Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Pope wrote that "Italian national cohesion" should be built upon "a core sense of values around which the different ideological and political positions can converge." That core in turn must reflect reverence for the human person, he said, inviting the Italian government to join the Holy See in "the noble commitment" to defend human life and human rights. Pope Benedict noted that the Italian legislative body honors the memory of the late John Paul II, largely because of his outspoken defense of the same moral principles. With his address to the Italian lawmakers on November 14, 2002, Pope John Paul had become the first Pope to enter the Italian legislative assembly. During his 47-minute speech, he touched on some of the most critical themes in Italian public life, including the treatment of prisoners in the country's jails, the conflict with terrorism, and the demographic decline of the Italian nation. The late Pope also pointed out that it is difficult to make sense of Italy's cultural heritage without acknowledging the central role of Christianity.