Here's a quick roundup of coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Valencia, Spain to close the 5th World Meeting of Families.

  • The Vatican website has the texts of the Holy Father's addresses. Some snips from the major addresses appear at the end of this post.

  • Estimates on attendance at the Sunday Mass range from several hundred thousand to 1.5 million. Spanish president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was conspicuously though not exactly surprisingly absent from the Mass. The whole world knows where his sympathies rest, and he felt no need to make a show otherwise.

  • In addition to the major addresses, the Pope made a stop to lay a wreath at the site of last week's train cash that killed 41 people earlier. The Pope later met with families of victims of the crash and prayed an Our Father with them. Here's a particularly moving picture of that encounter.

  • The best pictures of the trip I've found are here. Most of the pics are screen captures posted by devoted Benedict fans.

  • John Allen was in Valencia for the Holy Father's visit, and as always provides detailed coverage. His reports can be found here and here.

  • Click on the link below for excerpts of the Holy Father's major addresses. Better yet, click here and read 'em all.

From his address upon arrival on Saturday, July 8th:

My reason for this long-awaited visit is to take part in the Fifth World Meeting of Families, whose theme is "The Transmission of Faith in the Family". I wish to set forth the central role, for the Church and for society, proper to the family based on marriage. The family is a unique institution in God’s plan, and the Church cannot fail to proclaim and promote its fundamental importance, so that it can live out its vocation with a constant sense of responsibility and joy.

From a letter to the Spanish Bishops, delivered at the Cathedral Basilica of the "Virgen de los Desamparados" - Virgin of the Forlorn:

I am aware of, and I encourage the impulse that you are giving to pastoral activity at a time of rapid secularization, which can also affect the internal life of Christian communities. Continue dauntlessly to proclaim that prescinding from God, acting as if he did not exist or relegating faith to the purely private sphere, undermines the truth about man and compromises the future of culture and society. On the contrary, lifting one’s gaze to the living God, the garantor of our freedom and of truth, is a premise for arriving at a new humanity. Nowadays, in a special way the world needs people capable of proclaiming and bearing witness to God who is love, and consequently the one light which in the end, illumines the darkness of the world and gives us strength to live and work.

From his address at the Saturday night prayer vigil to close the Meeting:

Together with passing on the faith and the love of God, one of the greatest responsibilities of families is that of training free and responsible persons. For this reason the parents need gradually to give their children greater freedom, while remaining for some time the guardians of that freedom. If children see that their parents - and, more generally, all the adults around them - live life with joy and enthusiasm, despite all difficulties, they will themselves develop that profound "joy of life" which can help them to overcome wisely the inevitable obstacles and problems which are part of life. Furthermore, when families are not closed in on themselves, children come to learn that every person is worthy of love, and that there is a basic, universal brotherhood which embraces every human being.

This Fifth World Meeting invites us to reflect on a theme of particular importance, one fraught with great responsibility: the transmission of faith in the family. This theme is nicely expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "As a mother who teacher her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith" (No. 171).

This is symbolically in the liturgy of Baptism: with the handing over of the lighted candle, the parents are made part of the mystery of new life as children of God given to their sons and daughters in the waters of baptism.

To hand down the faith to children, with the help of individuals and institutions like the parish, the school or Catholic associations, is a responsibility which parents cannot overlook, neglect or completely delegate to others. "The Christian family is called the domestic church because the family manifests and lives out the communal and familiar nature of the Church as the family of God. Each family member, in accord with his or her own role, exercises the baptismal priesthood and contributes towards making the family a community of grace and of prayer, a school of human and Christian virtues, and the place where the faith is first proclaimed to children" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Compendium, 350). And what is more: "Parents, in virtue of their participation in the fatherhood of God, have the first responsibility for the education of their children and they are the first heralds of the faith for them. They have the duty to love and respect their children as persons and as children of God... in particular, they have the mission of educating their children in the Christian faith" (ibid, 460)....

Children need to be brought up in the faith, to be loved and protected. Along with their basic right to be born and to be raised in the faith, children also have the right to a home which takes as its model the home of Nazareth, and to be shielded from all dangers and threats.

From Sunday morning's homily:

The joyful love with which our parents welcomed us and accompanied our first steps in this world is like a sacramental sign and prolongation of the benevolent love of God from which we have come. The experience of being welcomed and loved by God and by our parents is always the firm foundation for authentic human growth and authentic development, helping us to mature on the way towards truth and love, and to move beyond ourselves in order to enter into communion with others and with God.

To help us advance along the path of human maturity, the Church teaches us to respect and foster the marvellous reality of the indissoluble marriage between man and woman which is also the origin of the family. To recognize and assist this institution is one of the greatest services which can be rendered nowadays to the common good and to the authentic development of individuals and societies, as well as the best means of ensuring the dignity, equality and true freedom of the human person.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on July 10, 2006 11:00 PM.

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