Benedict XVI visit to diocese of San Marino, Italy

 

On World Refugee Day
"Guarantee a Welcome and Dignified Living Conditions for Refugees"

SERRAVALLE, San Marino, JUNE 19, 2011 - Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today in Italian and French before praying the Marian prayer of the Angelus after celebrating Mass in the Olympic Stadium of Serravalle at the beginning of his one-day trip to the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro.

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[In Italian, he said:]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we conclude this celebration, the midday hour invites us to turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary. Also in this land, our Most Holy Mother is venerated in various shrines, ancient and modern. To her I entrust all of you and the whole Sammarinese and Montefeltrina population, in a particular way persons suffering in body and spirit. At this moment I address a special thought of gratitude to all those who cooperated in the preparation and organization of my visit. My heartfelt thank you!

[In French, he said:]

I am happy to recall that today in Dax, France, Sister Marguerite Rutan, Daughter of Charity, has been proclaimed blessed. In the second half of the 18th century she worked with great commitment in the hospital in Dax, but in the tragic persecution following the Revolution, she was sentenced to death for her Catholic faith and fidelity to the Church.

I participate spiritually in the joy of the Daughters of Charity and of all the faithful who, in Dax, are taking part in the beatification of Sister Marguerite Rutan, luminous witness of the love of Christ for the poor.

[In Italian, he said:]

Finally, I wish to remind that tomorrow is World Refugee Day. On this occasion, this year we mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the international convention to protect those who are persecuted and forced to flee their own countries. I urge civil authorities and all people of good will to guarantee a welcome and dignified living conditions for refugees, until they can freely and safely return to their homeland.

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Papal Homily at Mass in Serravalle's Olympic Stadium
"The Unity Created By Love Is a Greater Unity Than a Merely Physical One"

SERRAVALLE, San Marino, JUNE 19, 2011 - Here is a translation of the homily Benedict XVI delivered today during a public Mass celebrated at the Olympic Stadium of Serravalle at the beginning of his one-day trip to the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro.

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Dear brothers and sisters,

It is my great joy to be able to break the bread of God's Word and the Eucharist with you, and to address to you, dear people of San Marino, my most cordial greeting. A special thought goes to the Captains Regent and to the other political and civil authorities present at this Eucharistic celebration. With affection, I greet your Bishop Luigi Negri, and thank him for the kind words he addressed to me; with him, I also greet all of the priests and faithful of the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro. I greet each one of you and I express to you my heartfelt gratitude for the kindness and affection with which you have welcomed me.

I have come to share with you in the joys and hopes, the efforts and commitments, the ideals and aspirations of this diocesan community. I know that, also here, difficulties, problems and concerns are not lacking. I want to assure everyone of my closeness and my remembrance of you in prayer, and I unite to this my encouragement to persevere in your witness to human and Christian values, which are so profoundly rooted in the faith and history of this land and its people, with their granite-like faith, of which His Excellency spoke.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity: God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the feast day of God -- of the center of our faith. When we think of the Trinity, the aspect of mystery most often comes to mind: they are Three and they are One, one only God in three Persons. In reality, God in His greatness cannot be other than a mystery for us, and yet He has revealed Himself: we can know Him in His Son, and so also know the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Today's liturgy instead draws our attention not so much to the mystery, as to the reality of love that is contained in this first and supreme mystery of our faith. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one, because [they are] love, and love is the absolute life-giving force; the unity created by love is a greater unity than a merely physical one. The Father gives all to the Son, the Son receives all from the Father with gratitude; and the Holy Spirit is like the fruit of this reciprocal love of the Father and the Son.

The texts of today's Holy Mass speak of God and, therefore, speak of love. They dwell not so much upon the mystery of the three Persons, as they do upon the love which constitutes their substance and unity and trinity in the same moment.

The first passage we heard was taken from the Book of Exodus -- I looked at it in a recent Wednesday catechesis -- and it is surprising that the revelation of God's love occurs after the people have sinned gravely. The Covenant pact has just been concluded at Mount Sinai, and already the people fail in fidelity. Moses' absence lengthens, and the people say: "But where has this Moses gone, and where is his God?" And they ask Aaron to make them a god that is visible, accessible, manageable, within man's reach, instead of this invisible, distant, mysterious God. Aaron consents and fashions a golden calf. Coming down the mountain, Moses sees what has occurred and breaks the tables of the Covenant -- which is already broken, ruptured -- two stones on which were written the "Ten Words," the concrete content of their pact with God. All seems lost, the friendship, right from the beginning -- already broken.

And yet, in spite of the people's very grave sin, God -- through Moses' intercession -- decides to forgive and invites Moses to reascend the mountain to receive again His law, the Ten Commandments, and to renew the pact. Moses then asks God to reveal Himself, to let him see His face. But God does not show His face; rather, He reveals His being, filled with goodness, with these words: "The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:8). And this is the Face of God. God's definition of Himself manifests His merciful love: a love that conquers sin, covers it, eliminates it. And we can always be secure in this goodness, which never leaves us. There can be no clearer revelation. We have a God who abandons destroying the sinner and who wants to manifest His love in a still more profound and surprising way, precisely before the sinner, in order to offer [him] the possibility of conversion and forgiveness.

The Gospel completes the revelation that we hear about in the first reading, because it indicates to what point God has shown His mercy. The Evangelist John relates this expression of Jesus: "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish by have eternal life" (John 3:16). In the world there is evil, there is egoism, there is malice, and God could come to judge this world, to destroy evil, to castigate those who work in darkness. Instead He reveals His love for the world, His love for man, despite his sin, and He sends what is most precious to Him: His only-begotten Son. And not only does He send Him, but He makes Him a gift to the world. Jesus is the Son of God who was born for us, who lived for us, who healed the sick, forgave sins, welcomed everyone. Responding to the love that comes from the Father, the Son gave His very life for us: on the Cross God's merciful love reaches its culmination. And it is on the Cross that the Son of God obtains for us a participation in eternal life, which is communicated to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. And so, in the mystery of the Cross, the three divine Persons are present: the Father, who gives His only-begotten Son for the salvation of the world; the Son, who carries out the Father's plan to the very end; the Holy Spirit -- poured out by Jesus at the moment of death who comes to make us sharers in the divine life, to transform our existence, so that it might be animated by divine love.

Dear brothers and sisters! Faith in the Trinitarian God has also characterized this Church of San Marino-Montefeltro throughout the course of its ancient and glorious history. The evangelization of this land is attributed to the stonecutting Saints Marino and Leone, who in the middle of the third century after Christ, arrived in Rimini from Dalmatia. For their holiness of life, they were consecrated -- the one a priest, the other a deacon -- by Bishop Gaudentius, and they were sent by him to the inland, one to Mount Feretro, which then took the name of San Leo, and the other to Mount Titano, which then took the name San Marino. Beyond the historical matters -- which is not our task to go into -- it is worth affirming how Marino and Leo brought new perspectives and values into the context of this local reality, with faith in the God who had revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, establishing the birth of a culture and of a society centered on the human person -- the image of God, and therefore the bearer of rights that precede all human legislation. The variety of the different ethnicities -- Romans, Goths, and then Lombards -- that came in contact with them, at times in very conflicting ways, found in the common reference to the faith a potent element for ethical, cultural, social, and in some sense, political edification. It was evident to their eyes that a project for the building of civilization could not be considered complete until all of the elements constituting the people had become a living Christian community, well structured and well built upon faith in the Trinitarian God.

Rightly, therefore, can we say that the wealth of this people, your wealth, dear people of San Marino, was and is the faith, and that this faith created a truly unique society. In addition to this faith, it is also necessary to remember [San Marino's] absolute fidelity to the Bishop of Rome, to whom this Church has always looked with devotion and affection, as well as its attention to the great tradition of the Eastern Church, and its profound devotion to the Virgin Mary.

You are rightly proud and grateful for all the Holy Spirit has accomplished down the centuries in your Church. But you also know that the best way to appreciate an inheritance is by cultivating and enriching it. In reality, you are called to develop this precious deposit in one of the most decisive moments in history. Today, your mission is met by the necessity of confronting profound and rapid cultural, social, economic, and political changes that have determined new trends and modified mentalities, customs and sensibilities. Also here, in fact, as elsewhere, difficulties and obstacles are not wanting, due above all to hedonistic models that darken the mind and risk annihilating morality altogether. The temptation has crept in to hold that a man's wealth is not the faith, but his personal and social power, his intelligence, his culture and his ability to scientifically, technologically and socially manipulate reality. And so, also in these lands, some have begun to substitute the faith and Christian values with presumed riches that, in the end, reveal their emptiness and their inability to hold up to the great promise of the true, the good, the beautiful and the just which, for centuries, your ancestors identified with the experience of the faith.

We should not forget, then, the crisis of not a few families, which is aggravated by the widespread psychological and spiritual frailty of married couples, as well as the hardships experienced by many educators in obtaining formative continuity for the young who are conditioned by many uncertainties, first among them [the uncertainty of] their role in society and of the possibility of work.

Dear friends! I am well aware of the commitment of each element of this particular Church to promoting the Christian life in its various aspects. I exhort all of the faithful to be as leaven in the world, showing yourselves -- whether in Montefeltro or in San Marino -- as Christians who are present, resourceful and coherent. May priests, and men and women religious, always live in heartfelt and effective ecclesial communion by helping and listening to their diocesan pastor. The urgency of a renewal in vocations to the priesthood and to special consecration makes itself felt also among you: I make an appeal to families and to young people, to open their souls to a ready response to the Lord's call. You will never regret being generous with God!

To you laity, I urge you to actively commit yourselves within the community, so that, in addition to your particular civil, political, social and cultural tasks, you will be able to find time and availability for the life of faith, for the pastoral life. Dear people of San Marino! May you remain firmly faithful to the patrimony constructed down the centuries through the impetus of your great patrons, Marino and Leone. I invoke God's blessing upon your path today and your path tomorrow, and I entrust all of you "to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" (2 Corinthians 13:11). Amen!

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Benedict XVI's Address to Politicians in San Marino
"Build a Community Founded on Shared Values"

SAN MARINO, San Marino, JUNE 19, 2011 - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today at a meeting with government authorities, elected officials and the diplomatic corps at the Public Palace of San Marino. Maria Luisa Berti and Filippo Tamagnini, the two heads of government, called the captains regent, were also present.

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Most Serene Captains Regent,
Illustrious Gentlemen and Ladies!

My heartfelt gratitude for your hospitality, in particular I express my gratitude to the captains regent, also for the courteous words they addressed to me. I greet the members of the government and of the Congress, as well as the diplomatic corps and all the other authorities gathered here. In addressing you, I embrace ideally the whole people of San Marino. From its birth, this republic has had friendly relations with the Apostolic See, and in recent times they have been intensified and consolidated; my presence here, in the heart of this ancient republic, expresses and confirms this friendship.

More than 17 centuries ago, a group of faithful, won over to the Gospel by the preaching of Deacon Marin and his witness of holiness, gathered around him to give life to a new community. Continuing with this valuable heritage, the people of San Marino remained always faithful to the values of the Christian faith, firmly anchoring to them their own peaceful coexistence, according to criteria of democracy and solidarity. Down through the centuries, your ancestors were aware of these Christian roots and were able to make fruitful the great moral and cultural patrimony they had received, giving life to an industrious and free people. Despite the exiguity of the territory, [San Marino] has not failed to offer the bordering populations of the Italian peninsula and to the whole world a particular contribution of civilization, marked by peaceful coexistence and mutual respect.

Addressing you today, I rejoice to see your attachment to this patrimony of values and I exhort you to preserve and appreciate it, because it is at the foundation of your most profound identity, an identity that asks to be fully assumed by the people and institutions of San Marino. Thanks to it, a society can be built that is attentive to the true good of the human person, to dignity and liberty, and capable of safeguarding the right of all peoples to live in peace.

These are the foundations of a healthy laicism, within which civil institutions must act with a constant commitment to the defense of the common good. The Church, respectful of the legitimate autonomy that civil authority must enjoy, collaborates with it, at the service of humanity, in the defense of humanity's fundamental rights, of those ethical instances that are inscribed in his very nature. Because of this, the Church is committed to legislation that always promotes and protects human life from conception to its natural end.

Moreover, it requests due recognition and active support for the family. In fact, we know how the family institution is currently being called into question, as if in an attempt to ignore its inalienable value. Those who suffer the consequences [of these efforts] are the weakest social groups, especially the young generations, who are more vulnerable and thus easily exposed to disorientation, to situations of self-marginalization and to the slavery of addictions. Education institutions often seek to give young people adequate answers, and see the diminishing support of the family as an obstacle to normal integration into the social fabric. Because of this, it is importance to recognize that the family, just as God has constituted it, is the main institution that can foster harmonious growth and the maturity that makes individuals free and responsible, formed in deep and perennial values.

In the predicament of economic difficulties in the Italian and international context, which also affects the San Marino community, I wish my words to be of encouragement. We know that the years following the Second World War were a time of economic restrictions, which obliged thousands of your fellow citizens to emigrate. Then a period of prosperity arrived, in the wake of developing the industries of trade and tourism, especially in that type of summer enjoyed so close to the Adriatic coast.

During this phase of relative abundance there was a certain loss of the Christian sense of life and of fundamental values. However, the San Marino society manifests again a good vitality and conserves its best energies, proof of this are the many charitable and voluntary initiatives to which numerous fellow citizens of yours are dedicated. I would like to recall also the numerous San Marino missionaries, lay and religious, who in the last decades have left this land to take the Gospel of Christ to various parts of the world. Not lacking, hence, are the positive forces that enable your community to address and overcome the present situation of difficulty. To this end, I hope that the question of border workers, who see their own occupation endangered, will be able to be resolved taking into account the right to work and to the protection of families.

Also in the Republic of San Marino, the present crisis leads to a need to plan for the future, and it becomes a moment for discernment (cf. Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, 21); in fact, it puts the entire social fabric before the impelling need to address the problems with courage and a sense of responsibility, with generosity and dedication, making reference to that love of liberty that distinguishes your people. In this regard, I would like to repeat the words addressed by Blessed John XIII to the Regents of the Republic of San Marino during an official visit to the Holy See: "The love of liberty," said my Predecessor, "boasts exquisitely among your Christian roots and your ancestors, picking up their true meaning, taught you not to ever separate their name from that of God, who is its irreplaceable foundation" (Addresses, Messages, Conversations of the Holy Father John XIII, I, 341-343: AAS 60 [1959], 423-424.

This warning maintains its everlasting value still today: the liberty that institutions are called to promote and defend at the social level is manifested more profoundly by the Spirit of God, whose life-giving presence in the human heart gives the ability to [individuals to] direct themselves toward and dedicate themselves to the good. As the Apostle Paul affirms: "for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). And St. Augustine, commenting this passage, stresses: "It is true that we are the ones who will when we will, but He is the one to make us will the good." It is God, he says, adding, "The steps of man will be directed by the Lord, and man will want to follow his way" (De gratia et libero arbitrio, 16, 32).

Hence to you, illustrious gentlemen and ladies, is the task to build the earthly city in the due autonomy and respect of those human and spiritual principles to which every individual citizen is called to adhere with all the responsibility of his own personal conscience and, at the same time, the duty to continue to operate actively to build a community founded on shared values.

Most serene captains regent illustrious authorities of the Republic of San Marino, I express from my heart that your whole community, in the shared civil values and with their specific cultural and religious peculiarities, will be able to write a new and noble page of history and become ever more a land in which solidarity and peace prosper. With these sentiments I entrust this beloved people to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Graces and I invoke from my heart on all and each one the apostolic blessing.

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Pope's Address to Youth of San Marino-Montefeltro
"In the Risen Lord We Have the Certainty of Our Hope"

PENNABILLI, Italy, JUNE 20, 2011 - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave during an encounter with the youth of the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro, held Sunday in the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele of Pennabilli.

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Dear Young People!

I am very happy to be among and with you today. I feel all the joy and enthusiasm that characterizes your age. I greet and thank your Bishop Luigi Negri for his cordial words of welcome, and to your friend who made himself the interpreter of the thoughts and sentiments of you all, and who has formulated some very serious and important questions. I hope that in the course of this exposition of mine you will also find elements to obtain answers to these questions. I greet affectionately the priests, the nuns, the animators who share with you the path of faith and friendship; and, of course, also your parents, who rejoice in seeing you grow strong in goodness.

Our meeting here in Pennabilli, before this cathedral, heart of the diocese, and in this square, takes us in thought to the numerous and diverse meetings of Jesus that the Gospels narrate to us. Today I would like to recall the famous episode in which the Lord was on his way and one -- a youth -- ran to meet him and, kneeling, posed this question: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17). Perhaps we would not say it like that today, but the sense of the question is precisely: What must I do, how must I live to really live, to find life?

Thus, in this question we can see contained the wide and varied human experience, which opens in search of the meaning and of the profound sense of life: How to live? Why live? In fact, the "eternal life" to which that youth of the Gospel makes reference does not only indicate life after death, he does not want to know only how to reach heaven. He wants to know how he must live now so that he can have eternal life. Hence, with this question the young man shows his need to have meaning, plenitude and truth as a part of his daily existence.

Man cannot live without this search for the truth about himself -- who he is and why he should live -- truth that pushes to open the horizon and go beyond the material, not to flee from reality, but to live it in a more truthful way, richer in meaning and hope, and not just in superficiality. And I think that this -- and I have seen and heard it in the words of your friend -- is also your experience. The great questions we have within us are always there, they are always reborn: Who are we? Where do we come from? What are we living for?

And these questions are the highest sign of the transcendence of the human being and of our capacity not to stay on the surface of things. And it is precisely by looking at ourselves with truth, with sincerity and with courage that we intuit not only beauty, but also the precariousness of life, and we feel dissatisfaction, a restlessness that nothing concrete is able to assuage. In the end, all promises often show themselves to be insufficient.

Dear friends, I invite you to be aware of this healthy and positive restlessness, not to fear asking yourselves the fundamental questions about the meaning and value of life. Do not be content with partial, immediate answers, certainly easier at the moment and more comfortable, which can give a moment of happiness, of exaltation, of inebriation, but which do not give the true joy of living, the one born for the one who builds -- as Jesus says -- not on sand but on solid rock. Learn therefore to reflect, to read not superficially but in profundity your human experience: you will discover with surprise and joy, that your heart is a window open to the infinite!

This is man's grandeur and also his difficulty. One of the illusions produced in the course of history is that of thinking that technical-scientific progress, in an absolute way, can give answers and solutions to all of humanity's problems. And we see that it is not like this. In reality, even if it had been possible, nothing and no one would have been able to erase the most profound questions on the meaning of life and of death, on the meaning of suffering, of everything, because these questions are inscribed in the human soul, in our heart, and they surpass the sphere of necessities. Man, also in the era of scientific and technological progress -- which has given us so much -- continues to be a being who desires more, more than comfort and well-being, he continues to be a being open to the whole truth of existence, who cannot stay with material things, but who opens to a much wider horizon.

All this you experience continually every time you ask yourselves: But why? When you contemplate a sunset, or when music moves your heart and mind; when you experience what it means to really love; when you feel strongly the sense of justice and truth, and when you also feel the lack of justice, of truth and of happiness.

Dear young people, human experience is a reality that unites us all, but to the latter several levels of meaning can be given. And it is here where one decides in what way to orient one's life and one chooses to whom to entrust it, to whom one will entrust oneself. The risk is always to remain prisoners in the world of things, of the immediate, of the relative, of the useful, losing the sensibility for what concerns our spiritual dimension. It is not at all about being contemptuous of the use of reason or of rejecting scientific progress. On the contrary, it is, rather, to understand that each one of us is not made only of an "horizontal" dimension, but also includes a "vertical" dimension. Scientific data and technological instruments cannot replace the world of life, the horizons of meaning and of liberty, the richness of relationships of friendship and love.

Dear young people, it is precisely in openness to the whole truth of ourselves and of the world where we perceive God's initiative toward us. He comes to meet every man and makes him know the mystery of his love. In the Lord Jesus, who died for us and has given us the Holy Spirit, we have also been made participants in the very life of God; we belong to the family of God. In Him, in Christ, you can find the answers to the questions that accompany your path, not in a superficial, easy way but walking with Jesus, living with Jesus. The encounter with Christ is not resolved in adherence to a doctrine, to a philosophy, but what He proposes to you is to share his very life, and thus learn to live, to learn what man is, what I am. To that youth, who asked him what he had to do to enter eternal life, namely, to really live, Jesus responds, inviting him to separate himself from his goods and adds, "Come, follow me" (Mark 10:21).

The word of Christ shows that our life finds meaning in the mystery of God, who is Love: an exacting, profound Love that goes beyond superficiality. What would become of your life without that love? God looks after man from creation to the end of time, when he will bring his plan of salvation to fulfillment. In the Risen Lord we have the certainty of our hope. Christ himself, who descended to the depths of death and is resurrected, is hope in person, is the definitive Word pronounced on our history, He is a positive word.

Do not fear to address difficult situations, moments of crisis, the trials of life, because the Lord accompanies you, he is with you. I encourage you to grow in friendship with Him through frequent reading of the Gospel and of the whole of Sacred Scripture, faithful participation in the Eucharist as personal encounter with Christ, commitment within the ecclesial community, your path with a valid spiritual guide. Transformed by the Holy Spirit you will be able to experience genuine liberty, which is so when it is oriented to the good. In this way your life, animated by a continual search for the Lord's face and by the sincere will to give yourselves, will be for many of your contemporaries a sign, an eloquent call to make the desire for plenitude that is in all of us be finally realized in the encounter with the Lord Jesus. Let the mystery of Christ illumine your whole person!

Then you will be able to bring to different environments that novelty that can change relations, institutions, structures to build a more just and solidaristic world, animated by the quest for the common good. Do not yield to individualist and egoistic logics. May you be comforted by the testimony of so many young people who have attained the end of sanctity: think of Therese of the Child Jesus, Saint Dominic Savio, Saint Maria Goretti, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Blessed Albert Marvelli -- who is of this land -- and so many others, unknown to us, but who lived their time in the light and strength of the Gospel and who found the answer: how to live, what I must do to live.

As conclusion to this meeting, I wish to entrust each one of you to the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. Like her, may you be able to pronounce and renew your "yes" and always proclaim the greatness of the Lord with your life, because He gives you words of eternal life. Therefore, I encourage you dear ones, in your path of faith and Christian life. I am also always close to you and accompany you with my Blessing. Thank you for your attention!

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