Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Humanity has no future without the family, especially young people who, in order to learn the values that give meaning to their existence, need to be born and grow up in that living community of love that God has willed for man and woman ": that is why it is important that "the legislation and the work of state institutions serve and protecting the individual in all aspects, starting with the right to life, the deliberate suppression of which can never be allowed, and the recognition of the identity of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman ","first cell of man and civilization. "
The VII World Meeting of Families, as pointed out by Benedict XVI, was the focus of his general audience with 20 thousand people in St. Peter's Square. Three days - 1 to 3 June - his visit to Milan for the conclusion of the meeting itself, which, "has launched a message of hope, the world that it is possible and joyful, though challenging, to experience faithful love forever."
The Pope recalled the "warm embrace" with which he was welcomed on his "intense pastoral visit." "An expanse of families gathered in celebration, and with feelings of deep involvement in particular joined in the warm greetings and solidarity which from the start that I wanted to address to those in need of help and comfort, those who are plagued by various concerns, especially families hardest hit by economic crisis and the dear earthquake victims "in Emilia-Romagna.
Going through the moments of his stay in the city, the Pope recalled the concert at La Scala, where the notes of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony "gave voice to that instance of the universality and brotherhood, which the Church continues untiringly, proclaiming the Gospel" . And "the very contrast between this ideal and the dramas of history, and the need for a present God, who shares our sufferings, to whom I made reference at the end of the concert, dedicating it to the many brothers and sisters who are afflicted by the earthquake. I pointed out that in Jesus of Nazareth, God is close and carries us our suffering. At the end of that intense artistic and spiritual moment, I wanted to make reference to the family of the third millennium, remembering that it is in the family that we first experience how the human person is not created to live closed in on itself, but in relation to others and it is in the family that the light of peace to enlighten our world begins to kindle in our hearts. "
The next day, in the cathedral, meeting with priests and religious, "I wanted to stress the value of celibacy and consecrated virginity, so dear to the great St. Ambrose. Celibacy and virginity in the Church are a luminous sign of love for God and for others, which stem from a more intimate relationship with Christ, expressed in prayer and in the total gift of oneself. " Later, at the Meazza Stadium, the "enthusiasm" of young people who have had or are about to receive Confirmation. Benedict XVI appealed to them, "to say yes" free and informed, to the Gospel of Jesus, accepting the gifts of the Holy Spirit that help in Christian formation, to live the Gospel and to be active members of the community. There I encouraged them to be involved, especially in their study and in generous service to their neighbour. "
Again, after the meeting with political, economic and cultural institutions, the "compelling" Festival of Witness, "a rainbow of families from Italy and the whole world", where "answering some families' questions based on situations that arise from their lives and experiences, I wanted to give a sign of open dialogue between families and the Church, between the world and the Church. I was very impressed by the touching testimonies of spouses and children from different continents, on the burning issues of our times: the economic crisis, the difficulty of reconciling work and family life, the spread of separations and divorces, as well as existential questions that affect adults, children and youth. Here I would recall what I stated in defence of time for family life, threatened by a sort of 'arrogance' of work commitments: Sunday is the day of the Lord and of man, a day when everyone should be free, free for family and free for God. Defending Sunday, we defend freedom of man!".
In the concluding Mass on Sunday, finally, "in front of the myriad of faithful from different countries and deeply involved in the very well prepared liturgy, I launched an appeal to build up the ecclesial communities so there are more families, able to reflect the beauty of the Holy Trinity and to evangelize not only by word but by irradiation, with the strength of a lived love, because love is the only force that can transform the world. Furthermore, I emphasized the importance of the "triad" family, work and celebration. They are three gifts of God, three dimensions of our lives that need to find a harmonious balance to build societies with a human face ".