Pontiff Affirms Mission of Vatican City State

Small in Size, But Great in Scope

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that although Vatican City is a small patch of earth, it holds a great patrimony for humanity as a source of goodness, solidarity and hope.

The Pope affirmed this Saturday in an audience with participants in a meeting held to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Vatican City State.

The participants reflected on the theme «A Small Territory for a Great Mission,» focusing on «the spiritual and civil value of this small sovereign state, placed totally at the service that Jesus Christ entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his successors,» noted the Pontiff.

He pointed out that it is «not always well understood in its reasons for being and in the many tasks that it is called to carry out.»

The Holy Father acknowledged the «tormented historical process, which made possible its constitution, motivated by lofty ideals of faith and wide consciousness of the objectives it must fulfill.»

He affirmed «that in the eight decades of its existence, Vatican State has demonstrated that it is a flexible instrument and that it has always measured up to the needs posed and that continue to be posed both in the mission of the Pope and the needs of the Church, as well as the ever changing conditions of society.»

Benedict XVI noted the anniversary as a time of «profound gratitude to the Lord, who guides the fortunes of his Church in the often turbulent vicissitudes of the sea of history, and assists his Vicar on earth in carrying out his office of ‘Christianae religionis summus Antistes’ [highest head of the Christian religion].»

He expressed his gratitude to those who serve Vatican City State, and encouraged them «to carry out their tasks with honesty and professional competence, but also with an ever more lively awareness that their work constitutes a precious service to the cause of the Kingdom of God.»
The Pope added: «The Civitas Vaticana is, in truth, an almost invisible point on the world map, a diminutive and defenseless state, deprived of fearful armies, seemingly irrelevant to the great international geopolitical strategies.

«And yet, this shelter of absolute independence of the Holy See has been and is a center of radiation of constant action in favor of solidarity and the common good.»

He said, «From its heart, where the Pope lives near the tomb of St. Peter, an incessant message rises of genuine social progress, of hope, of reconciliation and of peace.»

The Pontiff concluded, «May Vatican City be increasingly a genuine ‘city on the hill,’ luminous, thanks to the conviction and generous dedication of those who work in it at the service of the ecclesial mission of the successor of Peter.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-25104?l=english

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