Arezzo (AsiaNews) - "Through Mary, we ask God for the moral comfort, so that the community Arezzo, and the whole of Italy, react to the temptation of discouragement, and strengthened by s great humanist tradition, decidedly resume the path of spiritual and ethical renewal, which alone can lead to a genuine improvement of social and civic life": this Benedict XVI's prayer at the Regina Caeli today, held in Arezzo, where he is on a pastoral visit. The words of the pope, at the end of the Mass celebrated in the city's "Il Prato" Park, offer a way to react to the economic crisis that marks the city, Italy and the world.
Recalling the image of Our Lady of Consolation, which is kept in the cathedral, the pope said: "Mary always wants to comfort her children in times of difficulty and suffering. And this city has experienced its mother's rescue many times. Therefore also today, we entrust to her intercession all the individuals and families in your community who are in situations of great need. "
Benedict XVI had already touched on the economic crisis earlier in his homily during the Mass: "The complexity of problems - he said - makes it difficult to find quick and effective solutions to come out of the present situation which affects the weakest elements especially and greatly worries young people". The Pope's proposal was to rediscover the Christian and humanist values, characteristic of culture Arezzo: "The Word of God we have heard is a powerful invitation to live God's love towards all, and, among its distinctive values, the culture of this land includes solidarity, attention to the weak, respect for the dignity of all. Your capacity to welcome those who have come here recently in search of freedom and work, is well known. Showing solidarity with the poor, means recognizing the plan of God the Creator, who made us all one family".
The pope recalled that in the history of the city there are great Renaissance cultural figures like Francesco Petrarch and the Giulio Vasari; Popes such as Gregory X, "confronted the great problems of his time by calling the Council of Lyon; attention to the Holy Land; peace and relations among peoples - he was the first person in the West to exchange ambassadors with Kublai Khan in China." He hoped "that the City is always able to bring to fruition this precious heritage." At the same time, he asked for a conversion of lifestyles: " Since the remotest times, attention to others has moved the Church to show concrete signs of solidarity with those in need, sharing resources, promoting simpler lifestyles, going against an ephemeral culture which has disappointed many and determined a profound spiritual crisis. May this Diocesan Church, enriched by the shining witness of St Francis of Assisi, continue to be caring and attentive towards those in need, and may it teach how to go beyond purely materialistic ideologies that often mark our age and end up clouding our sense of solidarity and charity.Witnessing to the love of God by caring for the weakest is tied to the defence of human life, from its beginning to its natural end. In your Region, ensuring everyone dignity, health and fundamental rights, is justly considered an indispensable good. The defence of the family, through laws that are just and protect the weakest elements, is always an important point that keeps the fabric of society strong and offers hope for the future. "
The Pope ended his homily with an invitation: "Continue serving God and man according to the teaching of Jesus, the shining example of your saints and the tradition of your people. May the maternal protection of Our Lady of Comfort, whom you love and venerate, accompany and sustain you in this task. Amen. "
Following Mass, the Pope went to the cathedral to venerate the image of Our Lady of Consolation and a meeting with the Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of Santa Teresa Margaret Redi. After lunch with the bishops of Tuscany, in the afternoon he visits the Franciscan sanctuary of La Verna.