VATICAN CITY, AUG. 22, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI signaled to the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, organized by the movement Communion and Liberation, that “Jesus alone makes us free.”
In a message signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Pope stressed that the title of the 2005 meeting — “Freedom Is the Most Precious Gift that the Heavens Have Given Men,” taken from “Don Quixote” — “is of extraordinary importance at a historic and cultural time in which nothing is so misunderstood as the term freedom.” The meeting is under way in the Italian town of Rimini.
The papal message explained that “God has our freedom very much at heart.”
“He wants us to be free,” it said, “he loves us in as much as we are free, to the point that he accepts the risk that we have of distancing ourselves from him in order to safeguard in us the possibility of acknowledging him without inner constrictions.”
The papal message was read in Rimini on Sunday by the bishop of the diocese, Mariano Nicola, during the opening Mass of the Communion and Liberation meeting.
“Why does God love our freedom?” the text asked. “Because he sees in us the image of his incarnate Son, who has always adhered freely to the Father’s plan, who freely accepted a body and freely abased himself to the point of death on the cross, in the sacrificial oblation which the sacrament of the Eucharist actualizes every day on the altar.”
“Genuine freedom therefore is the fruit of a personal encounter with Jesus,” stated the message, explaining that to each of us happens what happened to the Samaritan woman in the Gospel, who “felt reborn interiorly and had the perception of being truly free again when meeting the ‘man’ who told her everything she had done and showed her true face and her destiny to her.”
The text confirmed the words pronounced by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the future Benedict XVI) in Milan, during the burial of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, founder of Communion and Liberation, last Feb. 24.
The text said, “Ubi fides ibi et libertas” (Where there is faith there also is freedom) and added that “liberation is the most beautiful existential reverberation that faith can elicit in our life.”
Cardinal Ratzinger addressed the Rimini meeting in 1992 and since then the organizers always discussed with the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith the topic they would study at this event.
The 26th edition of the meeting, which ends Saturday, will bring together some 700,000 participants in conferences, round-table discussions, shows, artistic exhibitions and sports competitions.
Communion and Liberation is an ecclesial movement whose objective is the Christian education of its followers and collaboration with the Church’s mission in all realms of society. It is active in some 70 countries.