Former EU Leader to Present Papal Lent Message

ROME, JAN. 28, 2010 ( Benedict XVI’s traditional letter for Lent will be presented next week by a former president of the European Parliament.

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Hans-Gert Pöttering, now president of a Germany-based research group called the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, will present the Pope’s message on Feb. 4 in the Vatican.

Pöttering was president of the European Parliament from 2007 till last July.

The president and undersecretary of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum will also participate in the presentation.

The theme of the Pope’s lenten message is “The Righteousness of God Has Been Manifested Through Faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:21-22).  
Pöttering last year took part in a ceremony organized by the German embassy to the Holy See to manifest his commitment to the preservation of Europe’s Christian roots, as well as to “honest dialogue” with the followers of Islam.
In an address on that occasion, he mentioned his opposition to a Nov. 3 decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which classified the crucifix in classrooms as a violation of religious liberty.
Pöttering said the decision “shows lack of understanding of the exigencies of cultural dialogue in today’s world,” and he reminded that “the crucifix is a sign of the love of God.”

Benedict XVI dedicated his previous two Lenten messages to the themes of fasting and almsgiving, which, along with prayer, are the three Lenten recommendations made by the Church.

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