Skip to content

Report: If society does not recognise God, it cannot do what is good for mankind

May 18, 2007

From Asia News:

In the address with which he inaugurated the 5th General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, Benedict XVI drew an outline of the path today’s Church must follow. Evangelising every culture and bearing witness to Jesus is a mission for all Christians.

* * *
Only a society that recognises God can aim to achieve true development for mankind. This is what Paul VI had in mind 40 years ago, Benedict XVI said, when he proclaimed the Encyclical Populorum Progressio, namely “that authentic development must be integral, that is, directed to the promotion of the whole person and of all people (cf no. 14), [. . .] invite[ing] all to overcome grave social inequalities and the enormous differences in access to goods.”

This raises the question as to what the Church can do to “contribute to the solution of urgent social and political problems, and respond to the great challenge of poverty and destitution”.

Benedict XVI answered by reflecting at length about “just structures”. “[H]how do they arise? How do they function?” Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves; they declared that not only would they have no need of any prior individual morality, but that they would promote a communal morality. And this ideological promise has been proved false. The facts have clearly demonstrated it. The Marxist system, where it found its way into government, not only left a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction, but also a painful destruction of the human spirit. And we can also see the same thing happening in the West, where the distance between rich and poor is growing constantly, and giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness.”

If just structures are indispensable for a just society, they can “neither arise nor function without a moral consensus in society on fundamental values, and on the need to live these values with the necessary sacrifices, even if this goes against personal interest.”

“Where God is absent, God with the human face of Jesus Christ, these values fail to show themselves with their full force, nor does a consensus arise concerning them. I do not mean that non-believers cannot live a lofty and exemplary morality; I am only saying that a society in which God is absent will not find the necessary consensus on moral values or the strength to live according to the model of these values, even when they are in conflict with private interests.”

All this requires political action that does not fall under the immediate scope “of the Church. Respect for a healthy secularity—including the pluralism of political opinions—is essential in the authentic Christian tradition. If the Church were to start transforming herself into a directly political subject, she would do less, not more, for the poor and for justice, because she would lose her independence and her moral authority, identifying herself with a single political path and with debatable partisan positions. The Church is the advocate of justice and of the poor, precisely because she does not identify with politicians nor with partisan interests. Only by remaining independent can she teach the great criteria and inalienable values, guide consciences and offer a life choice that goes beyond the political sphere. To form consciences, to be the advocate of justice and truth, to educate in individual and political virtues: that is the fundamental vocation of the Church in this area. And lay Catholics must be aware of their responsibilities in public life; they must be present in the formation of the necessary consensus and in opposition to injustice.”

In his reflection Benedict XVI could not but also talk about the family, something which he has done every day. Today he referred to it as the “patrimony of humanity,” a “school of faith, the training-ground for human and civil values, the hearth in which human life is born and is generously and responsibly welcomed. Undoubtedly, it is currently suffering a degree of adversity caused by secularism and by ethical relativism, by movements of population internally and externally, by poverty, by social instability and by civil legislation opposed to marriage which, by supporting contraception and abortion, is threatening the future of peoples.”

For this reason he said, it was “indispensable to promote authentic family policies corresponding to the rights of the family as an essential subject in society. The family constitutes part of the good of peoples and of the whole of humanity.”

Full report here.

Related Posts:
Report: Faith not politics will save Latin America

Advertisements

From → Reports

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: