VATICAN CITY, 14 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received Gianni Alemanno, mayor of the City of Rome; Esterino Montino, vice president of the Region of Lazio, Italy, and Nicola Zingaretti, president of the Province of Rome, each accompanied by an entourage, for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings.
Opening his remarks to them, the Pope pointed out that heads of public institutions must "constantly pursue the common good", favouring "healthy debate, because the more decisions and measures are shared, the more they will bring real development to the inhabitants of the territory".
Going on to refer to urban development plans, the Holy Father highlighted how these "must favour the process of socialisation, avoiding the emergence and growth of individualism and of exclusive concern for personal interest, which are harmful to human coexistence".
Benedict XVI expressed the hope that "in outlying areas as in the rest of the city", structures may be built "to help young parents in their educational duties. I likewise hope that further provisions may be made in support of families, especially large families, so that the entire city may benefit from the irreplaceable role of this institution, which is the first and indispensable cell of society.
"As part of the promotion of the common good, the education of the new generations ... is a predominant concern", the Pope added. In this context he indicated that "it is vital to help young people base their lives on authentic values, values that refer to an 'exalted' view of man which finds one of its most sublime expressions in Christian religious and cultural heritage".
"When educating on the great questions of affectivity and sexuality, which are so important for life, we must avoid showing adolescents and young people ways that tend to devalue these fundamental dimensions of human existence. To this end the Church calls for everyone to collaborate, especially those who work in schools, to educate the young to a lofty vision of human love and sexuality. Thus I invite everyone to understand that, in pronouncing her 'noes', the Church is really saying 'yes' to life, to love lived in the truth of the giving of self to the other, to the love that opens up to life and does not close itself in a narcissistic view of the couple".
Before concluding his address the Pope encouraged the competent authorities "to pay constant and coherent attention to the world of sickness and suffering. May the healthcare structures, which are so numerous in Rome and Lazio and which provide an important service to the community, administer the public weal with ever greater care, showing professional competency and generous dedication to the sick, the welcome and care of whom must be the supreme criterion for those who work in this field".
"I trust, then", he concluded, "that despite the persisting economic difficulties, these structures may receive adequate support for the valuable service they provide".
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