Aug. 17 Angelus Address

"Overcome Every Possible Temptation to Racism, Intolerance and Exclusion"

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 18, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters:

On this 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the liturgy proposes a reflection on the words of the prophet Isaiah: "And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him ... I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer ... for my house shall be called a house of prayer" (Isaiah 56:6-7). The Apostle Paul also makes reference to the universality of salvation in the second reading, as does the Gospel page that narrates the episode of the woman of Cana, a foreigner for the Jews, that Jesus listened to because of her great faith. The word of God thus offers us the opportunity to reflect on the universality of the mission of the Church, made up of peoples of all races and cultures. Indeed, herein lies the great responsibility of the ecclesial community, called to be a hospitable house for all, sign and instrument of communion for the whole human family.

How important it is, especially in our time, that every Christian community be ever more conscious of this, in order to help civil society to overcome every possible temptation to racism, intolerance and exclusion, and to organize itself with options that are respectful of the dignity of every human being! One of humanity's great victories is precisely the overcoming of racism. Unfortunately, however, there are new worrying manifestations of the latter, often linked to social and economic problems, which, however, can never justify contempt and racial discrimination. Let us pray that respect for every person will grow everywhere, together with the responsible awareness that only by the reciprocal acceptance of all is it possible to build a world marked by real justice and true peace.

Today I would like to propose another prayer intention, given the news we receive, especially during this period, of numerous road accidents. We must not get used to this sad reality! Human life is too precious and it is too unworthy of man to meet death or become an invalid due to causes that could mostly be avoided. There is certainly a need for a greater sense of responsibility, above all by drivers, as accidents are often caused by excessive speed and imprudent conduct. Driving on public roads calls for moral and civic sense. Indispensable to fostering this is authorities' constant endeavor to prevent, keep watch and restrict. Moreover, as the Church, we feel directly involved at the ethical level: Christians must above all make a personal examination of conscience on their own conduct as drivers; moreover, communities should educate everyone to consider traffic as a field in which life must be protected and love of neighbor concretely exercised.

Let us commend the social problems I have mentioned to the maternal intercession of Mary, whom we now invoke by praying the Angelus.

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In Italian, he said:]

I am following with close attention and concern the situation in Georgia, and feel particularly close to the victims of the conflict. While I offer a special prayer for the repose of the souls of the deceased and express my sincere sympathy for all those in mourning, I appeal for generous relief of the serious harm that the refugees are suffering, especially the women and children, who are even lacking what is necessary to survive. I appeal for the opening, without delay, of humanitarian corridors between the region of South Ossetia and the rest of Georgia, so that the dead who are still abandoned, can received a worthy burial, that the wounded may be adequately attended and that those who so wish it be allowed to be reunited with their loved ones. Moreover, the ethnic minorities involved in the conflict must be guaranteed safety and the inviolability of their fundamental rights. I hope, finally, that the present cease-fire, agreed thanks to the contribution of the European Union, might be consolidated and be transformed into a stable peace. At the same time, I call upon the international community to continue offering its support to achieve a lasting solution, through dialogue and the good will of all.

[He continued in German and Italian:]

I received with profound sorrow the news of the unexpected death of Bishop Wilhelm Emil Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone. A few days ago I bade him farewell and I thought he was enjoying good health. Nothing led one to think of such a quick demise. I add my sympathy to that of his relatives and of the whole diocese, in which he was greatly appreciated and loved for his commitment and dedication. I raise a fervent prayer to the Lord for the eternal rest of this good and faithful servant, I send a special apostolic blessing of consolation to his brother -- a Capuchin religious -- to his other relatives, and to all the priests, men and women religious and faithful of the Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[In English, he said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Sunday Angelus prayer. In today's Gospel Jesus invites us, after the example of the Canaanite woman, to profess our faith and our complete trust in God. He alone, through the power of his Word and his Holy Spirit, can touch our hearts and save us. May your stay in Castel Gandolfo and Rome draw you nearer to Christ, and may God bless you all!

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana