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Italian Prelates Remember Blessed Bishop of Rome

Call John Paul II a Sure Reference for Confused World

ROME, MAY 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The bishops of Italy say that Blessed Pope John Paul II’s most effective message was his very life: looks, gestures and signs that touched hearts.

This was the reflection offered by the leadership of the Italian Episcopal Conference, in a message Friday regarding Sunday’s beatification of the Polish Pontiff.

“In a world often confused, he constituted a sure reference, a prophet who never failed to point out the way of a reliable hope, of a love at the door of every man,” they wrote.

Recalling the Holy Father’s first exhortation: “Do not be afraid; Open wide the doors to Christ,” the bishops said he was a Pontiff that said, “Do not be afraid of faith.”

In fact, they observed, “John Paul II did not tire of reminding how sterile and misleading is the attempt to exclude Christ from history: He alone, in fact, ‘knows what is in man;’ He alone ‘reveals man fully to man himself.'”

The bishops added, “With vehemence, the Pope shook consciences to make them aware of how inhuman is the pretense to build a city without God: It is the tower of Babel of the Marxist ideology, which bridled entire peoples in the mesh of a dictatorial system; it is the drift of capitalism, which drives to an individualism opposed to the horizon of the common good.”

At the same time, “as an elderly and suffering man, the Pope witnessed personally to a total respect” for life, from conception, to that “marked by old age, equally sacred and inviolable.”

John Paul II, continued the Italian prelates, “was able to cut across the dramas of our time and to open them to the paschal light, thanks to his fidelity to the Gospel and to man ‘first and fundamental way of the Church.'”

“May the new Blessed intercede so that we will be given the strength to disentangle ourselves from the slaveries that still burden our step, the courage to proclaim the Word that opens to life, the liberty that is born from truth and flowers in charity,” they wrote. “He indicated to us the Eucharist, bread of eternal life, which he celebrated in all the squares of the world: It is the beating heart of the Church, which he loved and served to the end; it is the sure and faithful strength for our pilgrimage in time toward eternity.”

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