Benedict XVI Wary of Democracies Without Values

Receives New Ambassador of Paraguay

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 26, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI warned that a democracy without values might easily degenerate into totalitarianism, “visible or disguised.”

The Pope delivered his comments today when Gerónimo Narváez Torres, Paraguay’s new ambassador to the Holy See, presented his letters of credence. The Holy Father is spending the rest of the summer in the papal resident at Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south of Rome.

In his address, the Holy Father highlighted the opportunity that Latin American country has, after re-establishing “the legitimacy of the highest authority of the state,” following the last general elections.

“The basis has been created which gives hope for greater institutional stability,” he said.

For this reason, Benedict XVI appealed for “the exercise of a true democracy” that, “by the participation of the people, carries out the governance of a nation inspired in supreme and immutable values and makes possible the cultural wealth of the people and the progressive development of the society in response to the exigencies of human dignity.”

Peace first

According to the Bishop of Rome, “Peace is the first and highest good of a society; it implies justice, freedom and order, and makes possible every other good of human life.”

Quoting Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI warned that “a democracy without values easily becomes visible or disguised totalitarianism, as history demonstrates, because, without an ultimate truth that guides and orients political action, ideas and human convictions can be easily manipulated for objectives of power.”

The Pope said that “the Church ceaselessly proclaims and defends fundamental rights, unfortunately still violated in different parts of the earth.”

The Church, he continued, “makes every effort to achieve the recognition of every person’s right to life from his conception, to food, a house, work, health care, protection of the family, and the promotion of social development, in full respect of the dignity of man and woman, created in the image of God.”

The Holy Father reminded political leaders that they “must not cease, regardless of how great the difficulties are, in their endeavor” to put these rights into practice. “It is required by each person who forms part of the nation,” he exhorted.

About 85% of Paraguay’s 6.3 million inhabitants are Catholic.

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