Aide Speaks on Pope's Coming Czech Republic Trip


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Says Visit Will Show Christianity's Vitality

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 13, 2009 ( Benedict XVI's upcoming Sept. 26-28 trip to the Czech Republic will permit him to show the vitality of Christianity in Europe's center, the Vatican spokesman affirmed.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, stated this today on "Octava Dies." In this weekly Vatican Television program, he analyzed the apostolic pilgrimage that will bring the Pope to visit Prague and Brno.

The priest explained that the Pontiff "will travel to the heart of Europe, to a country with an ancient and great cultural tradition to which Christianity made the essential contribution, a country that is currently recalling the 20 years since the fall of the Communist regime and the peaceful rebirth of democracy, a country where secularization is so widespread that religious practice is confined to a minority."

He continued: "There are many strong messages that the Holy Father could address to the believers and men of good will in such a country. Certainly [he could bring] encouragement for a lively Church, courageous in her witness of faith, who knows how to spread hope, solidarity and charity around herself, and especially for the younger generations."

Father Lombardi affirmed that Benedict XVI will most likely touch on the theme of "an invitation to a cordial ecumenism that gives credibility and profundity to the contribution of believers to the building of the future in secularized society."

He stated that the Pope will give "a perspective of great cultural and moral depth, so that the process of European unification is not reduced to material and economic aspects, but will carry within itself the wealth of shared values, necessary to guarantee the dignity of the human person."

The priest explained, "The national celebration -- which is the reason why the Pope chose this time to visit -- is dedicated to the martyr St. Wenceslas."

He concluded that this celebration in memory of the saint will help to "effectively" recall "that Christianity has and wants to continue to cordially provide a precious service to the deepest being and hopes of a people, of every people."