and safety depend on you
On Thursday, 20 January, the feast of St Sebastian, the Holy Father met
members of the Italian Municipal Police Forces, who were celebrating the Jubilee
on their patron's feast day. The Pope congratulated them on the contribution
they make to social order and urged them to cultivate a concern for individuals,
a sense of responsibility, continual patience and a spirit of acceptance towards
all. He also expressed the hope that the Jubilee would prompt each of them to
"ask himself about his real efforts to respond to the demands of fidelity
to the Gospel, to which the Lord calls him in his own state of life" . Here
is a translation of the Holy Father's address, which was given in Italian.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. With great joy I cordially welcome each of you, members of the Italian
Municipal Police Forces who are celebrating your Jubilee on the feast of your
heavenly patron, St Sebastian.
I first greet Cardinal Camillo Ruirti, President of the Italian Episcopal
Conference, who has presided at your Jubilee Eucharist. My thoughts also turn to
Hon. Enzo Bianco, Minister of the Interior, and to the mayors and authorities
here, whom I thank for their participation in this significant and intense
moment of faith. Along with them I greet your families and everyone here.
You offer the community a far from easy, but indispensable service, using all
your energies to ensure orderly conduct in urban life. Thanks to you, the
residents of the city and the surrounding areas are helped to respect the laws
that provide for a peaceful and harmonious society; the disadvantaged and minors
can find helpful assistance in their difficulties; the environment, public and
private property are safeguarded, and your continual work of prevention is an
important safeguard of the citizens' wellbeing. You also facilitate the
relations of individuals with the municipal authorities and their offices. At
particular moments of difficulty, your presence be comes a vehicle for the
effective solidarity of the entire community.
Clearly, this calls for a great amount of work, which demands steadiness and
self-denial at the service of the common good, as well as concern for
individuals, a sense of responsibility, continual patience and a spirit of
acceptance towards everyone. These are not easy qualities to have, so it is
important to rely on God's help.
2. In this faith perspective, you have come here today from various parts of
Italy to celebrate the Jubilee, which is a time of mercy when the Lord gives us
the opportunity to make a serious journey of inner purification and to
strengthen our good intentions. Inwardly reconciled with God, the believer can
become a true peacemaker among the brothers and sisters he meets on his path.
This deep spiritual dimension of the Jubilee must lead each person to ask
himself about his real efforts to respond to the demands of fidelity to the
Gospel, to which the Lord calls him in his own state of life.
The Jubilee Year thus becomes an extraordinary opportunity to make a personal
and community examination, in order to renew one's commitment to building the
new civilization born of the Gospel, that is, the civilization of love.
The awareness prompted in Christians by the Lord's words: "As you did it
to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40),
will certainly encourage them to practise their profession conscientiously as an
act of love for Christ and neighbour.
3. Dear brothers and sisters, in inviting us to pass through the Holy Door, a
symbol of Christ who welcomes us and leads us into new life, the, Jubilee opens
for each person prospects of authentic humanity and of firmer faith in
performing his daily professional duties. It challenges you, in particular, to
respect human law and make it respected, whenever it does not contradict God's
law; it asks you to be artisans of that harmony that stems from fulfilling one's
daily tasks and from the elimination of conflicts between individuals; it spurs
you in every circumstance to foster solidarity, especially towards the weak and
defenceless; it calls you to be guardians of the right to life by ensuring
traffic safety and the security of individuals.
In carrying out this mission, may you always remember that every person is
loved by God, is his creature and deserves to be accepted and respected. Every
human being bears within himself a patrimony of tenderness and hope, which
unfortunately is often weakened through injustice and abuse. We are all called
to look at others with responsible goodwill, because only love born of God can
transform the individual and enable him to grow. May the grace of the Jubilee
renew the spirit of faith with which you dedicate yourselves to your profession,
prompting you to live it with extra attention, devotion and generosity.
4. I am sure that if you act in this way, not only will you rediscover the
importance of your valuable service to the citizens, you will also realize that
you have been entrusted with an educational role that, by ensuring the quality
of city life, builds a more liveable and peaceful community for everyone.
With these wishes, I invoke God's help upon you and your work, so that you
can be authentic artisans of harmony and justice. May your patron, St Sebastian,
who wonderfully combined fidelity to God with fidelity to the legitimate laws of
the State, and did not disdain giving his life and suffering martyrdom to attain
the perennial values that he learned by following Christ, accompany you. May his
example always encourage and support you!
I entrust you to the motherly protection of the Blessed Virgin and gladly
impart a special Apostolic Blessing to each of you, to your colleagues
and to your families.