VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Responding to the consequences of the economic crisis requires giving the family its proper value, according to Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this in a message dated Tuesday and sent to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, for the 46th Italian Catholic Social Week, which is being held through Sunday in Reggio Calabria.
The Holy Father referred to the theme of the week, which focuses on an “agenda of hope for the future” of Italy, saying that it takes on greater importance in the socio-economic context of the world today.
He mentioned the “most obvious consequence of the recent global financial crisis,” saying it is the spread of unemployment and a spirit of uncertainty.
“[S]uch difficulties constitute an obstacle on the path to realize [each person’s] own ideals of life, favoring the temptation of withdrawal or disorientation,” the Pontiff said. “Mistrust is easily transformed into resignation, diffidence, disaffection and disengagement, to the detriment of the legitimate investment in the future.”
More than money
The Bishop of Rome contended, however, that the problem is not merely economic but “above all cultural, and finds confirmation, in particular, in the demographic crisis, in the difficulty to appreciate fully the role of women,” and problems in the field of education.
He said this is “all the more reason” to recognize and support the “irreplaceable social function of the family, heart of affective and relational life” and the environment that best assures a transmission of values to the coming generations.
Benedict XVI acknowledged that addressing present problems — including disdain for human life and the dignity of the person, the abuse of the environment and situations of conflict — is “not an easy task.”
But, he said, it is not impossible “if one is firm in trusting the capacity of man, if one stretches the concept of reason and of its use and each one assumes his own responsibilities.”
In this sense, the Pontiff stated that the task of finding solutions cannot be left to authorities. Instead, every citizen, individually and in associations, is called “to develop a strong capacity to analyze, to be farsighted and to participate.”
He added: “To move according to a perspective of responsibility entails the willingness to come out of the exclusive search for one’s own interests, to pursue together the good of the country and of the whole human family.”
It is in this sense that the Church pursues the common good, the Pope said, and he called for a “new generation of Catholics” who commit themselves to politics.
He affirmed that the field of politics requires intellectual and moral preparation, and he encouraged such a formation that “beginning from the great truths about God, man and the world, offers criteria of judgment and ethical principles to interpret the good of each and all.”
“For the Church in Italy, which opportunely assumed the educational challenge as a priority in the present decade,” the Holy Father said, “it is a question of devoting itself to the formation of mature Christian consciences, which are alien to egoism, to greed for goods and to the desire for a career and, instead, are consistent with the professed faith, acquainted with the cultural and social dynamics of this time and capable of assuming public responsibility with professional competence and a spirit of service.
“The socio-political endeavor, with the spiritual resources and the attitudes it requires, remains a lofty vocation, to which the Church invites to respond with humility and determination.”
Benedict XVI said another area for further reflection is the situation of immigration, particularly the search for ways to integrate migrants in their host societies.
“Believers, as well as all men of good will, are requested to do everything possible to reveal the situations of injustice, misery and conflict that oblige so many men to undertake the path of exodus, promoting at the same time the conditions of insertion in our lands of all those who intend, with their work and the patrimony of their traditions, to contribute to the building of a better society than the one they left,” he said. “In recognizing the role of immigrants, we feel called to present the Gospel to them, proclamation of salvation and of full life for every man and woman.”
Living up to a legacy
The Bishop of Rome concluded his letter with a reflection on the future as guided by Providence and tending to transcend the horizons of human activity.
“This ‘reliable hope’ has the face of Christ: in the Word of God made man each one finds the courage to witness and abnegation in service,” he said.
The Pope referred to the “wonderful trail of light” left by the faith of the Italian people, and particularly so many men and women saints “consumed for the good of brethren” and committed “in the social field to promote more just and equitable conditions for all, in the first place for the poor.”
“In this perspective,” he said, “[…] I encourage you to feel the loftiness of the challenge placed before you: The Catholic Church has a legacy of values that are not things of the past, but constitute a very living and timely reality, capable of offering a creative guideline for the future of a nation.”
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