Secularism Doesn't Have All the Answers, Says Pope

Particularly in Field of Medical Science, Pontiff Notes

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2005 ( Attentive people no longer find satisfactory answers in secularism as they try to grapple with the new ethical and spiritual questions posed by the life sciences, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made this comment Saturday when addressing the participants in the 20th international conference organized by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, on the topic «The Human Genome.» The three-day conference at the Vatican ended Saturday.

In his address to scientists, doctors, philosophers and theologians, the Holy Father acknowledged that the new contributions of medical science offer the Church today «a further possibility to develop a precious work of illumination of consciences.»

«Today’s world is marked by the process of secularization that, through complex cultural and social vicissitudes, not only has claimed a just autonomy of science and social organization, but often has canceled the bond of temporal realities with their Creator,» the Pope said.

Thus, the point has even been reached of «neglecting to safeguard the transcendent dignity of the human being and respect for his very life,» continued the Bishop of Rome. «Today, however, secularization, in the form of radical secularism, does not satisfy the more conscious and attentive spirits.»

This means that «possible and perhaps new spaces are opening for a fruitful dialogue with society and not just with the faithful, especially on important topics, such as those that affect life,» he added.

Seeds of humanism

«This is possible because in populations of long Christian tradition there still remain seeds of humanism that have not been touched by the disputes of nihilist philosophy, seeds that tend to reinforce themselves in the measure in which the challenges become more serious,» acknowledged Benedict XVI.

In fact, the believer knows that «the Gospel is in intrinsic harmony with the values inscribed in human nature,» he continued.

«The image of God is so strongly impressed on man’s soul that it difficult for the voice of conscience to be completely silenced,» the Pope observed.

In this way, the phenomenon is explained of people «who no longer recognize themselves as members of the Church, or who have lost the light of faith, [but] remain attentive to human values and to the positive contribution the Gospel can make to individual and social good.»

After pointing out how the Church «announces and presents this truth, not only with the authority of the Gospel but also with the strength deriving from reason,» the Holy Father affirmed that, «precisely for this reason, it feels the duty to question every man of good will with the certainty that the acceptance of these truths will necessarily benefit individuals and society.»

«It is necessary,» he added, «to guard against the risks of a science and technology that seek complete autonomy from the moral norms written into human nature.»

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