Pope Says Church Not Seeking Privileges From State

Sends Message on Anniversary of John Paul II’s Visit to Italian Parliament

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Recalling Pope John Paul II’s 2002 visit to the Italian Parliament, Benedict XVI reminded the legislative body that the Church seeks no privileges in its relations with the state.

John Paul II’s visited the Parliament on Nov. 14, 2002, a papal first. Benedict XVI, in his message sent to Pier Ferdinando Casini, president of the Chamber of Deputies, states that secularity is not opposed to the Christian message, but rather is inspired by it.

The Pope’s letter was read today by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a celebration to recall John Paul II’s visit.

Benedict XVI in his message said: “I would like to confirm once again that the Church, in Italy and in every country, as well as in the diverse international institutions, does not presume to claim any privilege for itself, but only to have the possibility to fulfill its own mission in respect of the legitimate secularity of the state.

“The latter, on the other hand, if it is well understood, is not in opposition to the Christian message, but rather is its debtor, as the experts of the history of civilizations well know.”

In his message, the Holy Father encourages the identification of that “nucleus that will give meaning and value, around which the different ideological and political positions might converge.”

“This center,” he added, “can only be the human person, with the values inherent to his individual and social dignity, which the Church, by Christ’s mandate, desires ardently to serve.”

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