11/13/2013, 00.00
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Pope speaks of his "deep sorrow" for children killed in Syria

Francis renews appeal for aid for the Philippines. In his general audience catechesis he speaks of baptism. "Confession is not a torture session it’s a celebration of baptism".

Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - The dramas of Syria and the Philippines were remembered today by Pope Francis, who at the end of the general audience expressed "great sorrow " for the children killed in Syria and again appealed for support for the victims of the recent Typhoon .

"I heard with deep sorrow - he said - that two days ago in Damascus, mortar fire killed several children and their bus driver as they were returning home from school. Other children were injured. Let us pray that these tragedies do not occur!".

Then he added: "In these days we are praying and uniting our forces to help our brothers and sisters struck by the typhoon in the Philippines. These are the true battles to fight. For life! Never for death!".

Earlier, in his address to the 60 thousand people present in St Peter's Square , the Pope, continuing to illustrate the Creed focused on the passage "I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins." "It is - he said - the only explicit reference to a sacrament within the Creed". "Indeed Baptism is the 'gateway' to the faith and Christian life. The Risen Jesus gave this mandate to his apostles:" Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved". The mission of the Church is to evangelize and forgive sins through the baptismal sacrament".

Francis particularly emphasized the relationship between baptism and confession. "At Baptism - he said - the forgiveness of sins is tied to our faith. The sacrament of penance is, in fact, like a second baptism, which always refers back to the first to consolidate and renew it. In this sense, the day of our baptism is the starting point of a journey, a beautiful journey, a journey towards God , that lasts a lifetime, a journey of conversion and that it is continuously supported by the Sacrament of Reconciliation". "And think about this: When we go to confess our weaknesses, our sins, we ask Jesus to forgive us, but we also go to renew our Baptism with this forgiveness, and that's beautiful. It is like celebrating the day of our baptism at every confession. And so confession is not a torture session, is a celebration of the day of our baptism. "

Speaking of which, he again asked those present to celebrate the day of their baptism like "a second birthday". " All of you - he said - you know the day that you were born, no ? You celebrate your birthday, everyone. We all celebrate our birthday . But let me repeat a question that I already asked, but will ask again. Who among you remember the date of your baptism ? Raise your hand. Which one of you ? So few, huh? Not many. And I will not ask the bishops, so as not to embarrass them? So few, huh? So let's do this today: when you return home , ask, 'on what day I was baptized ? ' look it up. And this will be your second birthday, the day you were born into the Church. Will you do this ? It is some homework: look for the day when you were born, and thank the Lord that he has opened the door to his church on that day you received Baptism".

Pope Francis called baptism "spiritual immersion into Christ's death , from which we rise with Him as new creatures . It is the washing of regeneration and illumination. Regeneration because he actuates the birth of water and the spirit without which no one can enter the kingdom of heaven. Illumination because, through Baptism, the human person is filled with the grace of Christ, " the true light that illuminates every man" and dispels the darkness of sin. And in this baptism ceremony parents are given a burning candle, to signify this illumination . Baptism illuminates us from within with the light of Jesus by virtue of this gift the baptized person is called to become himself the light, the light of faith, he has received, light of the brethren, especially for those who are in darkness and do not see any glimmers of light on the horizon of their lives".


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See also
Pope: urgent appeal for the release of Fr. Dall'Oglio, kidnapped two years ago in Syria
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Pope: may Syria choose a path of reconciliation and reconstruction with the participation of all citizens
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