2008-11-09 14:12:46

Pope Denounces Past and Present Atrocities in Angelus Address

(09 Nov 08 - RV) Pope Benedict XVI's Angelus Address this Sunday was an intense appeal against all forms of persecution and systematic slaughter past and present. RealAudioMP3
Following the Marian Prayer at Midday Pope Benedict recalled the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, when Nazi-fuelled riots led to the destruction of synagogues, homes and shops effectively launching the Nazi campaign to systematically destroy Europe’s Jewish community.

The Pope told a crowded St Peter’s square that still today he feels the pain of that great tragedy and urged that the memory of such horrors serve to ensure they never happen again by encouraging people to work against all forms of discrimination and anti-Semitism. He also invited Christians worldwide to pray for the victims of the Shoah and join him in a show of deep solidarity with the Jewish world.

From past atrocities Pope Benedict then turned his thoughts to a present one, unfolding as we speak on the great continent of Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He said “troubling reports continue to arrive from the region of North Kivu….of bloody armed battles and systematic slaughter .....of numerous victims many of them innocent civilians….” He continued: “Destruction, raids and violence of every kind have forced tens of thousands to flee leaving what little they had to survive. It is calculated that over one and a half million people are now seeking refuge”.

Pope Benedict said “to each and every one of those people I give my blessing and assure them of my constant and fervent prayers”. He also blessed and encouraged the countless aid-workers struggling to ease some of the victims suffering, above the many pastoral workers from the local Church”.

Then Pope appealed to all sides, rebels and government forces, to work to restore peace to the martyred land, to respect the law and above all the dignity of every person.
 In conclusion Pope Benedict reflected on Thanksgiving, celebrated this Sunday in the Italian Church, with the theme, “I was hungry and you gave me to eat”. He asked that greater attention be paid to the “complex problem of world hunger” which has been made even more dramatic by the drastic increase in the prices of basic food-stuffs. “I pray for the rural world” he said, “especially for small farmers in developing countries”. “I encourage and bless all who strive to see that no-one goes without healthy and sufficient nutrition”. “Remember”, concluded the Pope “he who helps the poor, helps Christ”.

Pope Benedict also greeted English speaking pilgrims: “I greet the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims who are here today, especially the groups from Billingham in England, Heulen in the Netherlands and Los Angeles, California. Today we celebrate the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Mother Church of all the churches throughout the world. Let us rejoice in this great sign of our unity in faith and love, and let us resolve to become living stones, constantly growing into a holy Temple in the Lord. May God bless you all!”

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