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Inicio arrow newsitems arrow 1st PACE President from Cyprus Kyriakides among Czech President Zeman +CoESG Jagland moves on Russia

1st PACE President from Cyprus Kyriakides among Czech President Zeman +CoESG Jagland moves on Russia

Escrito por ACM
10.10.17
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- After stressing to Journalists her "Firm Belief to Human Rights" and her Intention to "treat All CoE's Member States Equally", the New CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly's (PACE) President, for the 1st Time in History from Cyprus, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Stella Kyriakides' initial interventions emerged among CoE's Committee of Minister's President-in-office (for May - November 2017), Czech President Milos Zeman's, and CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland's Topical Statements on Russia :


Leading during 3 Rounds, Kyriakides finally Won a Competition vis a vis the Mainstream, Long-Time MEP Emanuelis Zingeris, from Lithuania, with a Majority of More than 130 against about 90 Votes. Zingeris was the Official Candidate of PACE's Biggest Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, endorsed also by several Liberals. While Kyriakides, who comes also from the Same Group (EPP), was endorsed even by Socialist, Leftist, Conservative and Liberal MEPs, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeassemblynewpresidentvote.html )

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(Stella Kyriakides + Emaniuelis Zingeris, with Axel Fischer, EPP Chairman - Photo Eurofora)

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+ In her Brief, Inauguration Speech, this Afternoon, she Promised "Calmness, consensus, Credibility and Unity", Fight "against Corruption" and for "Ethics", with "the Support of All Political Groups, the Secretary General, and the Staff of the CoE", at this "ExtraOrdinary Time", full of "Chalenges and Responsiblities". as she said.


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Starting to Chair her 1st PACE Debate on MEPs' Questions to CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, President Kyriakides topically reminded the fact that, recently, "the Russian Federation – informed us that it was Suspending the payment of the remaining (2/3) parts of its 2017 Financial contribution to the Organisation’s Budget", and observed that CoE's "Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly bear a Shared responsibility for preserving the Organisation’s Unity and effective Capacity", so that they "Need to Work Together".


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=> Therefore, (just 1 Day before an Exceptional CoE's Assembly - Committee of Ministers' meeting, due to take place Tomorrow, Wednesday Afternoon), she immediately Incited Jagland to present Today his "View on that Issue" to PACE's Public Debate.


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Czech President MILOS ZEMAN (CoE's Chair)
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But, Meanwhile, it's already the Chairman-in-office of COE's Highest Political body : that of its Committee of Ministers, currently the experienced President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, who had Just had such an Opportunity, to present his own View on that Same Topical Matter to MEPs, by a Timely "Coincidence", only a Few Hours Earlier Today :


- Indeed, Replying from the outset to a Similar Question (on EU + COE's various "Sanctions" to Russia), Zeman went Right to the point :


- This is "probably (the) most Important question" nowadays at CoE's PanEuropean dimension, he observed.


 - "Political Old-Timers", like me, "have plenty of Experiences", and "mine is that it is very difficult to make friends, and very easy to invent enemies"...


- Still Today, "Europe is a continent Divided by many lines. One of those Lines is between Russia and the rest of Europe – the EU" Even if it might not be a mere "Repetition of the (former) <<Iron Curtain>>", nevertheless "there is still a Division Line".


- Concerning "Sanctions", President Zeman described a real anecdote, when, "Approximately 20 years ago, I visited Miami and met Cuban Exiles. I told them, “Your Strategy against the political system in Cuba is wonderful. All those Boycotts, Embargoes and Sanctions ! ....with 1 small Mistake: Fidel Castro has been the President of Cuba for 40 Years"...


 - "I am Not discussing the Justification for Sanctions; I am discussing the Efficiency of sanctions. Just today, the German newspaper, Die Welt, published an article saying that the EU Loses out from the sanctions, which do practically No Damage to Russia. We all speak about <<Win-Win>> strategies, but that is a <<Lose-Lose>> strategy !", he Denounced.


>>> Indeed, this was exactly the Finding also of Experienced OECD's Head, Angel Guria, when he Replied, already some Years Earlier, here in Strasbourg (that he was Visiting also Today, for the Traditional Annual PACE's Debate on OECD's Economic Outlook), to a relevant Question raised then by "Eurofora" on the Repercussions of EU/USA "Sanctions" against Russia, to the Detriment of EU's Economic Growth :  - Guria had clearly Acknowledged the Fact that such Controversial Moves Hindered EU's Growth Potential, and Lowered considerably its level down, Warning for Negative Consequences at the immediate Future, (See ....).


=> - "Instead of sanctions, I recommend Communication between People, at many levels", Zeman suggested, speaking as a matter of General Principle. F.ex.,,"We need the exchange of students, tourists, entrepreneurs, politicians and so on, because that alone may Change the politics of the countries we understand to be non-democratic or semi-democratic", he proposed Widely.


+ "I will give one more example against sanctions :  If you wish to increase the Popularity of Leaders – I am not speaking only about Mr Putin – then apply sanctions and blockades. Psychologically, there is the Myth of the <<Surrounded Fortress>>. That myth Needs a Strong Leader, and Mr Putin’s Popularity is growing all the time. He has an 81% Popularity rating, and I am sure that a substantial part of that has been provoked just by sanctions"...


=> - "To Conclude is very simple: I believe that the role of the CoE is to strengthen the Friendship between European Nations. To quote (Hostoric former French President) Charles de Gaulle : - Europe is a continent that stretches “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. It perhaps stretches to the Pacific Ocean", he reminded, GeoPolitically speaking.


+ In addition, "You canNot Divide European Culture from Russian Culture :" F.ex., "Tchaikovsky is as important as Beethoven. Dostoevsky is as important as Shakespeare. Solzhenitsyn is as important as Hemingway, and so on. Why (then) try to Divide the Political structure of Europe, if you would be Against the Division of European Culture ?", he critically wondered.

 

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>>> "That is why I believe that the CoE's endeavour towards Friendship, and Not Hostility and Hatred, among European Nations – including Russia – will be Successful in the Long term", President Zeman concluded optimistically.

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 - Concerning Moscow's recent Refusal to Pay a part of its Contribution, as long as Russian MEPs' Rights are not Guaranteed in PACE, he wondered :

- "If you don't have Russian representatives in this Assembly, then, Why Pay the Money for an Organisation to which you do Not Participate ? It's a very Simple Question".


  - "It is, they told, me, approximatvely 10% of the (CoE's) Total Budget : an Enormous Amount of Money".


=> - "But, if you want to Change the Attitude of any Human Person, or every State, it Must be Present in a Dialogue", Zeman advised.


 >>>  - Because, "if it is Excluded from the Dialogue", as "Taylerand said : <<It is Worse than a Crime : It is a Mistake !...>>", he strongly Denounced, as a matter of General Principle.


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+ However, he added, immediately afterwards, in Reply also to anOther Question, raised, on behalf of PACE's Biggest Political Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, by Lithuanian MEP Vareikis, about "Imposing Sanctions for Morality, or ... Lifting Sanctions for Business Interest", as he had said, President Zeman rectified more precisely :


- "If you compare Moral policy, with so-called <<Real-Politik>> – a German term – you are sometimes unhappy that moral policy has nearly no success. But still, deep in my heart, I believe, (even if I support the economic interest), that withOut protection of Human Rights, any Business is Only a Short-term one", he Warned, as a matter of General Principle.


+ This Key point (by Zeman) was furher Developed, shortly Afterwards Today, by Jagland (See Infra) :


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CoE's S.G. JAGLAND
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+ Concerning, now, various other MEPs' Questions on Russia to CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, around PACE New President Kyriakides', abpve mentioned querry (Comp. Supra), things became even More Concrete :


- "If you see this (Russia's Decision to "Freeze" 2/3 of its Annual Financial Contribution to CoE's Budget, until Russian MEPs' Rights are Guaranteed inside PACE : Comp. Supra),  as a Financial problem, you get it Wrong", Jagland warned.


- "It is of course a Challenge for us if a member State does not pay its fee. That is simply unacceptable; we cannot have member States that do not finance the budget. If a member State does not finance the budget, it cannot be a member. It causes a financial problem – but that can be overcome. If you are referring to the Russian Federation, that is 10% of the budget, and that means we have to restructure the Organisation and reduce staff by 10%. That is clear and it can be done", he found.


>>>  - "But we are looking into Why we have this Crisis, and we are trying to Solve it, because it has a Wider Political Implication : - We have to ask ourselves whether we want to have a CoE with, or withOut Russia !", Jagland resumed sharply...


=>  "For me, the Central Question goes to the Core mandate of the CoE– namely, to Protect Citizens in our member States. I want to see all our member States on board so that we can Use all our Instruments to Protect Human Rights in Russia, as well as in all other countries. That is what the whole Issue is about".


   - Indeed, "Our (CoE's)  Mission is to see how we can Use our Instruments in the best way. If a member State does not want to be a member, it is up to them, but we will do what we can to keep our member States under the European Convention on Human Rights, and the European Court of Human Rights, because we want to Protect the rights of their Citizens", Jagland stressed.

 
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     -  So that, "If we look at this from a Financial point of view, we get it Wrong". But, "If we look at it from a Political point of view, and a Human Rights point of view, it should be possible to Solve the problem", he concluded.


  - In fact, "that is what I am trying to do as the highest elected official of the COE, who is responsible for the whole Organisation : F.ex., I will see to it that all elected (CoE's) Officials are Elected with the Votes of All member States. That is a Crucial matter", Jagland stressed.


     - Nevertheless, "having said all that, it is Not Easy when a member State says, “We do not want to pay if this or that does not happen.” Because, as a matter of General Principle, "Nobody should act under Economic Pressure – that is totally Out of the question. That is why we need to have a Wider perspective, on what we are dealing with here", he advised Cautiously.


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    + Meanwhile, at least from the immediate Practical point of view, "on the CoE's) Budget, we are handling the fact that the Russian Federation has Not Paid for the last part of this year. We are doing that in a responsible way".   

 
     - But, "if it does not pay for Next Year (2018), we will be in a much More Serious situation, Politically as well as Financially", CoE's SG warned.


    => "We (CoE) are, of course, thinking about how to handle it. Ultimately, it will be in the hands of the Committee of Ministers, which is responsible for the Budget. But, right Now, I am Focusing on finding aSolution to the problem", he revealed.


    - And "We (COE's Secretariat) are acting in a very Responsible way. .. We have a very Competent Secretariat, that is Able to Work out Solutions", Jagland concluded Optimistically, But Enigmatically, withOut yet opening all his cards in public...


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    + But he was Urged, Later-on, by pro-Kiev Government Ukranian MEP Sobolev, to respond to his Claims against Russia "Occupying Transnistrian Moldova" and "20% of Georgia's territory", pushing "Annexation of Crimea : Not Respecting ECHR's Judgements", etc. Moreover, "they do Not Pay money to this Organisation, or Adhere to its main Principles. They have Violated their Obligations". But, "What is your answer? To let them be a full member of this Organisation?", that MEP critically wondered.


 - "You asked me what the Answer was, and whether it was to offer the Russian Federation full Membership of the CoE", Jagland resumed. But, "Actually, the Russian Federation IS a full Member, takes part in all our integral activities and comes under the ECHR", he observed.


 - "It is true that several (ECHR) Judgments have Not yet been implemented, but the Russian Federation is Not First on the list for Non-Implementation of Court Judgments", CoE's SG put it mildly...


 >>> Indeed, "Eurofora"'s co-Founder will Never Forget an Exceptionally Important Press Conference by CoE's Director of Human Rights and, then, PanEuropean Commission on Human Rights' Secretary General, who had Strongly Denounced, for the 1st Time in Public, that a Serious Problem of Non-Implementation of ECHR's Judgements, Not even in Cases of Blatant and Brutal, Massive Violations of Human Rights, including Killings, Torture, Arbitrary Deprivations of Liberty and/or UnFair Trials, Massive Violations of Freedom of Speech, Destructions of Family Homes, Violent Massive Displacement of Populations, etc.

>>> It all was about Turkey ! And it was, then, as Early as ...1995 : I.e. Russia had Not eve Adhered, yet, into the CoE, (while Turkey, on the Contrary, had been Full Member -and Still is, withOut any Interruption- since the "Cold War" era of 1949-195O's Past)...


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 + Moreover, as a matter of General Principle, "while there are severe Problems in Many of our member Countries, it is (also) important not to overlook what Participation and presence in the CoE, and being under the Convention (on Human Rights) have Contributed to their Citizens", Jagland pointed out.


 - "F.ex., the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has Improved prison Conditions in Russia, as well as many other countries. With our (CoE's) Help, the Russian Federation got a New Civil Court, and a New Penal court. Many Shortcomings remain ... : the Conflict with Georgia, the Problems in Transnistria and in Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea", etc. However, reSolving those Conflicts is Not - first and foremost - in the hands of the CoE, but in processes that the UNO Security Council has mandated", he criticized.  


=> "Our (CoE's) Mandate is to Protect Human Rights in All the (47) Member States, and we should Not Give up on that, Despite the Conflicts !", CoE's Secretary General stressed, as a matter of General Principle.

    +  "We Should also bear it in mind that, although we do Not take a Direct part in reSolving Conflicts, our protection of Human Rights Contributes to it :"


 - "F.Ex.:, the <<Good Friday>> Agreement in Northern Ireland was Based on the fact that the (HR) Convention applies in Northern Ireland. That also applies to the <<Dayton>> Agreement. The more we can apply our Standards in Areas of Conflict, the Better it will be (also) for reSolving them. I see no other way: the CoE has to work on that basis.
- "Otherwise, we could say, “Yes, these conflicts exist” and Give Up... But I do Not recommend that", CoE's SG pointed out.


-----------------------------------


    - Finaly, Austrian MEP Koh observed the Fact that "Article 1 of the Statute of the COE  states that its task and Duty is to create “greater Unity” between Member States". => How would you interpret that in terms of our relationship with Russia ... ?", he asked.


    – For Jagland, "it's true that the Purpose of the CoE is to create greater Unity between member States and on the continent as a whole. We (CoE do that first by getting all member States to Comply with the standards in the legal space of the ECHR. By Harmonising Laws, we get Nations to come Closer to each other. That is why I always stress the need to Abide by the Rulings of the ECHR. Usually the Court issues Compensation to the person Affected by the Violation, and, then, General Measures Change the Laws or Practices that led to that Violation. By implementing the Court’s judgments, all member States Change their legislation in the direction of the ECHR. We are coming Closer to each other because of that process. That is Unity".


      + "We (CoE) also foster Unity through many Other means, including Culture, Sport, and this (Parliamentary) Assembly, in which people can Speak to each other", CoE's SG added.


    => "First and foremost, however, the Aim of the CoE is to strengthen the Legal space constituted by the ECHR", Jagland stressed in Conclusion, (precisely when some reportedly, just went as far as to Urge Russia to Refuse to abide with ECHR, as long as Russian MEPs' participation and voting Rights are Not Guaranteed inside PACE)...


(../..)

 

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("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be published asap). 

 

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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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