Vatican City (AsiaNews) The family, transmission of faith and its renewal in adults, and also the Holy Land, Iraq and an ecumenical meeting in Moscow: these were the themes tackled by Benedict XVI during today's Marian prayer. Before the recital of the Angelus, the pope recalled the fifth World Meeting of Families that will be held next week in Valencia, and the "memorable appeal" launched by John Paul II 25 years ago in the apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio: "Family, become what you are!"
Benedict XVI then communicated his motto for his apostolic visit to the Spanish city: "Family: live and transmit the faith", inspired by the theme of the meeting, which is the transmission of faith in families.
"In so many secularized communities today," said the pope, "the foremost urgency for believers in Christ is that of renewing the faith of adults, so that they may be able to communicate it to new generations. On the other hand, the journey of Christian initiation in boys and girls could become a useful occasion for parents to approach the Church and to delve more and more into the beauty and truth of the Gospel".
He said: "The family is all in all a living organism, in which a reciprocal flow of gifts is realized. The important thing is that the Word of God is never lacking, keeping the fire of faith alive. In a very significant gesture, during the rite of Baptism, the father or godfather lights a candle from the large Paschal Candle, the symbol of the Risen Christ, and then, turning to the family, the celebrant says: 'Take care that your child, illuminated by Christ, lives always as a child of the light'."
Benedict XVI continued: "For this gesture in which there is all the meaning of transmission of faith in the family to be authentic, it must be preceded and accompanied by the commitment of parents to deepen the knowledge of their faith, reviving the flame with prayer and the assiduous practice of the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist."
Shortly after the Marian prayer, the Pope said he was "following with growing concern events in Iraq and the Holy Land". He said that "in the face of blind violence that causes atrocious disasters and the threat of an aggravation of the crises, which have become more dramatic than ever in recent days, there is the need of justice and of serious and credible commitment to peace, which alas, are not in evidence."
A prayer and blessing were also made for the Summit of religious leaders in Moscow from 3 to 5 July, organised by the Interreligious Council of Russia. A delegation of the Catholic Church is participating on the invitation of the Patriarchate of Moscow.
"I wish to send my cordial greetings to His Holiness Alexei II and all participants," said the pope, explaining that "the significant meeting of many representatives of world religions is a sign of the shared desire to promote dialogue between civilizations and the search for a world order that is more just and peaceful. I hope that, thanks to the sincere commitment of all, fields of effective collaboration can be found, in mutual respect and understanding, to tackle current challenges. For Christians, it is a matter of learning to know one another ever more deeply and to respect each other, in the light of human dignity and mankind's eternal destiny."