* * *
From the Vatican, November 14, 2012
To Their Excellencies
Senator Renato Schifani, President of the Senate of the Republic
and The Honorable Gianfranco Fini, President of the Chamber of Deputies
Most Distinguished Mr. Presidents,
For the ceremony on the occasion of the 10thanniversary of the visit of His Holiness John Paul II to the Italian Parliament, the Holy Father Benedict XVI wishes to address to Your Excellencies and to all the Senators and Deputies, his cordial greeting, which he extends with affection to His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
The meeting, at a general public session of November 14, 2002 in the Hall of Montecitorio, constitutes a memorable page in the history of relations between Italy and the Holy See, an event strengthened by the authority of the venerable figure of the Blessed Pontiff, who desired the meeting intensely, despite his already precarious conditions of health. The unanimous warm welcome he received on entering the Hall, and the consensus manifested at the end of his address, remain impressed on all witnesses of that day.
Ten years later, in a social context rendered more arduous by the consequences of the economic crisis, then already perceived, it is necessary to recall the invitation to draw from the vital lymph of Christianity, which animates the social and cultural identity of Italy and her mission in Europe and the world. This spiritual and ethical patrimony can always offer, also in difficult moments, adequate resources for the renewal of consciences and for agreed orientation to the common good, first of all on the part of those who are called to form part of that Parliament.
Because of this, the Supreme Pontiff hopes that the constant collaboration between Italy and the Holy See, as well as between the State and the Church which is in Italy, will continue to support the journey of the Italian nation, in particular the families, in their primary educational and social role, and all the citizens, especially in the sense of civic responsibility. To this end, he assures them of his remembrance in prayer and invokes from his heart upon them, upon all the Members of the two branches of the Parliament, and upon their respective activities, an abundance of heavenly blessings.
In formulating, also, my personal good wishes for their high service to the good of the country, I take the opportunity to confirm my feelings of high and distinct consideration.
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone
Secretary of State[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]