People of the UK Spoke to My Heart, Affirms Pope

Says He Confirmed That Europe’s Nations Have Christian Soul

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says he’s convinced that the old nations of Europe have a Christian soul, and the Church will not cease its efforts to maintain this spiritual and cultural tradition.

The Pope affirmed this today during the general audience held in St. Peter’s Square. As is his custom when he’s returned from an apostolic trip, he dedicated the address to speaking about his journey to the United Kingdom, held last Thursday through Sunday.

«The main objective of the visit,» he said, «was to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, one of the greatest Englishmen of recent times, an outstanding theologian and man of the Church. In fact, the beatification ceremony represented the climax of my apostolic journey, the theme of which was inspired in the motto of Blessed Newman’s cardinal insignia: ‘Heart Speaks Unto Heart.’

«And in the four intense and very beautiful days spent in that noble land, I had the great joy of speaking to the heart of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom, and they spoke to mine, especially with their presence and the testimony of their faith.»

The Holy Father affirmed that he was «able to see how the Christian heritage is still strong and also active in all strata of social life.»

«The hearts of the British and their lives are open to the reality of God and there are numerous expressions of religiosity that this visit of mine has made even more evident,» he stated.

The Pontiff recounted the day-by-day highlights of the trip, noting such events as his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, his address to Catholic educators, his visit to the leader of the Anglican Communion, his time of prayer with victims of clergy sexual abuse, and his stop at a home for the elderly.

Supporting Catholics

Benedict XVI explained that, as is always his goal on an apostolic trip, he aimed to «support the Catholic community, encouraging it to work tirelessly to defend the immutable moral truths that, taken up again, illumined and confirmed by the Gospel, are at the base of a truly human, just and free society.»

He said he also wished to speak to each inhabitant of the United Kingdom «about the true reality of man, about his most profound needs, about his ultimate destiny.»

And, the Pontiff affirmed: «This apostolic journey confirmed a profound conviction in me: The old nations of Europe have a Christian soul, which forms a unity with the ‘genius’ and the history of each respective people, and the Church does not cease to work to continually maintain this spiritual and cultural tradition.»

He concluded by affirming that Blessed John Henry Newman «merits to be known by all.»

«May he sustain the intentions and efforts of Christians to ‘spread everywhere the perfume of Christ,'» the Pope said, «‘so that all their life is only a radiation of his.'»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-30455?l=english

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