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Naming of Cardinal Bertone as Papal Legate

“They Are Educators Because They Are Parents”

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2009 ( Here is a translation of the Latin-language Dec. 28 letter in which Benedict XVI named his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, as the papal legate to the 6th World Meeting of Families. The world meeting concludes Sunday in Mexico City.

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To my venerated brother, Tarcisio Bertone SDB
Secretary of State

With the desire that future society enjoys more dignified conditions, many pastors and lay faithful from the entire world will soon gather in Mexico City for the 6th World Meeting of Families, which has the theme: “The Family as Educator in Human and Christian Values.”

This theme is of greatest importance, since “the family is called to carry out its task of education in the Church, thus sharing in her life and mission. The Church wishes to carry out her educational mission above all through families who are made capable of undertaking this task by the sacrament of matrimony, through the ‘grace of state’ which follows from it” (John Paul II, Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane, 16).

Really, the principal teachers of humanity are parents themselves, who, sustained by divine grace, labor to transmit to their children the virtues of faith in Christ, active charity and a great hope, and “they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents” (ibid.).

It is appropriate to recall that brilliant examples of some members of the faithful are presented to all Christian families — [models] both from ancient times and from recent eras, who not only for youth, but also for the great majority of people, left their lives as examples of nobility and a reminder of virtue (cf. 2 Maccabees 6:31). Among those, it is fitting to distinguish in the East, Sts. Basil and Emilia, who have four saints among their nine children; and in the West, Sts. Gordianus and Sylvia, parents of Pope St. Gregory the Great.

At the beginning of this millennium, Mother Church has inscribed in the catalogue of blesseds María Teresa Ferragud Roig, who in Spain, together with her four virgin daughters consecrated to Christ, obtained the palm of martyrdom and celestial glory; the spouses Luis Beltrame Quattrocchi and María Corsini in Italy, [and] Luis Martin and Celia María Guérin in France, parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, patron of missions and flower of Carmel.

I am convinced that this event can be of much benefit for all of society and for every person. That is why I willingly accepted the invitation of our venerable brother Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, metropolitan archbishop of Mexico. However, given that I cannot participate personally, with confidence I send you, dear brother, my principal and very diligent collaborator in attending to daily matters, so that you represent me with dignity and bring to the people gathered there my fatherly exhortation and cordial greetings. Whereby, with this letter, I name you my legate for the 6th World Meeting of Families, which will be celebrated from the 13th to the 18th of next January.

I earnestly commend your envoy and the entire World Meeting of Families to the powerful intercession of the Most Holy Virgin of Guadalupe and St. Joseph, as well as to all the parent saints, so as to obtain from the Son of God for the leaders of nations and for the families of nations, the aids, rights and lights necessary, so that the dignity of all men be truly recognized, respected and honored.

Finally, I wish that you lovingly impart, in my name, the apostolic blessing, pledge of celestial grace and proof of my communion, to all those who participate in this event.

From the Vatican
28th of December of 2008, fourth year of my pontificate


[Translation by ZENIT]

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