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Benedict XVI in the UK – Part II

Following from the previous post, Pope Benedict XVI renewed his wish that the Holy See and UK may grow in cooperation of efforts,  “especially in cooperation for international development, in care for the natural environment, and in the building of a civil society with a renewed sense of shared values and common purpose” (Farewell Address in Birmingham). The environment as a realm of cooperation was mentioned before (“The Holy See also looks forward to exploring with the United Kingdom new ways to promote environmental responsibility, to the benefit of all”), when the Pope spoke in a historic occasion at Westminster Hall, where centuries ago St. Thomas More was tried and sentenced to death for standing against King Henry the VIII.

But the greatest contribution of the Pope is with regards to the role of Christians in building this civil society for the good of all. In his speach at Hyde Park, the Vigil of Cardinal Newman’s beatification he says:

“in our day, when an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to sap the very foundations of our society, Newman reminds us that, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfilment of our deepest human aspirations. In a word, we are meant to know Christ, who is himself “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6).”  [and later]

“No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society. We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in his providence and we pray for his continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person. As our Lord tells us in the Gospel we have just heard, our light must shine in the sight of all, so that, seeing our good works, they may give praise to our heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:16).”

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