The common roots

The message of Benedict XVI in Santiago di Compostela and in Barcelona

“A Spain and a Europe concerned not only with people’s material needs but also with their moral and social, spiritual and religious needs, since all these are genuine requirements of our common humanity and only in this way can work be done effectively, integrally and fruitfully for man’s good”. It is the hope expressed by Benedict XVI during his visit to Spain (November 6-7), in Santiago di Compostela.Under the skies of Europe. “We need to hear God once again under the skies of Europe”, the Pope said. Indeed, “Europe must open itself to God, must come to meet him without fear, and work with his grace” for “that human dignity”. For the Pontiff, “The Europe of science and technology, the Europe of civilization and culture, must be at the same time a Europe open to transcendence and fraternity with other continents, and open to the living and true God, starting with the living and true man. This is what the Church wishes to contribute to Europe: to be watchful for God and for man, based on the understanding of both which is offered to us in Jesus Christ”.Human and Christian consciousness. In Barcellona, for the dedication of the Church of the Sagrada Familia, the Holy Father recalled that with his work Antoni Gaudí “accomplished one of the most important tasks of our times: overcoming the division between human consciousness and Christian consciousness, between living in this temporal world and being open to eternal life, between the beauty of things and God as beauty”. Benedict XVI pointed out that with enormous progress “in the technical, social and cultural spheres”, “there also need to be moral advances, such as in care, protection and assistance to families, inasmuch as the generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end”. For this reason “the Church advocates adequate economic and social means so that women may find in the home and at work their full development, that men and women who contract marriage and form a family receive decisive support from the state, that life of children may be defended as sacred and inviolable from the moment of their conception, that the reality of birth be given due respect and receive juridical, social and legislative support. For this reason the Church resists every form of denial of human life and gives its support to everything that would promote the natural order in the sphere of the institution of the family”.A breath of hope. “The principle message of the Pope” in Santiago di Compostela according to the archbishop of Pamplona, Msgr. Francisco Pérez González, was “the appeal not to lose the Christian roots of Europe”, thus promoting “the true significance of the Way of Santiago. The archbishop of Oviedo, Msgr. Jesús Sanz Montes, said the Holy Father’s message in Galitia is that “a people that forgets its own roots is like a people that doesn’t expect to have a future”. The bishop of Tarrasa, Msgr. José Ángel Saiz, said the message delivered by the Pontiff in the Eucharist in Plaza del Obradoiro, in Santiago de Compostela is “accurate and precious”, and is synthesized in the phrase “man alone cannot quench his thirst for the infinite”. “This wonderful endeavour” created “with the contribution of the Catalan population, is the expression of its religious soul and of its Christian roots for more than one thousand years. The population that is fond of the Sagrada Familia Church for its religious and artistic significance, that appreaciates Antoni Gaudí as a genius architect and an exemplary Catholic, and is very satisfied that today, presided over by the Pope, this uncomparable temple is dedicated to the glory and praise of God”, said the archbishop of Barcelona cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, in the welcoming speech to Benedict XVI in the Mass for the dedication of the Sagrada Familia Church. “As heirs of those Christians that lay the grounds of this admirable Church”, His Eminence said, “we wish to reiterate of feelings of devotion and esteem for the successor of Peter and of communion with yourself, bearing the burden of the service to the entire Church and the defense of the dignity of human life, from the beginning to its natural termination, of marriage and of the family, of justice and of peace in the world”. The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona has been “a breath of hope” for the Country and for the families at a moment when Spain and Europe are experiencing a “hostile culture”, said Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, in an interview to the newspaper “El Mundo”. Even though the State is secular, even though some aspects of legislation on marriage and the right to life have changed, the reality of Spanish society shows that “the expressions of popular religiousity in Spain are unique in Europe”, concluded the cardinal.

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