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Protect children and family life, Pope asks Scandinavian bishops

March 25, 2010

Speaking on March 25 to bishops of the Scandinavian bishops' conference, who were in Rome for their ad limina visits, Pope Benedict XVI said that "one of the most important messages that the people of the Nordic lands need to hear from you is a reminder of the centrality of the family for the life of a healthy society."

Children have a right to life, to know that they are the product of a natural marital act, and to be reared by their parents, the Pope said. That right, he added, should be "given priority over any supposed right of adults to impose on them alternative models of family life and certainly over any supposed right to abortion."

Addressing the particular challenges that face the Church in the Scandinavian countries, the Pope alluded to the high concentration of immigrants among the Catholics of those nations, and asked the bishops to ensure that parishes are "assisting their integration into society." He remarked that many of these immigrants come from Eastern Catholic communities, and said that the bishops should urge them "not to distance themselves from the most precious elements of their own culture, particularly their faith."

The Pope also noted that the Catholic population is sparse in the Scandinavian lands, and sometimes the faithful must go to great lengths to find the sacraments. They should be assured, he said, that whenever they gather for the Eucharistic liturgy, the entire universal Church is with them.


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