a comprehensive speech to French Bishops gathered at their "Hemicycle" at Lourdes, where they use to take the most important decisions :

Stressing from the outset that they represent "One Church", "working in Unity" and "communion" with the Pope who "came to help revigorate their faith", he focused on some items at the center of their "triple mission : to educate, govern and sanctify".

- "Catechism is of paramount importance" : "It's first of all a matter of Substance, before being also a matter of Method", he observed. One must "grasp the whole" Christian doctrine, in a way "able to make it available to the Intelligence and the Heart of the People". By appealing "to the Heart of every Human being", God's word "renews" its message. But, already "Saint Paul" had "predicted" that "a time will come, when the multitudes will search those who calm their desire to hear always something new", and will "refuse to hear the Truth, turning to Mythical stories". <<Declare the Word, on time and (even) against the trend of the times>>, .. patiently and with the concern to educate People".

He told them to "be Close to the Priests", "with a special attention to those who are in difficulty, sick or aged", and "pay attention toi their Human, Intellectual and Spiritual formation, as well as to their means of existence". At the same time, they should "invite Young, and not so young, People to become Priests", by favoring and welcoming the religious vocations, based on the Holy Spirit for the necessary.... ".

Benedict also called French Bishops to "serve the Unity" of the Chruch, where "everyone should feel at home and never be rejected". On the "divine Liturgy", they could use both instruments of 1962 or 1970, but mainly "find, on time, solutions for the coat of the Church, not to be teared apart".

- "Families face today real Storms", and are like "Boats hit by Waves in the middle of the lake", he observed. But "the stable Union of a Man with a Woman", destinated to "happiness thanks to Children's birth", is "the base of Society" and "the living Cell of the Church", particularly when it's "impregnated by Spirit and Values". That's why, he "encouraged" their "efforts to ...help Families", and to "maintain the Principles of .. Mariage", by "staying Faithful" to the moto that "whoever was united by God, will not be separated by Man". "Certainly, nobody can deny the trials, sometimes very painful, that face some couples in difficulty", which should be "escorted, helped and encouraged". On the "particularly painful issue of those divorced and remarried, the Church should maintain the Principle that Marriage is not dissolved", but "cover with the outmost Affection those who cannot respect it, for various reasons".

- "Young People"s "admirable freshness of Soul" and "enthousiasm" deserve to be "at the center of your concerns". They "applauded my predecessor (John Paul II) when he told them, at the Parc des Princes, that <<Moral Permissivity doesn't make Man happy>>. "The Holy Spirit should speak to the Heart of all faithful, ... to give them anew a taste of Life according to criteria of Real Happiness".

- "The Identity of Nations", as also of Europe, "should not disappear in an amorphous magma : .. It exists thanks to Culture". We "should find new ways to live the Values on which was built this Identity", like the "Christian roots of France" and Europe, as President Sarkozy noted earlier at the Elysee.

"The Church is a Community based on Convictions, conscious of its Responsibilities", "Free to speak and engage in Dialogue, with the desire to build a common Liberty". It "does not want to substitute itself to any State", but "to have a healthy Cooperation with the Political community, conscious and respectful of the Independance and Autonomy of each, in their own domains", serving the personal and social Human development", said Benedict, inviting to revive the "Dialogue between Church and the State", extensible also to new points whenever needed.

"The promotion of Unity among Christians", via Ecumenism, and the Interreligious Dialogue" with Jews and Muslims, are "differend", but both "search the Truth". "Building Bridges between Christians", and "Dialogue with other Religious traditions, need reciprocal Knowledge". Among various initiatives, "we should find those who favor mutual Respect and Knowledge, as well as Dialogue, avoiding deadlocks. Good Will is not enough. It's better to start by listening, afterwards to theologic discussion, and then arrive to testimony and announcement of faith".


After the Czech (next EU Chair) and Greek Ambassadors, early first at Invalides (since Pope reminded the Greek founder of French Church, Lyon's Bishop Irenee : 2nd century A.C.), and the "common prayer" with Christian Orthodoxes, Protestants, Armenians etc. at Notre Dame (See Photo in page 1)...


.. while meeting with Jewish Religious people, (starting at Elysee and continuing at the Nunciatura)..


.. and contacting Muslim Religious communities' representatives (near the Arab World Institute, at Bernandins), the Pope was busy also on "building bridges" and "dialogue" (See text).

"The Global, MultiCultural and MultiReligious Society in which we live is an opportunity ... to declare the Truth and practice Love in order to attain every Human being, ... even beyond the visible Church".- "Today, we should work for a real, spiritual Liberation !", Pope Benedict concluded.

"God's strength was always deployed in what was weak". "People need to know that their lives have a meaning, and that.. they are expected to share Christ's glory in heavens". "Your mission is to bring the People that God entrusted to you, towards the recognition of that glorious aim", attracting "a growing number of men and women of our times"


After Cross' Procession, Sunset at the Field : Pray as Foucault, and "Go tell it to the World !"
- "Walking or Suffering, walking in Joy or in the Desert, Lord take us in your infinite Love, that of a Father to his Son, and of a Son to his Father", he said at the last Mass at Lourde's field, after Cross' procession, on Sunday's sunset.

- "150 Years after the revelation made here to a poor girl, Bernadette, Holy Mary, help us today to contemplate and to love more", here, in front of the Cave and the Church you asked for, where an Immense, Invinsible Croud of Witnesses stands on our side, made of all those who contemplated and loved Him who loved Humans so much that he gave them even his last drop of blood", prayed the Pope.

- "If Christ lives inside us, what else do we need ? .. We are glad to be his Home !", as Saint Nicolas Cabasilas said.

- "My Father, I entrust my life to you. .. Make of me whatever you like, I'm ready for everything, .. if your will is accomplished inside me and ..in all those that you love, ..with an endless trust", concluded the Pope, citting a famous prayer of Charles de Foucault, Sahara's missionary, 150 Years after his birth (1858) in Strasbourg.


A golden Sun was going deep into Pyrenees' Mountains, when Benedict disappeared, only to ...re-appear suddenly right in front of our eyes, closer than ever, with an unforgettable Father's smile :

- "He recognized !", said a Young Lady, fellow Journalist from Rome, with whom we stood side by side. - "Our Photo machine went off at the best moment !", we complained. - "You'll never need a Photo to remember that !", she replied..
Concluding open-air Mass : Human Compassion attracts more People than expected !


Next Morning, before Pope's departure from Lourders, it was an obvious Surprise :
Organizers had obviously expected less People on a busy Monday morning, than during the week-end, and had reserved most of the Sanctuaries' space only to those who suffered in their Health, surrounded by Priests, pushing the free space for pilgrims far away..
But People got them by surprise : Endless, growing numbers of People gathered around, forming a huge compact Group with an unexpected Density and Proportions spreading out of sight !..

- "Christ is not a Medical Doctor in the same way as in the common World. To heal us, he doesn't stay out of the sufferings we feel. He alleviates it by coming to live inside those who face sickness, to help bear it. His presence stops the Isolation provoked by pain. Man does not bear alone his ordeal, no more. But, as a suffering member of Christ, he takes part, in Him, at the birth of the new creation".

- "Bernadette, herself of a weak Health, received the Sacrament 4 times. Its grace is to welcome Christ as a Medical Doctor inside ourselves"*

- "The Church is called to pay as much attention to persons who suffer, as Mary". "Let those who bear God's mercy, always feel, in this important and delicate mission, the effective and fraternal Help of Christian Communities", said Pope Benedict, blessing personally many suffering people, with respect and affection for each Human person, one by one.

Dedicating his impressive concluding open-air Mass at Lourdes' Sanctuaries to
"all those who are moved by the sufferings in the World", he succeeded to move much more People than thought !



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