Pope: Support for US march for life.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI has pledged his support for the March for Life in the United States.

Using his @pontifex Twitter handle, the Pope said, “I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life.”

This year’s March for Life is marking the 40th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in all fifty states.

Earlier this week, the Holy Father issued his Message for World Communication Day, in which he called on Catholics to be engaged through all forms of social media, especially new media, in spreading the Good News and building up public discourse.

 

Full text of the Pope’s press conference held on the plane, enroute to the U.K.

As is tradition, Pope Benedict XVI held a mid flight press conference with journalists accompanying him on his four day visit to the United Kingdom. We publish a draft Vatican Radio translation of the question and answer session:

Q. – Your Holiness, welcome among us and thank you for being available for our questions. We have a group of 70 journalists present here from different parts of the world. Of course some have come especially from the UK to join our group for the flight. As usual, in recent days my colleagues have given me several questions for consideration in this initial conversation, the beginning of a long-awaited and challenging journey, which we hope will be truly beautiful. I chose a series of questions, from among those that were submitted, and I will ask them in Italian so as not to tax you too much. My colleagues will help those who are not familiar with Italian, to understand. The first question: during the preparation for this journey there have been contrary discussions and positions. The country has a past tradition of a strong anti-Catholic position. Are you concerned about how you will be received?

A. – Firstly, good day to you all and I wish you a good journey. I must say that I’m not worried, because when I went to France I was told: “This will be a most anticlerical country with strong anticlerical currents and with a minimum of faithful.” When I went to the Czech Republic it was said: “This is the most non-religious country in Europe and even the most anti-clerical”. So Western countries, all have, each in their own specific way, according to their own history, strong anticlerical or anti-Catholic currents, but they always also have a strong presence of faith. So in France and the Czech Republic I saw and experienced a warm welcome by the Catholic community, a strong attention from agnostics, who, however, are searching, who want to know, to find the values that advance humanity and they were very careful to see if they could hear something from me in this respect, and tolerance and respect for those who are anti-Catholic. Of course Britain has its own history of anti-Catholicism, this is obvious, but is also a country with a great history of tolerance. And so I’m sure on the one hand, there will be a positive reception from Catholics, from believers in general, and attention from those who seek as we move forward in our time, mutual respect and tolerance. Where there is anti-Catholicism I will go forward with great courage and joy.

Q. – The UK, like many other Western countries – there is an issue that you have already touched on in the first answer –it is considered a secular country. There is a strong atheist movement, even for cultural reasons. However, there are also signs that religious faith, particularly in Jesus Christ, is still alive on a personal level. What can this mean for Catholics and Anglicans? Can anything be done to make the Church as an institution, more credible and attractive to everyone?

A. – I would say that a Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for her own ends, she does not work to increase numbers and thus power. The Church is at the service of another: she serves, not for herself, not to be a strong body, rather she serves to make the proclamation of Jesus Christ accessible, the great truths and great forces of love, reconciling love that appeared in this figure and that always comes from the presence of Jesus Christ. In this regard, the Church does not seek to be attractive in and of herself, but must be transparent for Jesus Christ and to the extent that she is not out for herself, as a strong and powerful body in the world, that wants power, but is simply the voice of another, she becomes truly transparent for the great figure of Christ and the great truth that he has brought to humanity. The power of love, in this moment one listens, one accepts. The Church should not consider herself, but help to consider the other and she herself must see and speak of the other. In this sense, I think, both Anglicans and Catholics have the same simple task, the same direction to take. If both Anglicans and Catholics see that the other is not out for themselves but are tools of Christ, children of the Bridegroom, as Saint John says, if both carry out the priorities of Christ and not their own, they will come together, because at that time the priority of Christ unites them and they are no longer competitors seeking the greatest numbers, but are united in our commitment to the truth of Christ who comes into this world and so they find each other in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism.

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