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A faith purified and revitalized

· The Pope to Colombian Bishops on their visit 'ad limina' ·

Close to victims of crime and those who fall into the net of drug and arms trafficking

In Colombia “the people of God are called to purify themselves and revitalize their faith”. Speaking this morning, Friday 22 June, to bishops from the Latinamerican country on their visit “ad limina”, Benedict XVI urged them not to ignore or undervalue the “ever more active presence of pentecostal and evangelical communities” in many regions of the continent.

In his discourse the Pope then expressed  sympathy for victims of crime, especially those who have been kidnapped, and those who fall into the net of the drug and arms trade. But the Pontiff also encouraged the Colombian episcopacy to continue their efforts in recent years “to realize initiatives to promote a relevant renewal and fruitful evangelization”. Of the rest, he added, “Colombia is no stranger to the consequences of forgetting God”. In fact, “while years ago it was possible to recognize a single cultural fabric, broadly accepted in its reference to the contents of faith and how much it was inspired by the faith, today it seems otherwise in vast sectors of society, because of the spiritual and moral crisis which has adverse effects”. From this he invited them to “re-enliven  in all the faithful the awareness of being disciples and missionaries of Christ, by nourishing the roots of faith, by reinforcing  hope and reinvigorating the witness of love”.

Benedict XVI's thoughts then turned to “those who are forced to emigrate, because they have lost jobs or are struggling to find one”, and to those who “see their fundamental rights being affronted and are constrained to their homes and abandon their families under the threat of that dark hand of terror”. And in this regard he urged the bishops “to continue on this path of generous and brotherly service, which is not the result of human calculation, but is born out of love for God and neighbour, the font in which the Church finds its strength to carry out its duty to the end”.

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