Church Must Fear Her Members' Sin, Says Pontiff

Asks Mary’s Help in Seeing “Light Beyond the Dark Clouds”

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2011 ( Benedict XVI says the only threat the Church should fear is the sin of her members.

The Pope made this observation Thursday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, at a traditional ceremony for the feast in Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the monument to Our Lady there.

“The only threat the Church can and must fear is the sin of her members,” he said. “While, in fact, Mary is the Immaculate, free from every stain of sin, the Church is holy, but at the same time she is stained by our sins. This is why the People of God, in pilgrimage through time, turns to its heavenly Mother and implores her help; it asks this so that she might accompany us on the journey of faith, that she might encourage the undertaking of a Christian life and support our hope.”

“We need her above all in this very difficult moment for Italy, for Europe, for various parts of the world,” the Holy Father said. “Mary helps us to see that there is a light beyond the dark clouds that seems to envelop reality. For this reason we too, especially on this occasion, do not cease ask for her help with filial confidence: ‘O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.'”

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