Mexico Was Comforting, Says Vatican Official

Secretary of State Reflects on Family Conference

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2009 ( Benedict XVI’s secretary of state says his trip last month to Mexico for the 6th World Meeting of Families was «comforting.»

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was in Mexico from Jan. 14 to 18, representing the Pope at the family meeting. He looked back at his trip during an interview today with the Italian daily «Avvenire.»

«Problems aren’t lacking, of course, but essentially the Church in Mexico, as in other Latin American realities or of the Third World, has a great richness of faith, of popular devotion,» the cardinal said. «It’s enough to think of the basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe. [The Church] is young, with many vocations — in this sense, sometimes a greater discernment would be necessary.»

The Italian cardinal observed that «for us who come from a West grown ever older in its middle age, the contact with these young societies, rich in hope, is truly comforting.»

«In this sense,» he added, «the phenomenon of Christian migrants who fill our cities is undoubtedly an enrichment for the Church and for society. And it would be good that we took that sufficiently into account.»

Promoting good

Cardinal Bertone characterized the World Meeting of Families as the Church’s homage to the first nucleus of the Christian community and the fundamental cell of society.

«When the Church defends the family, it doesn’t do it only to defend the privileged environment for the transmission of the faith, but also for the common good, to promote a good life that is valid for believers and nonbelievers,» he said. And faced with the difficulties confronting families today, he said the Church has the mission to transmit «a positive message, an experience of the beauty of life.»

Cardinal Bertone noted how Benedict XVI has repeated that the Church is not a Church of «no’s» but of «great ‘yes’s.'» He acknowledged that in this realm, «perhaps something of self-critique could be done.»

«The beautiful and the positive is not always reflected in the faces of our communities or in our language,» he said. «There are thousands of beautiful and faithful families; families united and generous in charity. They guarantee the perennial value of the family institution.»

On the other hand, the cardinal affirmed, the Church says «no» to things such as a concept of family that does not include the stable union of a man and woman or the unions of divorced people.

«The Church,» he said, «cannot go against natural law or the commandments of Jesus. Therefore, in these points of its attitude, it cannot change.»

«At the same time,» the cardinal concluded, «the Church is close to all sinful men, and with its ministers, offers divine mercy. The Church rejects no one, but it cannot betray the order of creation or deny the words of its founder, to follow or perhaps satisfy the fashions of the moment.»

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