Cardinal Bertone: Coexistence Is Based on Respect

Urges Priests to Prepare the Way of the Lord

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KARAGANDA, Kazakhstan, DEC. 6, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Human coexistence is based on authentic respect for each person's rights, says Benedict XVI's secretary of state.



Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone stated this on Saturday while presiding at a Mass in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Karaganda.
 
With this celebration the cardinal concluded his six-day visit to Kazakhstan and the Catholic community of 200,000 faithful in a nation of more than 15 million inhabitants, the majority of whom are Muslim.

He also participated in the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) summit, which was held Wednesday and Thursday in Astana.

During his homily on Saturday, the prelate affirmed that for Christians, Advent is a time of waiting and hope, of listening and reflection, but it is also an occasion to witness to charity "in fraternal love and in the service of the poor, the sick, the excluded" and to be "builders of reconciliation and piece."
 
The feast of Christmas that draws near reawakens in men "a marvelous hope in the plans of God," which are realized in Jesus, Cardinal Bertone noted.

Nevertheless, he continued, "those who want to find God must continually journey interiorly, moving in a different direction from that indicated by a materialistic, individualistic, hedonistic mentality."
 
Christians, the cardinal added, must reflect during the period of Advent on the necessity of transforming their mindset because "whoever wants to be worthy of the name Christian must continually change his mentality" and transform "his way of thinking" to "overcome the illusion that man only has a single horizontal, visible dimension, and must become sensitive and attentive to his vertical dimension, to the invisible."
 
Thus, the prelate said, the mission of each priest is to announce the Gospel, to prepare the way of the Lord and not his own so that "each one of the faithful can live the personal encounter with the risen Christ."
 
The Christian, he said, "must insert himself into the society in which he lives, into a reality that is sometimes difficult, testifying to the love of God."

Cardinal Bertone underlined the necessity of respecting the rights of each person, even if he has different personal convictions.