03/06/2011, 00.00
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Pope remembers Shahbaz Bhatti, may his death move everyone to defend religious freedom

During the Angelus, Benedict XVI spoke about the “moving sacrifice of the life” of Pakistani minister. He also turned heartsick thoughts to the victims of clashes in Libya. He urges people not to base their life on power, money, success or activism, but rather on the word of God.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI during the Angelus remembered “the moving sacrifice of the life” of Pakistani Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, killed on Wednesday in front of his residence by armed gunmen (See Jibran Khan, “Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minister who defended Asia Bibi, is assassinated,” in AsiaNews, 2 march 2011). Following the commentary on the Gospel of the day, Benedict XVI said he was “continuously following with great apprehension the tensions” developing these days in some countries of Asia and Africa. Speaking about the murder of the Catholic leader, he said, “I call on Lord Jesus that the moving sacrifice of the life of Pakistani Minister Shahbaz Bhatti may rekindle in people the courage and commitment to protect religious freedom for all mankind and in this way also promote equal dignity for all.”

The Pontiff also turned his thoughts to events on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. “My heartsick thoughts go to Libya, where recent clashes have caused many deaths and a growing humanitarian crisis. To all the victims and those who find themselves in anxious situations, I assure my prayer and closeness, as I call for assistance and rescue for the people affected.”

In commenting the Evangelical text, Benedict XVI urged everyone “to build our life”, not on sand, but “on a solid basis”. Only the love for Christ constitutes the real rock on which we can build our existence, not power, money or success. “Often though, man does not build his action and existence on this identity, but prefers instead the sands of power, success and money, thinking that he can find stability and meet the irrepressible desire for happiness and completeness that he carries in his soul.”

“On what do we want to build our life?” asked the Pope. “Who can actually meet the anxiety of the human heart? Christ is the rock of our life! He is the eternal and definitive Word, which makes us not fear adversity, difficulty or hardship.”

Benedict also warned against doing things for their own sake, without any thought for spiritual sustenance. “Dear brothers,” he said, “I urge you to provide some space for the Word of God, to feed and meditate on it continuously. It is a precious form of help to protect yourself against the superficial activism that can satisfy your pride for a time, but which in the end leaves you empty and unsatisfied.”

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