11/10/2010, 00.00
VATICAN
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Pope calls for "dialogue between faith and reason, religion and politics, economics and ethics"

During the general audience, Benedict XVI retraces his visit to Spain. Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots to respond to its mission in the world. No effort to give support to marriage and family, to those most in need, is in vain.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Preserving a "fruitful dialogue between faith and reason, between religion and politics, between economics and ethics" and affirming that "everything that is done to support marriage and family, to help those most in need, everything which increases the greatness of man and his inviolable dignity contributes to the improvement of society, no effort is in vain". These are just two of Benedict XVI’s "memories" of his recently concluded trip to Spain, outlined today during his Wednesday audience. Speaking to eight thousand people, the Pope retraced the main steps of last weekend’s “pilgrimage”.

"Unforgettable Days," which in Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona allowed him to "experience the love that the people of Spain have for the successor of Peter" who became a "pilgrim among pilgrims, along with many, the countless," who travelled to the sanctuary dedicated to Saint James of in the Compostelan Holy Year. The traditional practice of embracing the image of the Saint at the end of the Way, “symbolizes our embrace of the Gospel which he preached and his mission." "I also prayed so that pilgrims who have made “the Way”, following in the footsteps of many saints over the centuries, may continue to foster its genuine religious, spiritual and penitential meaning without succumbing to banality, distraction or trends. The Way, a criss-cross of roads that run through vast lands forming a network throughout the Iberian Peninsula and Europe, has been and continues to be a meeting place for men and women of different backgrounds, united by their search for faith and truth about themselves It stirs deep experiences of sharing, brotherhood and solidarity”.

The day of Santiago de Compostela, a centuries-old destination for pilgrims from all over Europe, led to Benedict XVI to repeat that "faith is the reference point for Europe today in its new perspectives" and that "will allow for the construction of a Europe which, true to its indispensable Christian roots, is able to respond fully to its vocation and mission in the world. " "Therefore, certain of European Continents immense possibilities and confident in its future of hope, I invited Europe to open itself up to God, thus encouraging prospects for authentic encounter, respect and solidarity with the peoples and civilizations of other continents".

The central goal of the visit to Barcelona, Benedict XVI returned to underline, was the "magnificent temple of the Sagrada Familia basilica”, which was consecrated by the Pope. It is" reminiscent of the great religious buildings, like the cathedrals which have marked the physical appearance of the great cities of Europe. " A "valuable” structure,” fascinating in its play of light and colour, almost like an immense sculpture," a "magnificent temple" in which Antonio Gaudi "was able to represent the mystery of the Church in which believers are living stones." Gaudi "has put his genius to the service of beauty" with a "great expressive capacity evoking the supreme source of all beauty". "He was able to create a building worthy of God and therefore worthy of man." A "mission in which his whole person was involved." He "undertook an intense practice of fasting, prayer and poverty to spiritually prepare to express God" who in the meantime “ built within him a spiritual edifice ".

On that occasion, he added, "I also remembered those who suffer, especially in these times of serious economic difficulties. I kept in mind at the same time, young people, who have accompanied me throughout the visit to Santiago and Barcelona with their enthusiasm and joy, that they may discover the beauty, value and the commitment of marriage, in which a man and a woman form a family, who generously welcome life from conception until its natural end. Everything that is done to support marriage and family, to help people in need, all that increases the greatness of man and his inviolable dignity, contributes to the improvement of society. No effort is in vain in this area".

The Pope finally recalled that next year he will return to Madrid for the World Youth Day, "I entrust to your prayers -he said - this providential initiative, so that it may be an opportunity for growth in faith for many young people".

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