Pope: God’s mercy stronger than the darkness of September 11th
Benedict XVI challenges opinion on the “clash of civilisations” reaffirming that “true religion” is love for all, friends and enemies. An appeal for a more effective protection of creation in the aftermath of the Montreal Protocol. The beatification of 3 new blessed in France and Poland recalled. A special greeting to the members of Aid to the Church in need.

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – “Humanity is in need of a vigorous witness and proclamation of God’s mercy” even “in the wake of the tragic events of September 11th 2001, which overshadowed the dawning of the third millennium”: was the affirmation of Benedict XVI today before the recitation of the Angelus prayer in the presence of thousands of pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the apostolic palace of Castel Gandolfo. Just a few days on from the 6th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York, which ushered many to speak of a “clash of civilisations”, the pontiff affirms that “true religion consists …. Of entering into harmony with this great Heart, ‘ rich in mercy’ which asks us to love everyone, even those who are our enemies, imitating the heavenly Father who respects individual freedom and draws all onto him by the strength of his faith”.

The pope’s reflections were drawn from the Sunday liturgy, particularly Luke’s Gospel, chapter 15 with the three parables of the lost sheep, the drama of the lost one and the two sons: “in this page of the Gospel,  we almost perceive Christ’s voice revealing God’s face to us, His and our Father. After all, this is why he came to earth: to speak to us of the Father and make him known to us to reawaken in the hearts of the lost souls the joy of belonging to God; to restore hope in God’s forgiveness and our human dignity, and the desire to belong to God’s house which is also our own house”.

On the urgency of witnessing God’s Divine Mercy today, Benedict XVI recalled John Paul II’s encyclical “Dives in Misericordia”, “throughout his pontificate he was a missionary of God’s love to all peoples.  ”.

“This is the way – concluded the pontiff – that Christ shows all those who want to be his disciples: "Stop judging …Stop condemning and you will not be condemned…. Forgive and you will be forgiven….Give and gifts will be given to you; … Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6, 36-38).

In comments following the angelus Benedict XVI marked the 20th anniversary of the Montréal Protocol” on “substances that deplete the ozone layer, provoking untold damage to human beings and the ecosystem”. “Over the last two decades - commented the pope – thanks to the international community’s exemplary collaboration in politics, science and economics, important results have been achieved, with positive repercussions for present and future generations”. “I hope – concluded the pontiff – that this cooperation is intensified by all involved, in order to promote common good and the development and safeguarding of creation so that the alliance between humanity and the environment is strengthened, becoming the mirror of god’s creating love from which we all originate and towards which we are all journeying”.

Benedict XVI also greeted polish pilgrims gathered at the sanctuary of Licheń, where card. Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State today proclaimed blessed Fr. Stanislao Papczyński, ffounder of the congregation of Marian Fathers.   “I send warm wishes – said the pope – to all of the faithful gathered for such a happy occasion and to all of those devoted to the newly Blessed, who venerate in him an exemplary preacher, former of the lay apostolate, father of the poor and of prayer in suffrage for the souls in purgatory”.

The pontiff also recalled the beatification of Sr. Maria Celina of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, a religious sister of the second order of St. Francis, who was beatified today in Bordeaux by card. José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints.  Recalling the newly blessed he said: “her life, touched by the cross, was offered as a sign of love for Christ, as she herself once said:” I thirst to be a rose of charity”.  Card.  Saraiva Martins also beatified fr. Basilio Antonio Maria Moreau, founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Cross yesterday in Le Mans.

Among the groups, the pope also greeted leaders of the Kirche in Not (Aid to the Church in Need), gathered in Rome for the 60th anniversary of the organisation dedicated to supporting evangelization throughout the world and persecuted Churches.