01/01/2009, 00.00
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Pope delivers the faith’s “reliable” greetings to the whole world

Only with the grace of the Lord can we hope in a better future, of which we are also responsible. The Papal Message on World Day of Peace calls for “global solidarity.” The Gospel redeems from moral and material deprivation.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In St Peter’s Square under pouring rain, Benedict XVI delivered his New Year’s greetings to tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the world as well as people “connected via radio and television”, “reliable” greetings said the Pontiff, because they are anchored in the “grace of the Lord.”

“Only the latter can always give us new hope that the future will be better than the past. It is not a matter of placing our trust in better luck or in today’s interaction of markets and finance, but rather of trying ourselves to be better and more responsible in order to count on the Lord’s benevolence. And this is always possible because ‘he spoke to us through a son’ (Heb, 1:2) and continues to speak to us through the preaching of the Gospel and the voice of our conscience. Through Jesus Christ the path of salvation was shown to all men, first and foremost, a spiritual redemption, with its social and historical aspects.”

Today is also the 42nd World Day of Peace, an event created by Paul VI, Benedict XVI said. “At the start of a new year my first objective is in fact to urge everyone, rulers and ordinary citizens, not to be discouraged in the face of difficulties and failures, but renew instead their efforts,” he added.

“A great economic crisis came about in the second half of 2008,” the Pontiff said as he referred to his Message for this year, titled ‘Fight Poverty to Build Peace’. “Such a crisis requires an in-depth look so that we can act on its causes. It is not enough to sew a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak (Mk, 2:21), Jesus might have said. Instead putting the poor ahead of the line means moving decisively towards the kind of global solidarity John Paul II had said was necessary, one that tries to reconcile the potential of both markets and civil society (cf Message, 12) whilst always respecting the law and working for the common good.”

Before starting the Marian prayer Benedict concluded by saying: “Jesus Christ did not organise anti-poverty campaigns; instead he announced the Gospel to the poor in order to fully redeem them from their moral and material deprivation. In its never-ending work of evangelisation and human promotion, the Church does the same. Thus, let us call upon the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, to help everyone walk together on the path of peace.”

After the Angelus the Pope expressed his thanks to all those who sent him New Year’s Greetings, in particular the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano. He also addressed his greetings to groups and movements that today and yesterday were involved in organising a variety of meetings, marches and conferences for peace; among them the Community of Sant’Egidio, and the Italian Bishops Conference which organised a meeting in Palermo.

“Thank you for such actions!” he said. “May the Lord help us and give us peace!”

Photo: CPP

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