Pope: Overcoming Racism a "Great Victory"

Says It's a Key Task for Modern Times

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- One of humanity's great victories is the overcoming of racism, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this Sunday in his reflection before praying the midday Angelus with crowds who had gathered at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

Noting the three readings from Sunday's Mass, the Holy Father said: "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."

The Pontiff affirmed this message is key for the 21st century.

He said: "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."