11/14/2007, 00.00
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Pope urges that memory of those who died in Iraq give hope for rebirth of population

Benedict XVI expresses hope for peace in the middle eastern nation addressing the relatives of the 26 Italian soldiers who died four years ago in an attack in Nassyria, present at the general audience. In his address he recalls the teachings of St Jerome for whom education to responsibility “before God and before man is the true condition for progress, peace and reconciliation and as a result the exclusion of violence”.

Vatican City  (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI turned his thoughts to hopes for peace in Iraq, recalling the 26 Italians killed four years ago in an attack.  The Pope’s reflections were provoked by the presence of relatives of the soldiers killed in Nassyria, among the pilgrims present at today’s general audience to whom he dedicated “his affection”.   “May the memory of these our brothers – he added  - and of all of those who have made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in the noble quest for peace contribute to and sustain the journey of rebirth and hope of the dear Iraqi people”.

The figure of St Jerome, was instead at the centre of his discourse to over 20 thousand pilgrims in St Peter’s square, despite the cold and threat of rain.  Today the Pope underlined the instead of education to responsibility, central to the teachings and example of the Saint, declared “eminent doctor of the Church” by Benedict XV, for his interpretations of scripture. An education to responsibility “before God and before man is the true condition for progress, peace and reconciliation and as a result the exclusion of violence”.

Love for Sacred scripture, the need for coherence between life and faith, especially for “preachers” so that they may not become like “that master who with a full stomach preaches of fasting”, the need for personal formation, from early childhood and for communion with the pope.  These are just some of the factors which St Jerome urged – to whom pope Benedict already dedicated last weeks catechesis – together with “the importance of a broad and disciplined Christian education for the young, including women”- quite unexpected in ancient times.

For St. Jerome “familiarising oneself with biblical texts above all the New Testament is essential for the believer, because ignoring the Sacred Scripture means ignoring Christ”. “Truly enamoured with the Word of God he would ask how one could live without the scriptures”, without the Bible “which is the source of  Christian life, for every person in every situation”.  It means “conversing with God”.  Its study and meditation “makes man wise and serene”.

At the same time it is our duty to  “unite our lives with the Word of God”.  Coherence “is necessary for each and every Christian and particularly for those who preach so that their actions do not undermine their words or embarrass them”.  As is the case with “that master who with a full stomach preaches of fasting”.


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