VATICAN CITY, 12 JAN 2012
With these words the Holy Father welcomed the
authorities of the City of Rome, the Region of Lazio, and the Province of Rome,
whom he received this morning in a traditional annual meeting for the exchange
of New Year greetings.
The Pope went on: "The present crisis can, then, be an opportunity for the entire community to verify whether the values upon which social life is founded have generated a society that is just, fair and united, or whether it is necessary to undertake a profound rethink in order to rediscover values which ... not only favour economic recovery, but which are also attentive to promoting the integral good of human beings".
Benedict XVI expressed the view that the roots of the current crisis lie in "individualism which clouds the interpersonal dimension of man and leads him to close himself into his own little world, concerned first and foremost with satisfying his own needs and desires with scant concern for others".
The consequences of such a mentality are "speculation in housing, increasing difficulty for young people to enter the world of work, the solitude suffered by so many elderly, the anonymity which often characterises urban life, and the sometimes superficial attention paid to situations of marginalisation and poverty".
The first step towards creating a more human society is "to rediscover relationships as the constituent element of our lives". Man is called to live in relation with other people and with God, Who alone "is capable of welcoming man unconditionally and of giving him infinite love".
Institutions must foment and increase the awareness that we all form part of the same structure, encouraging values of acceptance, solidarity and legality, said the Pope highlighting the work of Christian organisations which welcome people who have abandoned their own countries due to poverty or violence. He invited his audience to develop ways to integrate people into the social fabric, so that "individuals may learn to consider the place in which they reside as a 'common home', in which to live and for which to care".
Acceptance must be accompanied by solidarity, because "charity and justice require that, in times of need, those with the greatest resources should look after the disadvantaged". Benedict XVI insisted that institutions must give particular support to families, especially large families, in which context he invited the authorities "to defend the family founded on marriage as an essential cell of society". They must also show solidarity towards young people, "who are most penalised by the lack of work, ... implementing policies which ensure fairly priced accommodation and which help to guarantee employment", so as to avoid the risk that young people "fall victim to criminal organisations offering easy takings".
Finally, the Pope turned his attention to the need "to promote a culture of legality, helping citizens to understand that law exists to channel the many positive energies that exist in society, and thus to promote the common good. ... Institutions have the task ... of issuing just and fair provisions, also taking account of the law which God inscribed in man's heart, and which everyone can understand through reason".
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