01/10/2010, 00.00
VATICAN

Pope condemns violence against migrants and Christians

In today's Angelus, Benedict XVI reaffirms that migrants are "people to be respected " with "rights and duties" in a clear allusion to the events taking place in Calabria, southern Italy. At the same time, the pontiff calls on political and religious authorities of "some countries" (read: Egypt, Malaysia, Iraq ...) to guarantee the freedom to Christians, the object of violence, and to make sure not to use God's name as justification for murder. The memory of the baptism of 14 infant children in the Sistine Chapel. In Baptism we become children of God and brothers in a new model of society.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI has strongly condemned the recent violence against migrants in Rosarno Calabria, as well as those against Christians over Christmas, in Egypt, Malaysia and Iraq.  

Without any geographical reference, the pope at the end of the Angelus prayer, said: "Two facts have drawn my attention in particular, in recent days: the case of the condition of migrants seeking a better life in countries that, for various reasons, need their presence, and conflict situations in various parts of the world where Christians are under violent attack".

In Rosarno southern Itlay, hundreds of immigrants protested in recent days against the exploitation and degradation to which they are subjected in their work, due to the neglect of local government and the Mafia control over farm work. Some groups of the population – it seems driven by the local Mafia, N'drangheta – took up arms and used physical violence against the immigrants. The police were forced to intervene to escort and to rescue the immigrants”.

 "We must get to the heart of the problem! - said the pope – we must go back to the meaning of the person! An immigrant is a human being, different in origin, culture, and traditions, but a person to be respected with rights and duties, particularly in the workplace, where the temptation to exploitation is easy, but also in scope of the concrete conditions of life. Violence should never be the way to resolve difficulties for anyone. The problem is primarily human! I ask you to look at the face of the other and discover that he has a soul, a history and a life and that God loves him as he loves me”.

 “I want to make similar considerations with regard man in his religious diversity. The recent violence against Christians in some countries has aroused the indignation of many, not least because it has been reported in the most sacred days of the Christian tradition. The institutions, both political and religious, must not - I repeat – shirk their responsibilities. There can be no violence in the name of God, nor can we think of honouring Him by offending the dignity and the freedom of others”.

Earlier, the pontiff recalled the value of the sacrament of baptism because today - Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, the conclusion of the Christmas holidays - he administered baptism to 7 baby girls and 7 baby boys in the Sistine Chapel.

 "With this sacrament, the man becomes really son, the son of God.  From this point on, the purpose of his existence is to reach, in a free and conscious way, that which from the outset has received as a gift. 'Be who you are' is the basic educational principle of the human person redeemed by grace".

"This principle - he continued - has many similarities to human growth, where the relationship of parents with children passes through detachments and crises, from total dependence to the awareness of being children, from gratitude for the gift of life to maturity and the ability to communicate life. Generated from Baptism to new life, even the Christian begins his journey of growth in the faith that will lead them to consciously invoke God as 'Abba - Father' to turn to Him with gratitude and live the joy of being his son".

 "A model for society is also derived from baptism: that of brotherhood. Fraternity can not be determined by ideology, much less by decree of any constituted power. We recognize our brothers from the humble but profound awareness of their being children of the Heavenly Father. As Christians, through the Holy Spirit received in Baptism, we have the gift of fate and commitment to live as children of God and as brothers, to be like "leaven" of a new humanity, in solidarity and full of peace and hope. This awareness helps us to have, as well as a Father in heaven, also a mother, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the perennial model”.

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