PEOPLE should be able to find books that explain Church teaching near every Catholic church, the Vatican Secretary of State has said.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict XVI's top aide, spoke at the opening of the Pope Benedict XVI International Bookshop just outside St Peter's Square.
The shop is a joint operation of the Vatican publishing house, the Vatican newspaper's photographic service and the Vatican's stamp and coin office.
In addition to books, including those by the Pope, the new bookstore will sell collectable Vatican stamps and coins and photographs of the popes taken by the all-access photographers of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
Cardinal Bertone led a short prayer service, asking God to bless the new store and all who work there. He then said that people from around the world come to St Peter's Square and are "enlightened and comforted" by the words of Pope Benedict.
Like the Pope, he said, "this bookstore hopes to present to the modem world the truth presentfor all eternity in the word of God". In a world of competing and confusing messages, he said, "today it is important that alongside places of worship, there open places where people can find help in understanding the Word of God, Jesus Christ".