Vatican Aide on Lessons of Fall of Berlin Wall

Father Lombardi Reflects on 20th Anniversary

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many have not yet understood the lesson of that historic event, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, reflected on the fall of the Berlin Wall and Pope John Paul II’s role in it during the most recent edition of the Octava Dies program of the Vatican Television Center.

Holy See Press Office, analyzes John Paul II’s role in that event which changed humanity’s history on November 9, 1989.
 
“What a great celebration for the people in Berlin,” the spokesman said recalling how on Nov. 9, 1989, the symbol of the Cold War collapsed. “How much astonishment and joy in the whole of Europe and in the world on seeing and seeing again those incredible images!
 
“For almost 20 years, anyone who tried to surmount it, fleeing to freedom, risked his life. Dozens and dozens of people died before the horrified gaze of witnesses passing by.

“They believed that the great prison protected by the Wall — and to a greater extent by the Iron Curtain — would still endure for many years.”
 
“However, the aspirations for liberty and the intrinsic weaknesses of regimes founded on an ideology inimical to God and to the human person worked profoundly in the peoples of the East, preparing an historic collapse, without being accompanied — a fortunate and rare event — by much bloodshed,” the Jesuit noted.
 
Father Lombardi continued by recalling “the role of the election and the person of John Paul II,” and “of his trips to a Poland, which to a large extent remained faithfully Catholic, and of their consequences on the aspirations and the longing for freedom of his people and of neighboring peoples.”
 
The Vatican spokesmen noted that when the Pontiff passed through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, “not only was Germany unified, but Europe was breathing with its two lungs, that of the East and of the West, and the Christian faith demonstrated that it had contributed once again to the union and civilization of the Continent, overcoming the cruel test of State atheism.”
 
“It is good to recall this, when there is insistence on reducing the faith to the strictly private sphere,” continued Father Lombardi, a few days after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to prohibit the display of crucifixes in schools.
 
However, he concluded, “unfortunately, in the world other walls have been erected and are being erected. We will continue to be committed, hoping to celebrate also at the end their futility and collapse.”

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