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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUParliament Head Sassoli to EF on EU Future: Yes Citizens WebFora. No United Forum+Full Dialogue ?

EUParliament Head Sassoli to EF on EU Future: Yes Citizens WebFora. No United Forum+Full Dialogue ?

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 15 January 2020

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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking with "Eurofora" since Tuesday, at the Eve of MEPs' Vote for a landmark Resolution on Europe's Future Conference (2020-2021), EU Parliament's President, David Sassoli, clearly Highlighted, adding a Bright Smile, his acceptance of EU Citizens' Web Fora on Europe's Future, in view of the Forthcoming Conference of 2020-2022, according to Our Wider Project about Digital Public Debates with Politicians Before important Decisions are taken, (Comp., among others, also, f.ex.: ..., etc).

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+This Point was Confirmed also by the Experienced EU Parliament's Press/Communications' Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch, referring later "Eurofora" also to a relevant Draft Text tabled by 5 Mainstream Political Groups, (EPP, Soc., ReNew, Greens, Left), which Adds quite a lot in this Direction, (See Infra).

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However, these Welcome Moves do Not Yet go as far as to create a United and Permanent EU Citizens' Forum for that purpose, (not even during this 2020-2022 Conference), Neither a fully-fledged Dialogue between EU Citizens and Politicians Before Decisions, as "Eurofora"s project has advised, (even if some Steps were made in this regard, particularly thanks to the Last-Minute Adoption, in Wednesday's Votes, of a relevant Amendment : See Infra)...

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- Indeed, the Adopted EU Parliament's Resolution stresses from the outset that, as a matter of Principle, "this Conference process Should be an Occasion to closely involve EU Citizens in a Bottom-Up exercise, in which they are Listened to, and their Voices contribute to the Debates on the Future of Europe".


Also Because "there is a Need for EU Institutions to ReConnect with the Citizens", by "Facilitating (such) a Debate", "as the EU has ... become ...Remote from the Citizens", criticized a Draft Resolution tabled by the Conservatives/Reformists.


=> For that Purpose, inter alia, it's, in Addition, "a Listening Phase" which "should be initiated" "Prior to the launch of the Conference process", in order  to enable Citizens, from Across the EU, to express their Ideas, make Suggestions and propose their own Vision of what Europe means for them", the Adopted Resolution asks.


+ In this regard, "the Conference is an Opportunity ...to engaging Directly with Citizens in a meaningful Dialogue", where "Consultations should be organised using the most efficient, Innovative and appropriate Platforms, including OnLine tools (f.ex. Web Fora, etc), and should reach All parts of the EU, in order to guarantee that Any citizen can have a Say".

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But How exactly it should be Organized in this Conference for Europe's Future and relevant Deliberations, ...that's anOther Story !


F.ex., the Rightist MEPs of "ID" Group claimed, in their Draft Resolution, that "the most Effective, Fair and Indisputable way of involving the Citizens ... is Direct Democracy" !,  ("in particular, the use of Referendums")...


Nevertheless, Despite Ancient Greek Civilisation's charm and that of Switzerland's Nowadays, French President Macron's landmark Speech at Acropolis' Historic "Pnyx" Rock since 9/2017, "Pirate" Parties' recent breakthrough, and/or Contemporary Internet's Facilitation capacities, (etc), Nobody seriously suggested to Skip from InDirect to Direct Democracy in Europe now...


The Focus obviously is on EU Citizens' participation to the Decision-Making Process, mainly via Public Debates before final Decisions, along "Eurofora" Project's lines.


>>> But it still remains Restricted in Narrow margins, Not Yet Reaching its fully-fledged Dimension, at least as things stand until now :


- Thus, while EU Parliament's Resolution urges to create "a Plenary" Body for MEPs, Representatives of EU Council, EU Commission, National Parliaments, etc., due to work at EU-Level during All the process of the Conference for Europe's Future, Dealing with All its main aspects, taken Together, EU-Wide, (etc),


on the Contrary, Nothing Similar has been still foreseen for EU Citizens ! They are Divided, from the outset, into Various Thematic "Citizens' Agoras" with about 200-300 Different Members each, (a Wording Meaning "Speech" or ..."Market", in Ancient Greek ...), concerning only some Specific Issues, and being held at Various Locations.

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Since EU Citizens are Not considered, ipso facto, as Members of a Decision-making Body, (contrary to Direct Democracy etc.: Comp. Supra), Neither are they Elected to such a Collective Body, the remainining Question is how they are Otherwise "Selected", in order to eventually participate in any such Bodies :


- A very Large Majority in EU Parliament leaned towards "Pollster"-like Methods of ascertaining the "Representativity" of Selected EU Citizens, considering f.ex. their Age, Gender, Education, Job, Origin, etc., compared to the Average of the concerned Population, in relation to which they should be well "Balanced".


That "Selection" should be made by some (UnDefined) "Independent Institutions", and ..."Randomly", as it was Stressed by a Last-Minute Amendment, (Tabled by the "ReNew" and "Green" Groups), Adopted by EU Parliament on Wednesday.

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=> But the Most Important point obviously is what happens to the Outcome, i.e. the Conclusions of EU Citizens' verdict or views, inside a Public Decision-Making process.  


- It's naturally Good, from a Pluralist Democracy point of view, that "a Minority Opinion can be Voiced", (whenever the EU Citizens' Agoras canNot find an "Agreement by Concensus"), as the adopted Resolution says.


- However, Public Debate, Exchange of Arguments, and Vote by Majority being traditionaly the Cradle of Democratic Decision-Making, it's Difficult to Understand why that Resolution pushes aside Majority Decisions among EU Citizens, Obliging them to Focus, instead, Only on "Seeking to Find Agreement by Concensus" !


+ Moreover, it's Regrettable that a very Important Amendment, on the Key Issue of Democratic "Pluralism", Supported by 341 MEPs and almost 5 Political Groups, (in an Exceptional Unity of All the Right : mainstream "ChristianDemocrats/EPP", "Conservatives/Reformists", "ID" Rightists, as well as the "Left", and most "Independents", a few Socialists, etc), was finaly Droped, Only because of a Tiny Difference of just One (1) Vote : 341 to 342, (with 15 Abstentions)...


According to that Draft Amendment, "in all public Consultations related to the (Future of Europe) Conference process" ("Meetings", "Opinion Polling", "Social Media engagement initiatives", etc), Pluralism must be ensured" : I.e. "all Programmes, Speakers lists, Panels, Literature and Documents, etc. must be Balanced, and ensure that a great Variety of Differing Viewpoints is presented, reflecting the Diversity of Opinions in Europe, in order to Stimulate a profound Debate", as it stressed.


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>>> Now, concerning the Heart of the Matter : I.e. the Fate reserved to EU Citizens' Viewpoints inside the Future of Europe Conference, the adopted EU Parliament's Resolution simply speaks about a so-called "FeedBack Loup", where "the Conclusions" of "Thematic Agoras" (Comp. supra) of "Citizens and Youth", will be "Presented" to "the Conference Plenary" (Comp. Supra), by some "Representatives" of those "Agoras", "in order to ...Discuss" them with participating MEPs, EU Commissioners, Ministers, etc.


Nothing, or Few things were, Initially, said about What kind of "Discussion" this UnPrecedented collective Meeting, (obviously Crucial for the Future of Europe Conference's Success), might or should be...


EU Parliament's Draft Resolution had Only asked for "a Minimum of 2 Meetings of Each (Citizens or Youth) Thematic Agora, in order to Provide INPUT for the Conference Plenary, and Receive Global FEEDBACK (sic !) on the Deliberations" : This last point should be dealt with "in anOther Meeting, in DIALOGUE Format", it said, (using a potentialy Interesting, but still Vague expression).


+ At this point, a useful Last-Minute Amendment, (tabled by MEPs Paulo Rangel, vice-President of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, and Gabriele Bischof, Chair of the Workers' Group in CESE), Added that EU Citizens' (agoras') "conclusions" should "be TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT during the Deliberation in the Conference

Plenary", (Comp. Supra).


=> How Far can this go ? Could this Result into a Real "Dialogue" between EU Citizens and EU Institutions Before Decisions affecting People's Lives and/or Society at large, as "Eurofora"s Project (2006-2020) pleads for, (since it was Initially presented during an EU Parliament's Press Conference, together with the EU Commissioner and EU Parliament's vice-President in charge of Medias, as Early as already back on 2006 in Strasbourg) ?


In Fact, that "EuroFora"'s Project is Inspired by Both an Original, Pioneer Analysis of main points in Public Administrative Law, concerning developments on the Public Decision-Making Process, at Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Greece, etc., (at First Published in a Legal Research of more than 1.000 pages, chosen by the University of Strasbourg for a Prize destinated to PhD. Thesis, after a written Proposal by Professor Paul Amselek, of Paris II University, already since the Beginning of the 1980ies), and a Collective Project by European Journalists, Universitarians, EU Media Officers, etc, (that we Coordinated): "EIW", which was officially Accepted by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined in the framework of the Program "ESPRIT", for the Utilisation of Modern Communication Technologies in Innovative Activities in nowadays Society (1997). After the Creation of "EuroFora", back on 2007 (Comp. Supra), it was Highlighted also on the sidelines of a landmark 3 Days Conference organized at the University of Strasbourg by Dean Florence Benoit-Rohmer on 2010, Discussed also in the City of Strasbourg's Collective Meetings on Citizens' Participation between 2017-2019, proposed to COE's "World Forum of Democracy" forthcoming "Labos", (under the name "4 G" Project, for "Digital Dialogue in Democratic Decision-Making"), since 2019, and is part and parcel of a "Doctorat d'Etat" Research prepared under the Direction of President Jean Waline for publication after 2020.


- In Practice, the Main points are Public Administration's Obligation to Timely Warn Citizens about its Forthcoming Decisions which affect their Lives and/or Society at large, Collect their eventual Observations on that, and Reply to them, with a Correct, Legal, and Sufficient Motivation, well Before they Decide, withOut showing any Abuse, (under Supervision by a Judge), while keeping its own, more or less, Discretionary Power to Decide on the Substance of the issues at stake.

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Even if French President Emmanuel Macron recently declared, in his Press Conference on the conclusions of the latest, December 2019 EU Summit in Brussels, (Comp. "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot, f.ex., at: ..., etc), that IF any EU Treaty Change might, eventually, be Needed, particularly for Citizens' role in Europe's Future, then, he would be "Ready" to Advance in this direction, nevertheless, the current "Lisbon Treaty", (which just celebrated its 10th Anniversary), has already Provided for the necessary Legal Tools, including f.ex. Article 11 for "Regular" "Dialogue", between EU "Citizens"/Civil Society and EU "Institutions"on the "Acts" they take, (etc).


As for MEPs - Citizens relations, in fact, in the current context of EU Lisbon Treaty, they are far Away from being in Competition between them, f.ex. about Direct or Representative Democracy, etc : On the Contrary, there is often an interesting Potential for Cooperation and Solidarity among them !


- F.ex., if "Eurofora" Project is systematically applied, with MEPs-Citizens Debates Before Decisions, (i.e. at the Eve of each Plenary Session), then, one among its Consequences, would naturaly be the Augmentation of Medias' Interest for EU Parliament's subsequent activities, during its Plenary Session which follows, whose Press impact would grow...


+ Moreover, the alleged "Lack of Legislative Initiative" for MEPs nowadays, (one among the Issues expected to be discussed during the Future of Europe's Conference), seems, in Fact, to be either a Myth, at least partially, or a Self-Inflicted Wound, which could be easily Dissipated, in real Practice, if MEPs Started to Systematically use (and, therefore, Simplify) Lisbon Treaty's EU "Citizens Initiative", in order to Oblige the EU Commission to table the Draft Bills that they want ! Indeed, even the Smallest Political Group inside EU Parliament, (f.ex. that of the "Left", or "Greens", "ECR", etc), can Easily find at least 1 Million of its Fans in order to Sign a Topical Bill of interest to their own Party, among more than 512 Millions of Europeans (i.e. less than 1 out of 510)... And things could become much more Easier if they were Methodically Organized, and Often Used.


So that EU Citizens and MEPs can Become Allies for More and Better Democracy in the foreseable Future.

 


(.../...)


("Draft-News")


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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.

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- "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".

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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.
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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 :

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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.
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- "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 :

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

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"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.

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To Young People : "New Horizons"
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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".

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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.

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Invalides' plateau : "People chosen to become God's friends"
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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).

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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.

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Benedict at Lourdes : - "Become Light (even) in the Dark !"
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- "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.

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"<<- 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.

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(../..)

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