Benedict XVI is dedicating the month of March to pray for Latin America, so that the nations of the continent become more just and peaceful.
The Apostleship of Prayer announced the intentions chosen by the Pope for this month. His general intention is: "That the nations of Latin America may walk in fidelity to the Gospel and progress in justice and peace."
The Pontiff's apostolic intention for March is: "That the Holy Spirit may give light and strength to those in many regions of the world who are persecuted and discriminated against because of the Gospel."
Cardinal: Strong Families Essential for the Future
Urges Proclamation of Gospel of Love
MADRID, Spain, MARCH 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Future generations depend "decisively" on strong Christian families, says Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela.
The archbishop of Madrid affirmed this during his opening address at the 97th plenary assembly of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, of which he is president.
Referring to the upcoming World Youth Day in August, which will take place in his city, the prelate spoke about the two topics of "vital importance for young people of today."
He highlighted "the necessary collaboration between family, parish and school in the education of children and young people in the faith; and the question of the truth of human love, as a key element of the maturation of young people as persons."
Experience shows that "the mission of the school is seriously dulled and even made impossible when it does not have the collaboration of parents and of a family life in accord with the natural and divine law," the cardinal noted.
The state, he stressed, "cannot replace, and not even make up for, the role proper to those two basic institutions for the development of the person."
For this reason, Cardinal Rouco stressed the need of a synergy between the family, school and parish, as from this synergy "depends in good measure the fruit of the evangelizing action of the Church for the benefit of the youngest and, in the last analysis, of the whole society."
In regard to the question of human love, he reported this plenary assembly will consider a draft document on this topic prepared by the Episcopal Sub-commission for the Family and the Defense of Life.
Ignorance of the truth of love, the prelate said, "is causing much suffering and breaking many lives."
He continued, "The Church, our families, schools and parishes, with the very special encouragement of the pastors, must help young people to avoid ignorance of such a decisive truth for their lives and palliate the negative influence of an environment marked by so many disorienting forces and currents."
"The emotional and individualist reduction of love, prevailing in present-day public culture, has led to a critical situation that makes education for love and for marriage very difficult," the cardinal affirmed.
For this reason, he concluded, "to proclaim the Gospel of marriage and of the family is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful aspects of the new evangelization and of youth."
"Its urgency, moreover, is evident," Cardinal Rouco said. "We are urged by the painful situation alluded to, but we are urged, above all, by the love of Christ and of young people."
Orthodox Leader Calls for Alliance With Catholics
MOSCOW, MARCH 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev is emphasizing the need to ally with Catholics and Protestants to support common Christian values.
The chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department of External Church Relations noted that
"today there is a bad need for a 'strategic alliance' between Orthodox believers and Catholics, members of the ancient eastern Churches, traditional Protestants, that is to say all those who defend true Christian values -- the family, children's upbringing, indissolubility of marriage, the value of human life from inception until death,"Interfax reported Monday.
He noted that these values are being
"totally reviewed, and we must oppose this.""Otherwise," the Orthodox leader said, "both Russia and the Christian civilization in general will over [not so much] time lose their 'salt,' lose their image and remain just a subject of study for historians and archeologists."
As a solution to these problems, he underlined an initiative by Patriarch Kirill that aims to fight abortion, support families with many children, help orphans and pass new legislation to protect families and youth.
My personal note: If we don't all get together for this, who will?