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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Benedict XVI tells drug dealers they will face God's judgement
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 Drug dealers will face God's judgement for the damage they have inflicted on individuals and society, Pope Benedict told a 3,000 strong crowd at a rehab centre for recovering addicts. Speaking at Fazenda da Esperanca, or Farm of Hope, a church-run project in rural Brazil he told the young people that they were "ambassadors of hope" to other addicts. The Pope said the statistics on drug abuse in Brazil were alarming and that the rest of Latin America is not far behind. "I therefore urge the drug dealers to reflect on the grave harm they are inflicting on countless young people and on adults from every level of society," he said. "God will call you to account for your deeds. Human dignity cannot be trampled upon in this way," he said. The Farm of Hope was founded in 1983 by a German Franciscan, Father Hans Stapel. It is a 40-acre farm, where residents grow vegetables and raise livestock. There are now 33 centres around the world, helping drug addicts, single mothers, homeless and young people infected with HIV. Five men and women stood before the pope and read testimonials about their experience at the farm. Antonio Eleuterio Neto described how his drug addiction since age 12 was broken when he was offered friendship and trust and was able to discover the importance of God in his life. After the young man spoke, the pope gave him a hug. Sylvia Hartwich, a 20-year German immigrant, cried when describing her struggle with drugs and anorexia, which she overcame after being approached by three members of Farm of Hope. Today, she works as a volunteer in a German branch of the movement. Ricardo Correa Ribeirinha, the son of a prostitute, told of his personal experiences of sniffing glue, taking cocaine and smoking crack, and of the devastation caused society by the drug trade and the violence that surrounds it. People thought he would end up in jail or in an early grave, but he broke free after joining Farm of Hope, he said. In his talk, Pope Benedict praised the centre's approach of combining medical and psychological assistance with prayer, manual work and personal discipline. When dealing with addiction, he said, it was important to treat the soul as well as the body. Source: VIS
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