Pope Encourages Young People to Escape Sin


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(02 Dec 09 - RV) At the end of his general Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI encouraged young people, to "escape sin and plan your future in generous service to God and neighbour."

The Pope then indicated some examples: St. John Mary Vienney patron of this year for priests and St. Pius of Pietrelcina, whom he described as ''extraordinary figures of Apostles of the confessional'''.

The Pope was drawing attention to the 25th anniversary of promulgation of the apostolic exhortation "Reconciliatio et paenitentia'', a call to the importance of Sacrament of Penance in the life of the Church.''

A sacrament he also recommended to newly-weds, inviting them ''to create a family of faith and a constant climate mutual understanding,'' as well as priests and all Christians.

In his catechesis this Wednesday Pope Benedict continued his lessons on the great theologians of the Middle Ages. This week he spoke of William of Saint-Thierry, a close friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who said that only love for God and neighbour gives meaning to our choices:

"William took active part in the twelfth-century movement of monastic renewal and, after serving as abbot of Saint-Thierry, he entered the Cistercian monastery of Signy. A central theme of his writings is the nature and power of love, seen as the ultimate vocation and the driving force of the human spirit".

Pope Benedict said that for William, this innate human drive finds perfection in the love of the triune God, the source and goal of all love. As the culmination of a process of purification and integration of the affections, the love of God brings supreme human fulfilment, and a profound experiential knowledge of both God and the world about us.

"In William's celebrated phrase, Amor ipse intellectus est - love itself brings knowledge. By contemplation of the mysteries of the faith, we grow in the image of God and, by uniting our will to his, we become one with him".

The Advent atmosphere permeated this weeks audience as pilgrims and visitors to the square attempted to catch glimpses of the Vatican nativity scene currently being built in the heart of the square. Further underlining the coming festive season at the end of the audience, the Italian Federation of Bakers and confectioners presented Pope Benedict with a stock of panetone, the traditional Italian Christmas cake, to distribute to the poor this Christmas.