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Easter Message 2012 - Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

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Published on Apr 5, 2012

Easter is a feast for everyone, but especially for adults and young adults. One of the two great Christian celebrations which shape our yearly calendars, Easter is about meaning and struggle, about triumph through suffering. It even goes beyond the claim of "no pain, no gain".

While Christmas is first of all about the hope generated by the birth of a new baby and Easter also calls us to hope in personal resurrection, the story of Jesus' unmerited suffering and death points to the unavoidable struggle between good and evil in our hearts and everywhere in society.

It is a summons to find meaning in misfortune, a call to self discipline and ordered love, to doing our duty, supporting good against evil.

The religious dimension of Easter and Christmas is often ignored or denied in these holiday periods, but Easter claims should not be trivialized. There is more to the season than the Easter bunny and even more than Easter eggs as a symbol of new life. Easter is a Christian reminder of the pain and cost of new growth and birth.

Everyone takes the Easter holidays and nearly everyone would concede the importance of Christian teachings in Australian history. They acknowledge the Ten Commandments as the essential moral framework of public life, even when they are uncertain about the first three commandments on God.

The Easter message is also a call to responsibility more than an assertion of rights; a call to duty and action rather than procrastination, "keeping one's options open". Young people need to hear these teachings and see them lived out among their elders.

In many ways the social capital of too many Australian communities is being run down and we are paying an increasing financial and spiritual price for this.

The Easter teaching of right and wrong (Christ was killed by evil men), of forgiveness and redemptive suffering is a stream of light in the gathering clouds of moral confusion and damaging uncontested selfishness.

Many young people might be unsure of the way forward, but most recognize that the claim that there are no sins is mistaken, damaging nonsense.

Easter peace is real, although it only comes at a price. I hope this Easter peace penetrates everywhere, into all families, especially into the hearts of the sick and suffering, the lonely and dejected.

And I pray too that Christ's moral teaching, one essential dimension of the Easter message, will continue to write the hidden laws which constrain and inspire our hearts.

A happy Easter to everyone.

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