Pope: trust and respect for commitment to a nuclear weapon free world
Appeal of Benedict XVI to the participants at review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. For the faithful present at the general audience, the Pope stresses the role of the priest to "sanctify" the faithful. Marriage, "an instrument of salvation, not only for married people, but for the whole of society."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Trust", "respect for obligations" and of the need to overcome the "constraints of history" to achieve the "total elimination" of nuclear weapons from the planet. In this context, Benedict XVI today lent his encouragement to participants at the review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which opened May 3 in New York.

"The process towards a concerted and safe nuclear disarmament – he said in an appeal at the end of today’s audience- is closely connected with the full and prompt compliance with international commitments. Peace, in fact, rests on the trust and respect of obligations, and not only on the balance of power. In this spirit, I encourage initiatives which pursue a progressive disarmament and the establishment of zones free from nuclear weapons, with the prospect of their complete elimination from the planet. To this ends, I urge all participants in the meeting in New York, to overcome the constraints of history and patiently weave a political and economic plan for peace, to help human development and the genuine aspirations of peoples”.

Earlier in his address to 20 thousand people at the weekly audience, the Pope dedicated his catechesis to the priest’s task to "sanctify" the faithful, thus continuing his lessons on priestly ministry.

The priest, therefore, has the task of "evangelizing and sanctifying," especially in today's world, in which "faith is weakening," but in which " a deep need for spirituality” is also emerging.  However, announcing the Gospel " does not only mean speaking about Jesus, it also incorporates his actions, his signs, the miracles he accomplishes. He who saves the world is Jesus crucified and risen, He alone brings salvation. We must make the sacramental offering of the Son of God present". "I wonder - he added - if an underestimation of the faithful exercise of this ministry has represented a weakening of the current action of Christ through the Church." 'It is therefore important that priests are engaged in promoting an adequate catechesis to help the faithful understand the value of the sacraments, but that they are also available and generous in making available these treasures of which they are the administrators, in short the sacraments. Announcement, worship and sacraments are never separate : they are free gifts of God.  Priests must be humble and generous in the administration of the sacraments, but also aware that this is our mission".

Being "bridges to facilitate an encounter with God" means that "the quest for moral perfection must dwell within every priest" who, following the example of the Holy Curé of Ars, should "live more in the confessional" and "live the Eucharist with intensity, while the faithful should be close to them with their prayers and their support, especially in their difficulties. "

The Pope, who also recalled his visit to Turin and prayer before the shroud that "invites us to contemplate the face of Christ", also reiterated the importance which the Church gives to marriage, " n instrument of salvation, not only for married people but for the whole of society" because "like any truly worthwhile goal, it places demands upon us, it challenges us, it calls us to be prepared to sacrifice our own interests for the good of the other".   “It requires us to exercise tolerance and to offer forgiveness.  It invites us to nurture and protect the gift of new life”.  Speaking in English to those attending the Congress of the families planned in Jonkoping, Sweden, Benedict XVI added that "Those of us fortunate enough to be born into a stable family discover there the first and most fundamental school for virtuous living and the qualities of good citizenship.  I encourage all of you in your efforts to promote a proper understanding and appreciation of the inestimable good that marriage and family life offer to human society”.