2007-05-11 07:02:13
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May 13 2007


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BRAZIL: Vatican Misna on, “Building a more just and fraternal society, reconciled and at peace; commitment to reduce violence; initiatives to promote the fullness of life, the democratic order and the common good and especially initiatives aimed at eliminating certain forms of discrimination existing for the sake of mutual enrichment”: this is the “panorama of action” to which youths of Brazil and all of Latin America were exhorted to give their contribution by Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of his apostolic visit in Brazil. Meeting last night with thousands of young people gathered in the “Paulo Machado de Carvalho” Stadium of Pacaembu in Sao Paulo, the Pope urged them to “fulfil their duties to the State: by adhering to its laws; not letting themselves be swept away by hatred and violence; trying to be examples of Christian conduct in their professional and social milieus, distinguishing themselves by the integrity of their social and professional relationships”, underlining that “excessive ambition for wealth and power leads to corruption of oneself and others”; “there are no valid motives that would justify attempting to impose one’s own worldly aspirations " economic or political " through fraud and deceit”. “The life that is in you is beautiful and exciting. What to do with it?”: this “crucial question”, said the Pope, is the “same” as that of the young rich man of Matthew’s Gospel, “which we have just heard”. “The question of the Gospel " he explained " does not only concern the future” and the afterlife, but one’s commitment “to the present” as well; in other words, “the meaning of life”, to which “Jesus is the only one who can give us an answer”, because He is the only one “who can show the meaning of present life and give it a content of fullness”. “Do not squander your youth. Consecrate it to the lofty ideals of faith and human solidarity”. “You are the youth of the Church” and “you can be the protagonists of a new society”, but the future “largely depends on the way you live the present”, continued the Pontiff. Benedict XVI also addressed the environmental devastation of the Amazon and “the threats against the human dignity of peoples living within that region” that call “for greater commitment in the different areas of activity than society tends to recognise”. Quoting a phrase of the Brazilian national anthem, “our forests have more life”, the Pope exhorted the young to “not allow this flame of hope to die out”, reminding of a passage of the speech pronounced by his predecessor John Paul II in 1991 during his apostolic visit to Mato Grosso, when he said “youth are the first protagonists of the third millennium ”¦ they are the ones who will be charged with the destiny of this new phase in human history”. Before his appointment at the stadium of Pacaembu " along the way a surprise stopover at the Latin American memorial realised in the Barra Funda neighbourhood by the Brazilian architect Oscar Neimeyer " the Pontiff met with President Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva at the dos Bandeirantes Palace for a private meeting with no media access. As referred by Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press office, among the issues addressed in the meeting Lula stressed “the importance of relations with the Church to favour peace, for a serene social life’, illustrating social and human development programmes “so important for Brazil” and reminding of his nation’s attention for “the poor and Africa”; the Pope, explained Fr. Lombardi, observed the importance of the moral formation of the young, recommending focus on this dimension and guaranteeing that in regard the Church feels a strong duty to collaborate. Pope Benedict XVI also participated in an ecumenical meeting at the St. Benedict Monastery, with the head Rabbi of Sao Paulo, two Lutheran Pastors, an Orthodox Pope and a Muslim Sheikh; in the evening an unscheduled meeting was also announced between the Pontiff and Emeritus Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Monsignor Paulo Evaristo Arns, close to the Theology of Liberation, known for his adversity to the military dictatorship (1964-85) and defence of human rights and poor, as also for selling the Episcopal palace in 1970 and using the earnings to build 120 community centres in the suburbs of the metropolis. Today, on the third day of the apostolic visit, there is another event already defined by the Pope as “a milestone in the history of the Church”, along with the 5th General Conference of the Episcopacy of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM), which Benedict XVI will open on Sunday at the Our Lady Aparecida shrine: in the morning the Pope will officiate Mass tomorrow at the Campo de Marte in Sao Paulo for the canonisation of the blessed Frei Galvão (1739-1822), a Franciscan friar who founded the Monastery of the Conceptionist order “Recolhimento da Luz” in Sao Paulo and the first Brazilian born Saint. In the afternoon the Pontiff will meet with the Bishops of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference (CNBB) at the Sè Cathedral to celebrate the Vespers before departing for Aparedica, the second most visited Marian Shrine of Latin America, after the Mexican Guadalupe shrine, indicated personally by the Pope to host the V CELAM Conference. (Misna) [BO]

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