Pope affirms beauty and goodness in tourism

In a message to the 7th world congress on pastoral care of tourists, Pope Benedict has affirmed the value of tourism and supported the horizons it opens.

Benedict said that admiring the beauty of other people, cultures and nature, can lead to God and be the occasion of an experience of faith.

“Tourism, together with vacations and free time, is a privileged occasion for physical and spiritual renewal; it facilitates the coming together of people from different cultural backgrounds and offers the opportunity of drawing close to nature and hence opening the way to listening and contemplation, tolerance and peace, dialogue and harmony in the midst of diversity.”

However in the same letter he strongly condemned sexual exploitation and the trafficking in human organs, and warned that tourists must not trample on the rights of people, particularly the poor, minors and the handicapped.

Sex tourism, Benedict said, “is one of the most abject of these deviations that devastate morally, psychologically and physically the life of so many persons and families, and sometimes whole communities.”

He likewise sounded a similar warning about people trafficking.

“The trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation or organ harvesting as well as the exploitation of minors, abandoned into the hands of individuals without scruples and undergoing abuse and torture, sadly happen in a context of tourism.”

The pontiff urged the Church and anyone involved in pastoral care for tourists to support the goodness involved in tourism, to be alert for these abuses and to oppose them.


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News category: World.

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