Pope Speaks of Priorities for Italian Politicians

Emphasizes Value of Family, Dignity of Elderly

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- As the center of Catholicism and the capital of Italy, Rome has a special vocation to be an example of profitable Church-state collaboration, says Benedict XVI.

Detailing areas in which this collaboration should be seen, the Pope today defended the family built on marriage between one man and one woman, the dignity of the elderly, and the need for young people to find work.

The Holy Father spoke of these themes in his traditional annual address to officials of Rome and the region. He met today with the president of the Lazio region, the president of the province of Rome and the mayor of the city.

The Pontiff’s first theme was the family, where he said that «children learn the human and Christian values that make possible constructive and peaceful coexistence.»

«It is in the family that solidarity between the generations, respect for rules, forgiveness and acceptance of the other is learned. It is in their own home that young people, experiencing the affection of their parents, discover what love is and learn to love,» he affirmed. 

In this light he called for social policies that support families, and particularly support maternity. He said it is necessary «to guarantee to women who are engaged in a profession the possibility of combining family and work. Too many times, in fact, [women] are placed in the necessity of choosing between the two.» 

The Pope praised initiatives such as family-run nurseries, which «help to make the child not to be seen as a problem, but as a gift and great joy.»

Benedict XVI affirmed that the Church «looks favorably on all those initiatives that seek to educate young people to live love in the logic of the gift of self, with a lofty and oblative vision of sexuality.» He called for an education that doesn’t reduce human love to an object, but presents it as «a fundamental experience that gives meaning and purpose to existence.»

And he said the number of abortions in the region «cannot leave one indifferent.»

New problems

Benedict XVI also emphasized concern for the «other side of life,» noting that «the aging of the population poses new problems.»

Affirming that the «elderly are a great richness for society,» he renewed an invitation to «promote a culture that respects life until its natural end.»

The Pope drew attention to problems rooted in the economic crisis, specifically advocating for work opportunities for young people.

He said that youth who «after years of preparation do not see work openings […] often feel disappointed and are tempted to reject society itself.»

This leads to social tension that is exploited by criminals, the Holy Father observed, and thus, «it is urgent that, despite the difficult moment, every effort be made to promote occupational policies, which can guarantee work and dignified sustenance, indispensable condition to give life to new families.»


The Bishop of Rome acknowledged that «many are the problems that require a solution.»

He thus encouraged the Italian politicians to find inspiration in the Word of God, and he assured them of his prayers, invoking upon them the maternal protection of Mary, Salus Populi Romani.

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31462?l=english

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