Pope John Paul the Second celebrated a special mass for over two-hundred sick and handicapped people in Rome's St.
Pope John Paul the Second celebrated a special mass for over two-hundred sick and handicapped people in Rome's St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday (11 February). But not everybody in Rome is happy with the politics of the Holy See. On Saturday (10 February) demonstrators marched through the streets of Rome to protest against the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Lateran Pact, which govern relations between Church and State in Italy.
SYNOPSIS: The Treaty was signed on the eleventh of February, 1929 between Pope Pius XI and Benito Mussolini. It has been the basis of Church-State relations ever since. A new Concordat is currently being negotiated to take into consideration changes in Italian law.
The Italian government has recently made provisions for divorce and abortion. But the Roman Catholic Church does not consider these legal. Delays in negotiating the new Concordat have caused widespread irritation and left-wing groups -- like these demonstrators -- say the Church will still have too much power under the proposed new agreement.
The demonstrators converged on St. Peter's Square where Pope John Paul delivered a blessing to mark the anniversary of the first Lateran Pact. He said he hoped that a new Pact would be concluded soon.
On Sunday (11 February) in a special mass the Pope gave personal words of comfort to the sick and infirm.
The 78-year-old Pope received a rousing reception as he walked through the congregation, assembled in St. Peter's Basilica. He spoke to nearly two-hundred invalids in the three-hour service.
Pope John Paul prayed for the sick and the incurable throughout the world. He reminded them of St. Bernadette of Lourdes, and tried to give them hope in their suffering.
The Pope said that Christ was mystically present in those who suffer and in those who, for love, serve them.
After saying the would like to kiss the hands and brow of Christ himself, Pope John Paul celebrated mass with his congregation.