Holiness Needs to Be Ordinary, Says Pontiff

Urges Italian Catholic Action to Be a Help for Europe

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Holiness needs to be an ordinary word, something that describes everyday life, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made this reflection in a message sent to the group for its 14th General Assembly, held in Rome last Friday through Sunday. The theme of the assembly was “To Live the Faith, to Love Life: The Educational Commitment of Catholic Action.”

“Catholic Action can help Italy to respond to its peculiar vocation, placed in the Mediterranean, crossroads of cultures, of aspirations, of tensions that call for great strength of communion, of solidarity and of generosity,” the Holy Father wrote. “Italy has always offered to close and distant peoples the wealth of its culture and its faith, of its art and its thought.

“Today you, lay Christians, are called to offer with conviction, the beauty of your culture and the reasons for your faith, beyond fraternal solidarity, so that Europe will be up to the task of the present challenge of the age.”

The Pontiff pointed to some of the role models for Italian Catholic Action, a few of whom have been beatified.

He said the young people of the lay group “have before them the example of men and women who are happy with their faith, who wish to support the new generations with love, with wisdom and with prayer.”

These models want to respond to the most urgent problems of the day, he said, including the defense of life and acceptance of the poor and those without a nation.

The Bishop of Rome outlined several concrete points for Italian Catholic Action to prioritize.

He highlighted education and formation in politics. But he also urged them to be committed to holiness. “It is necessary to make the term ‘holiness’ an ordinary — not exceptional — word, which does not designate only heroic states of Christian life, but which indicates in the reality of every day, a decisive answer and an openness to the action of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

The Pope called on them to be “communicators of the beauty of the faith.”

He spoke of those who need bread, work, justice and peace, saying, “They need the faith, and we can help them, respecting their religious convictions, in a free and serene exchange, offering with simplicity, frankness and zeal our faith in Jesus Christ.”

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-32536?l=english

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