VATICAN CITY, 30 SEP 2009 (VIS) - During his general audience, celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope reminisced about his recent apostolic trip to the Czech Republic, which took place from 26 to 28 September.
The Holy Father gave thanks to God for his journey which "was a true pilgrimage and, at the same time, a mission into the heart of Europe" on the theme: "The love of Christ is our strength". This strength, he explained, "inspires and animates true revolutions, peaceful and liberating, and upholds us in moments of crisis, enabling us to arise once more when the freedom, so arduously regained, risks losing itself and the truth it contains".
On the first stage of his journey, in the church of Our Lady Victorious where the famous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague is venerated, Benedict XVI gave assurances that he had prayed "for all children, for parents, for the future of the family. The true 'victory' we ask of Mary today is the victory of love and life in families and in society", he said.
The Pope then recalled how, in his address to the political and civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps, he had mentioned "the indissoluble bond that must always exist between freedom and truth. We must not be afraid of truth, because it is a friend of man and his freedom. Indeed, only by sincerely seeking truth, goodness and beauty can we truly offer a future to the young people of today and to future generations".
"Leaders in the fields of politics and education must know how to draw from the light of that truth which is the reflection of the eternal wisdom of the Creator. And they are called to bear witness in person to this with their own lives".
The Holy Father went on: "For the communities of Central and Eastern Europe this a difficult time: to the consequences of the long winter of atheist totalitarianism are being added the harmful effects of a certain form of Western secularisation and consumerism. Hence, I encouraged everyone to draw fresh energy form the risen Lord in order to become evangelical leavening in society and commit themselves, as is already happening, to charitable work and, even more so, to education".
During the two Eucharistic celebrations of his Czech trip - first in Brno then in Stara Boleslav, site of the martyrdom of St. Wenceslas - the Pope "presented a message of hope founded upon faith in Christ".
Talking then about the ecumenical meeting he had attended, the Holy Father highlighted how "the struggle to proceed towards ever fuller and more visible unity among believers in Christ makes our shared commitment to rediscovering the Christian roots of Europe stronger and more effective".
During the encounter with the academic community "I underlined the role of universities, ... as a vital institution for society, a guarantee of freedom and development", said Pope Benedict.
"Twenty years after the so-called 'Velvet Revolution'", he concluded, "I again presented the idea of integral human formation, based on a unity of knowledge rooted in truth, in order to counter a new dictatorship, that of relativism linked to the dominance of technology. Humanistic and scientific culture cannot be separated, they are two sides of the same coin. The Czech lands themselves remind us of this, being home to great writers like Kafka and to abbot Mendel, pioneer of modern genetics".
AG/VISIT CZECH REPUBLIC/... VIS 20090930 (590)