By Hilary White, LifeSite News
It was an emotional day at the Vatican as Pope Benedict XVI, in two of his last public addresses, called again on Christians to continue to defend the lives of innocent unborn and vulnerable people and to uphold the sanctity of natural marriage. In this morning’s regular Wednesday general audience he warned that Christians will face great pressure to give up their commitments.
“Even those who come from a Christian family … must renew daily their decision to be Christian, to give God the first place in the face of the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, in the face of the criticism of many of their contemporaries.”
But this must not deter them from proclaiming the truth: “The temptation to set one’s faith aside is always present and conversion becomes a response to God that must be confirmed at various times throughout our lives,” he said.
“It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, to practice mercy in our everyday lives, or to leave space for prayer and inner silence.
“It is not easy to publicly oppose the decisions that many consider to be obvious, such as abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in the case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to avoid hereditary diseases.”
The tone of the Ash Wednesday homily
was sombre, befitting the occasion of both the first day of Lent and the mood of Catholics around the world at Pope Benedict’s almost unprecedented and shocking revelation on Monday. In the homily, he warned ominously against divisions and “sins against the unity of the Church”.
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