Sunday, July 16, 2006

A family message by Cardinal Pell

Feeding Infant
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
LAST weekend, Pope Benedict XVI visited Valencia, an ancient but still beautiful city on Spain's eastern coast, for the Fifth World Meeting of Families.

The visit was important and successful, because Spanish Catholics are under more hostile pressure from President Jose Zapatero's socialist government than at any time since the civil war of the 1930s.

Zapatero's government was elected unexpectedly after the terrorist bombing of Madrid's trains.
Although short on policies, it is anti- Catholic,anti-family, and working strenuously for a thoroughly secular state.

About one and a half million people, most of them young, attended the Saturday-night vigil and the Sunday Mass. Australia sent a delegation of 50 pilgrims.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There were a few hostile posters claiming the visit was a waste of time, but papal flags were everywhere and posters explained that the Church was young and alive.

Although Zapatero greeted and visited the Pope, he did not come to the Sunday Mass.
Some had hoped for controversy and confrontation, but Benedict proved true toform, preaching on the beauty and advantages of Christian marriage.

The Catholic Church supports the family, not because it is a Christian invention, but because it's the basic building block of society, springs from human nature, and is the best trans-generational protection for developing human life.

The weekend was preceded by a four-day theology congress attended by 9000 delegates, a special conference for grandparents and a program for children.

Grandparents often have a vital role with their grandchildren in the nurturing of faith and love - a role that assumes new dimensions when both parents work and grandparents are able to stay healthy longer.

Valencia has pre-Roman origins and is renowned as a city of art and culture, buthas re-invented itself, diverting its river and erecting a fantastic series of buildings for its Centre for Arts and Sciences.

Its huge centrepiece, like a Roman helmet, makes the Sydney Opera House seem understated and is thoroughly worthy of the nation that produced such artists as Picasso and Salvador Dali.

The Catholic community is also ancient, as a bishop was executed in Valencia in 304AD during the last great persecution of the Roman Empire, under the emperor Diocletian.

The city has produced saints, popes and martyrs, survived 500 years of Muslim rule, and its most precious possession is an ancient chalice, reputed to have been used by Christ at the Last Supper - the Holy Grail.

Valencia was a superb setting for a public demonstration of faith in Christ and the importance of the family.