2008-03-13 13:56:30

Pope Reaches Out to Haiti's Youth

(13 Mar 08 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI addressed bishops from the Caribbean nation of Haiti Thursday at the end of their Ad Limina pilgrimage to Rome.

The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. The Holy Father began his address to the nation’s bishops with an appeal for solidarity and reconciliation.

“Your country has known painful times” he said “which the Church has watched with increasing attention: divisions, injustices, poverty, famine, all a source of deep concern for your people. I ask the Lord to fill the hearts of Haitians, above all those in positions of responsibility with the courage to promote reconciliation and change, so the island’s inhabitants may know a dignified life and reap the benefits of the land, in an atmosphere of solidarity”.

Pope Benedict urged the international community to persevere and intensify its aid to Haiti, enabling the people of this island nation to help themselves and develop a future.

The Pope then turned to the bishops’ five yearly report, which during the course of the week the prelates have presented to the Pope. Chief among their concerns, noted Pope Benedict was the progressive loss of the sense of marriage and the family: “Family life has been seriously destabilised by the current crises” he said “as well as attempts to place it on a level with other forms of union”.

The Pope said that the church must help society protect and develop the family, because it is in the family that the true nature of man is formed and relationship skills learned. In this respect he said youth formation is essential. The Holy Father encouraged the bishops to emphasise education, he pointed out the important role of the Catholic schools and colleges which are appreciated by the authorities and population. These institutions along with the priceless collaboration of priests as pastors in the community must accompany the future generation of Haitians in their Human, Moral and Spiritual formation.

In this regards the Pope pointed to the encyclical Fidei Donum, and invited the bishops to welcome the support of the Churches from other nations, who have experienced educators available to accompany the Church in Haiti at this crucial turning point in the country’s history. Pope Benedict XVI emphasised the future of the Church in Haiti depends upon this.

Concluding the Holy Father asked the bishops’ to carry a message from him to all of the young men and women of Haiti. Tell them he said that the Pope has confidence in them, that them that the Pope knows their generosity and understands their desire to rebuild their lives. Tell them he said that they are a source of joy for the Pope. Any country which wants to develop, a church that wants to become more dynamic then must concentrate all of its efforts on the young. RealAudioMP3

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