SUNDAY
February 11, 2001
volume 12, no. 42

Pope's Lenten Message Calls for Conversion



    VATICAN, Feb. 9, 01 (CWNews.com) -- In his annual Lenten message-- released by the Vatican on Friday-- Pope John Paul II calls all believers to a "profound revision of life," which can be the basis for "true social renewal" and a drive to bring peace to the world.

    Many baptized Christians, the Holy Father observed, resist or even rebel against the demands of Christian living. For such people, he said, prayer becomes superficial at best; God does not play an important role in their lives. Such people, he continued "do not understand the importance of coming face to face with the truth of the Gospel." They are vulnerable to self- satisfaction, self-absorption, and self-indulgence. The results of this attitude, the Pontiff went on, are visible "in interpersonal relations but also in the relations among communities and among nations."

    "The only path to peace is pardon," the Pope argued. He recalled how during the Jubilee year, he acted as spokesman for Christianity in asking God's pardon for the offenses committed by believers in the name of the faith. When pardon is asked and offered, he said, believers can profess their faith with renewed dedication.

    "It is not easy to convert oneself through pardon and reconciliation," the Pope conceded. It is a challenge, which can be faced only in the context of a "serious change of life," by those who are prepared to travel down the "path to interior conversion."

    The Pope also encouraged Christians to show their generosity during the season of Lent. Their almsgiving, he explained, should not be a matter of giving away a surplus, in order to "tranquilize one's conscience," but rather a genuine effort to show solidarity and compassion for those in need.


February 11, 2001
volume 12, no. 42
News from ROME
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