VATICAN: POPE: VISIT TO SAN MARINO- ENCOURAGES FAMILIES
Radio Vaticana report: On Sunday Pope Benedict XVI made a one day pastoral visit to a diocese that straddles two states – Italy and the tiny landlocked Republic of San Marino. During his trip to San Marino -Montefeltro, the Pope’s focus was on encouraging families and young people through what he repeatedly described in his speeches as the current period of crisis.
In fact the day concluded with a prayer meeting with some 4 thousand young people in town of Pennabilli, the eastern side of the Italian Apennines. There before the diocesan Cathedral he told the youth that they are ‘the hope of the region’.
Greeting the Pope, the Bishop of San Marino – Montefeltro, Msgr. Luigi Negri spoke of how young people are the weakest link in the local church and society, of how they are victims of the manipulations of a ‘bad culture and bad teachers’ that dominated society and its institutions over the course of the last century. Then one young man put a question to the Pope, asking him how young people today can escape from the vicious circle of that is the pursuit of personal pleasure.
Pope Benedict replied that only by opening up to the whole truth about ourselves and the world do we see God's initiative toward us. He urged them not to be afraid to face difficult situations, moments of crisis, life’s trials, but to always to remember that the Lord is with them. He said “human experience is a reality that binds us together, but it can be given different levels of meaning. This is where you decide how to direct your lives and choose who to entrust it to, who to entrust yourselves to”. Pope Benedict appealed to the young people not to allow scientific data and technological tools to substitute the world of life and the richness of relationships of friendship and love. He appealed to them to allow themselves to be illuminated by the mystery of Christ.
Earlier, Pope Benedict had visited the Republic of San Marino which claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. Alongside Vatican City State and the principality of Monaco it is also one of Europe’s smallest state’s covering just 61 square kilometres.
There in the historic San Marino fortress that rises from Mount Titan Pope Benedict asked local authorities to give greater support and recognition to families. He warned against attempts to undermine the fundamental value of the institution of the family, which he says marginalise young generations and society’s weakest. The family alone he said can nurture mature and responsible people with deep and perennial values. The Holy Father also encouraged the San Marino community in the current economic crisis, expressing his concern for those workers who have seen their labour rights undermined by the precarious nature of today’s jobs market.