VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).-
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I desire above all to renew my thanks to the Lord for my apostolic trip to Brazil which I undertook May 9-14 and, at the same time, I thank all those who accompanied me in prayer. As you know I traveled to Brazil for the opening of the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean. But before such a great ecclesial event, I had an opportunity to meet the Brazilian Catholic community. Many faithful came to the city of São Paolo for this occasion and especially for the first canonization of a native of Brazil: Father Antônio de Santa’Ana Galvão. I plan to speak about this trip at greater length on Wednesday during the general audience. In the meantime I invite you to continue to pray for the conference that is taking place in Aparecida, Brazil and for the journey of the people of God who live in Latin America.
The World Communications Day offers another motive for prayer and reflection today. This year the theme is “Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education.” The educational challenges of today are often linked to the influence of the mass media, which competes with school, the Church and even the family. In this context an adequate formation in the right use of media is essential: Parents, teachers, and the ecclesial community are called to collaborate to educate children and young people to be selective and to develop a critical attitude, cultivating a taste for what is aesthetically and morally valid.
But the media too must make its contribution to this educational task, promoting the dignity of the human person, marriage and the family, and the accomplishments and aims of civilization. Programs that inculcate violence and antisocial behavior or that vulgarize human sexuality are unacceptable, and much more so when they are directed at the young. Thus I renew the appeal to the leaders of the media industry and workers in social communications that they safeguard the common good, respect the truth and protect the dignity of the human person and the family.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which the liturgy celebrated last Thursday, in some countries is celebrated today. Jesus, risen, returns to the Father. In this way he opens the passage to eternal life for us and makes the gift of the Holy Spirit possible. As the apostles did then, we too, after the Ascension, gather together in prayer to invoke the outpouring of the Spirit, in spiritual union with the Virgin Mary (cf. Acts 1:12-14). May her intercession obtain for the whole Church a renewed Pentecost.
The fighting between Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and the rocket attacks against the inhabitants of nearby Israeli cities, which have provoked military intervention, are bringing about a bloody deterioration of the situation and causing dismay.
Once again, in the name of God, I ask that an end be brought to this tragic violence, while to the suffering Palestinian and Israeli populations I desire to express my solidarity and assurance of my prayerful remembrance.
I appeal to the sense of responsibility of all the Palestinian authorities that, in dialogue and firmness, they take up again the difficult path of understanding, neutralizing the violent. I invite the Israeli government to moderation and exhort the international community to multiply efforts for the re-launching of negotiations. May the Lord bring forth and sustain makers of peace!
I am pleased to welcome the English-speaking pilgrims gathered here today. In the Gospel, Jesus prays that all may be one, just as he and the Father are one. He desires the world to know that he is the one sent by the Father. By working for reconciliation and peace, may Christians everywhere bear clearer witness to the Father’s love for the world, so that all mankind may come to believe in his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ. God bless you!