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The Pope has spoken to "an entire people, helping it to identify its roots and its values, its historical vocation," the Vatican spokesman affirmed.

VATICAN CITY (Zenit) - Freedom, truth, peace, human rights -- with an underlying foundation of hope -- those were the key themes of Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to the United States, said a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, gave this summary of the Pope's April 15-20 U.S. trip, which had the theme "Christ Our Hope."

The spokesman said he thinks the objective of the trip was achieved: The Holy Father transmitted hope to Americans, particularly Catholics, and to the United Nations.

"He brought an announcement of hope to a great nation, which should have the dignity and the sense of greatness of its vocation in the world today," Father Lombardi said.

The Pontiff communicated hope to "a Church that has lived a particularly difficult period in recent years and that had much need of being consoled and re-launched toward the future, aware of their responsibilities in the realm of the universal Church," he added.

Moreover, the Jesuit affirmed, Benedict XVI offered a message of hope to the United Nations, that is, "for all the peoples of the world, which have reflected -- on this extraordinary circumstance of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- on the true fundamental values for building the future."

The Bishop of Rome showed how "Christ helps to have this vision of man, of his destiny, of the reality of the human person, which enables building the future of humanity upon solid foundations," Father Lombardi added.

Understood

The Pope has spoken to "an entire people, helping it to identify its roots and its values, its historical vocation," the Vatican spokesman affirmed. "He has spoken to the people of the United States about its characteristics of coexistence among many peoples of different cultures and beliefs, to build together, in liberty and democracy, a great human community, which can become as well for humanity itself a message of peace, reconciliation and coexistence."

And this can be achieved, Father Lombardi said, "with the recognition of God, of God as Creator, therefore, of the essential values of the human person as the image of God."

He continued: "The Pope has said this in a very explicit way and the Americans have felt understood, recognized for their historical value and in their best element.

"Even the highest authorities of the United States, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, in the final discourse, have attributed to the Pope this capacity to evoke the positive aspects of the population and to direct a great message to them.

"When Cheney delivered his concluding address Sunday night, I heard Americans around me saying: A few years ago, we wouldn't have been able to imagine that one of the highest authorities of our county would say such positive words about the head of the Catholic Church.

"That means that this people, in all of its aspects, also through its leaders, recognizes that the Catholic Church and the Pope are worthy and efficacious interlocutors that help to find the best in the population of the United States."

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