CHRISTIAN VALUES WILL NEVER BE ERADICATED
VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2007 (VIS) - Today at 4 p.m. (9 p.m. in Rome), the Pope's plane landed at the international airport of Sao Paulo / Guarulhos in Brazil, thus beginning the sixth apostolic trip outside Italy of his pontificate. Benedict XVI was received by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president of the Federal Republic of Brazil, accompanied by the civil, military and religious authorities.
In his welcome address, the Pope affirmed that his visit "has a scope that goes beyond national borders: I have come to preside at the opening Session of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean at Aparecida. This country, in the providence and goodness of the Creator, will become the cradle of the ecclesial proposals that, with God's help, will give renewed vigor and missionary impetus to this continent."
The fact that Catholics represent a majority in Brazil, he went on, "means that they must make a particular contribution to the common good of the nation. The word solidarity will acquire its full meaning when the living forces of society, each in its own sphere, commit themselves seriously to building a future of peace and hope for all."
"I am well aware that the soul of this people, as of all Latin America, safeguards values that are radically Christian, which will never be eradicated. I am certain that at Aparecida, during the bishops' general conference, this identity will be reinforced through the promotion of respect for life from the moment of conception until natural death as an integral requirement of human nature. It will also make the promotion of the human person the axis of solidarity, especially towards the poor and abandoned.
"The Church," he added, "seeks only to stress the moral values present in each situation and to form the conscience of citizens so that they may make informed and free decisions. She will not fail to insist on the need to take action to ensure that the family, the basic cell of society, is strengthened, and likewise young people, whose formation is a decisive factor for the future of any nation. Last but not least, she will defend and promote the values present at every level of society, especially among indigenous peoples."
The welcome ceremony over, the Pope travelled by helicopter to the "Campo de Marte" airport in Sao Paulo where he was received by the local authorities. He then went by popemobile to the monastery of Sao Bento where, following a moment of prayer in the chapel, he appeared at the balcony to greet and bless the faithful awaiting him below.
PV-BRAZIL/ARRIVAL/SAO PAULO VIS 070510 (450)