By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

VATICAN, February 2, 2009 ( – Before praying the Angelus yesterday with the multitude gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Christ’s suffering and crucifixion as an essential part of His mission of salvation. He reminded the faithful that “The cross of Christ will be the demon’s ruin, and this is why Jesus does not cease to teach his disciples that in order to enter into his glory he must suffer much, be rejected, condemned and crucified. Suffering is an integral part of his mission.”

The Holy Father explained that, just as a death that is died willingly is a source of life, Jesus gave meaning to human suffering by willingly suffering and dying on the cross for love of humanity: “a meaning that many men and women of every age understood and made their own, experiencing profound serenity even in the bitterness of difficult physical and moral trials.”

The short discourse on the meaning and dignity of suffering was given on the occasion of the Day for Life, celebrated in Italy on the first Sunday of February.

The Pope referred to the Day for Life message from the Italian Bishops on the theme, “The strength of life in suffering.” The Holy Father stated, “I wholeheartedly join in their message in which we see the love of pastors for their people, and the courage to proclaim the truth, the courage to state with clarity, for example, that euthanasia is a false solution to the drama of suffering, a solution unworthy of man.

“The true answer cannot be putting someone to death, however ‘kindly,’ but to bear witness to the love that helps us to face pain and agony in a human way. We are certain: No tear, whether it be of those who suffer or those who stand by them, goes unnoticed before God.”

Link to the complete text of the Holy Father’s address, in various languages: