VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave before praying the midday Angelus on Jan. 1 together with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Dear brothers and sisters,
On this first day of the year, I am happy to offer all of you here present in St. Peter’s Square and those who are tuned in by radio and television my most fervent best wishes for peace and every good thing. They are wishes that, we could say, the Christian faith makes “reliable,” anchoring them in the events that we are celebrating during these days: the incarnation of the Word of God, born of the Virgin Mary. Indeed, with the grace of the Lord — and only with it — we can always hope anew that the future will be better than the past.
This is not about, in fact, trusting in better luck or in the modern secrets of the market and finances, but rather in we ourselves making the effort to be a little better and more responsible, so as to be able to count on the Lord’s benevolence. And this is always possible because “God has spoken to us through a son” (Hebrews 1:2) and he continually speaks to us, through the preaching of the Gospel and through the voice of our conscience. In Jesus Christ, he has shown to all people the path of salvation, which is above all a spiritual redemption, but which takes in everything human, also including the social and historical dimension.
That’s why, as the Church celebrates the divine maternity of most holy Mary, on this date that for more than 40 years has been World Peace Day, it indicates to everyone that Jesus Christ is the prince of peace. According to the tradition begun by Servant of God Pope Paul VI, I have written for this occasion a special message, choosing the theme: “Fighting Poverty to Build Peace.”
In this way, I wish to once again enter into dialogue with the leaders of nations and international groups, offering the contribution of the Catholic Church for the promotion of a world order worthy of man. At the beginning of a new year, my first objective is precisely that of inviting everyone — political leaders and simple citizens — to not become discouraged in the face of difficulties and failures, but to renew their commitments.
The second part of 2008 has brought an economic crisis of vast proportions. This crisis should be interpreted in its depths, as a grave symptom that requires intervention at the level of the causes. It is not enough — as Jesus would say — to put a new patch on an old cloak (cf. Mark 2:21). To put the poor in first place means to decidedly move to this global solidarity that John Paul II had already indicated as a necessity, harmonizing the potential of the market with that of civil society (cf. Message, 12), in constant respect for legality and always taking into account the common good.
Jesus Christ did not organize campaigns against poverty, but he announced to the poor the Gospel, for a complete rescue from moral and material misery. The Church does the same, with its endless work of evangelization and human promotion. Let us invoke the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so that she helps all men to walk together along the path of peace.[Translation by ZENIT] [The Holy Father then addressed the people in several languages. In English, he said:]
I am very pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Angelus, and I wish you all a happy New Year! I pray that Christians everywhere, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, will be filled with spiritual joy. During this year, may all who believe in Christ promote justice and charity, and bear constant witness to forgiveness, reconciliation and peace! May the Lord bless you and keep you!
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