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International aid for the people of the Congo

· The Pope's Appeal at the end of the General Audience in the Paul VI Hall ·

And Benedict XVI reminds the faithful that obedience to God is like putting out into the deep

At the General Audience on Wednesday morning, 5 December, the Pope asked for peace and aid for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “which has been the scene of armed conflicts and violence for months”.  In the face of the “disturbing news of the grave humanitarian crisis in the east” of the African country, Benedict XVI reported “the shortage of food for survival”, emphasizing that thousands of inhabitants have been “obliged to leave their homes, to seek refuge elsewhere”. Hence his appeal “for dialogue and reconciliation”, together with a request “to the international community to do its utmost to meet the needs” of the people.

In continuing the series of his Catecheses on the Year of Faith, the Pope had previously commented to the faithful gathered in the Paul VI Audience Hall on the hymn of praise at the beginning of the Letter to the Ephesians, “which introduces the experience of the Season of Advent”. In the Pope's opinion St Paul's prayer is a prayer of blessing through which the Apostle “enables us to understand that the whole of creation, and in particular men and women, are not a result of chance but are part of the benevolent plan of the eternal reason of God who brought the world into being with the creative and redemptive  power of his word”. In this perspective faith becomes “the human response to the Revelation of God”.

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