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Benedict XVI's Farewell to Bavaria

Suggests Application of "Laborem Exercens"

MUNICH, Germany, SEPT. 15, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is Benedict XVI's address at the farewell ceremony held at Munich's international airport.

* * *

Mr. Minister President,
Distinguished Government Leaders and Public Authorities,
Dear Cardinals and Brothers in the Episcopate,
Ladies and Gentlemen!

As I leave Bavaria for Rome, I would like to say to you here present, and through you to all the citizens of my native land, a word of cordial greeting and of heartfelt thanks. I was deeply moved by the enthusiasm and fervent devotion of the faithful who gathered to listen to the Word of God and to join in prayer.

I was able to see how many people in Bavaria still today are endeavoring to journey in communion with their bishops along the paths of God and to testify to their faith in today's secularized world. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the organizers, everything took place in an orderly and peaceful way. And so my first word, in this farewell, must be one of thanks.

I turn first to you, Mr. Minister President, with gratitude for the kind words which you have spoken in the name of all. I thank the other civil and ecclesiastical authorities gathered here, especially those who contributed to the success of this visit, which enabled me to meet so many people from this region which still has a special place in my heart. These have been busy days, when I relived many past events which have left a mark on my life.

Everywhere I was received with an attention and care which touched me deeply. I can only imagine the challenges, concerns and the work involved in organizing this stay in Bavaria: Many people had a part to play, both those from the Church, regional and state agencies, and the many people who volunteered their time. To all of you I offer heartfelt thanks and the assurance of a special remembrance in my prayers.

I came to Germany to bring once more to my fellow-citizens the eternal truths of the Gospel and to confirm believers in their fidelity to Christ, the Son of God, who became man for the salvation of the world. I am convinced, in faith, that in Christ, in his word, we find the way not only to eternal happiness, but also to the building of a humane future even now, here below.

Impelled by this conviction, the Church, led by the Spirit, has constantly looked to the Word of God so as to be able to respond to new historical challenges. She did so in a special way with regard to the problems arising from the so-called worker question, beginning particularly in the second half of the 19th century.

I mention this here, because today, September 14, marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of the encyclical "Laborem Exercens," in which the great Pope John Paul II called work "a fundamental dimension of man's existence on earth" (No. 4), and insisted that "the primary basis of the value of work is man himself" (No. 6). Work, he observed, is therefore "something good for man," because with it "man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but also achieves fulfillment as a human being, and, in a certain sense, becomes more human" (No. 9).

On the basis of this profound intuition, the Pope offered in his encyclical some guidelines which are still helpful today. That text was not lacking in prophetic value, and I would like to recommend it to the people of my native land. I am certain that its concrete application would prove very beneficial in Germany's present situation.

And now, as I take leave of my beloved homeland, I entrust the present and future of Bavaria and of Germany to the intercession of all those saints who lived in German territory, faithfully serving Christ and experiencing in their lives the truth expressed in the words which have been like a leitmotif during the various parts of my visit: "Those who believe are never alone."

This too was surely the experience of the composer of the traditional hymn of the Bavarian people. In his words, which are also a prayer, I would like to leave behind my own prayer for my homeland: "God be with you, land of the Bavarian people, German soil, my native land! Upon your vast borders may his hand rest in blessing! May he watch over your countryside and cities, and keep for you the colors of his white and blue sky!"

To everyone I offer a hearty "Auf Wiedersehen"!

[Translation of German original issued by the Holy See; adapted]

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000

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Keywords

Pope, Benedict, Bavaria, Germany, Farewell

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