July 10-11, 2000
volume 11, no. 119
The Holy Father's Angelus Address in THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS for July 10-11, 2000
1. This morning I had the joy of meeting with prisoners of the "Regina Coeli" Prison to celebrate the Jubilee. It was a touching moment of prayer and humanity. By looking into their eyes, I tried to understand the sufferings, anxieties, and hopes of each one. I knew that in them I would find Christ, who, in the Gospel, identified with them to the point of saying: "I was in prison and you came to Me" (Matthew 25,36).
In thinking of their harsh condition, in the Message for the Jubilee in the Prisons I requested that, on the occasion of the Holy Year, a sign of clemency be given to them. Above all I asked legislators of the whole world to rethink the prison system and the penal system itself, in view of making them more respectful of human dignity, in line with the redemptive justice of the culprit and not just in reparation of the disorder ushered in by the crime. In fact, it is necessary that all those who are at fault be helped to follow a path of moral rescue and personal and communitarian growth, in the hope of valid reinsertion in society.
2. The plenary session of the Mixed International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches is meeting today in Baltimore on the threshold of the third millennium to study some questions on the future of our reciprocal relations.
I invite all to pray to the Lord to infuse in hearts the gifts of his Spirit, so that this meeting will foster an ever greater understanding between Catholics and Orthodox and thus contribute to ulterior progress toward the desired goal of full ecclesial communion.
3. I am duty bound to refer to the well known manifestations that have taken place in Rome over the past days.
On behalf of the Church of Rome I cannot but express the disappointment for the affront caused to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and the offense to Christian values of a City that is so dear to the heart of Catholics throughout the world.
The Church cannot silence truth, because it would diminish fidelity toward God the Creator and would not help to discern what is good from what is evil. In this respect, I would like to limit myself to read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, which, after emphasizing that homosexual acts are against the natural law, expresses it this way: "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every form of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition" (CCC 2358).
May the Blessed Mother help us with her protection. ZE00070921
July 10, 2000
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