Pope Warns Brazil Against Moral Poverty

Says It Could Lead to Weakened Society

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI invited Brazil’s new envoy to the Holy See to consider moral education as a way to combat a prevailing poverty of values in the country.

The Pope praised today the efforts of Brazil in its struggle for greater social justice upon receiving the letters of credence of Luiz Felipe de Seixas Corrêa, and highlighted some areas of specific concern for the Church.

The Pontiff called for the promotion of “fundamental human values,” such as the family and the protection of all life “from the moment of conception to natural end.”

He also underlined the “defense of ethical principles that do not damage but protect the existence of the embryo and its right to be born.”

“In a climate of solidarity and mutual understanding,” the Holy Father continued, “the government seeks to support initiatives that favor the struggle against poverty, and against shortcomings in technological training, both at national and international levels.”

Benedict XVI acknowledged that Brazil’s “policy of internal redistribution of income has facilitated a greater well-being among the population.” He called on the country to “continue to encourage a better distribution of wealth, increasing social justice for the good of the people.”

Spiritually poor

He asserted, “Over and above material poverty, the moral poverty which is spreading throughout the world also has a decisive influence, even where there is no lack of material goods.”

The Pope continued: “In fact, the danger of consumerism and hedonism, together with the lack of solid moral principles to guide the lives of ordinary citizens, weakens the structure of Brazilian families and society.

“For this reason we cannot over emphasize the urgent need for solid moral formation at all levels — including the political sphere — in order to counter an ongoing threat from persisting materialist ideologies, and in particular the temptation to corruption in managing public and private finances.

“To this end, Christianity can provide a useful contribution […] as a religion of peace and freedom and to serve the true good of humanity.”

The Pontiff spoke about the “sincere collaboration that the Church — while performing her own mission — wishes to maintain with the Brazilian government” for the “integral development of the person.”

He lauded the “convergence of principles, both of the Apostolic See and your government, with respect to threats to world peace, when it is affected by a lack of vision of respect for others in their human dignity.”

The Holy Father added, “The objectives of the Church […] and the state, although distinct, intersect on a point of convergence: the good of the human person and the common good of a nation.”

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