Society is Losing Religion, Says Benedict XVI

Defends Marriage in Address to German Envoy

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 13, 2010 ( Religion is losing favor in society, which is a threat to the basic foundations of marriage and respect for the person from conception to natural death, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today upon receiving the letters of credence of Walter Jürgen Schmid, the new German ambassador to the Holy See.
In his address, the Pope lamented that “there is no strong attachment to religion” in society in general, and that faith in the “personal God” of Christianity is being left to the side in favor of a notion of a “god” who is “a supreme, mysterious and indeterminate being, who has only a vague relationship” with mankind.

“If one abandons faith in a personal God, the alternative arises of a ‘god’ who does not know, does not listen and does not speak,” the Pontiff warned. “And, more than ever before, does not have a will.

“If God does not have his own will, in the end good and evil are not distinguished, good and evil are no longer in contradiction to one another, but are in an opposition in which one is complementary of the other.

“Thus man loses his moral and spiritual strength, necessary for the complete development of the person. Social action is dominated increasingly by private interest or by the calculation of power, at the expense of society.

“Instead, if God is a Person — and the order of creation as well as the presence of Christians of conviction in society is a sign of this — it follows that an order of values is legitimized.”

Benedict XVI also reflected on the concept of marriage, stating that it is “manifested as a lasting union of love between a man and a woman, which is also directed to the transmission of human life.”

He said the Church “cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a reappraisal of alternative models of the life of a couple and of the family,” which would “contribute to the weakening of the principles of the Natural Law and thus to relativizing the whole of legislation and also to confusion on the values in society.”
The Pope also spoke of the need to be “diligent” with regard to the advances in biotechnology and medicine, asserting that the “human person be protected precisely in a situation of weakness,” and that the person “always has priority in regard to other objectives.”

“We have the duty to study diligently to what point these methods can be of help to man and where, instead, it is a question of the manipulation of man, of violation of his integrity and dignity,” the Pontiff noted. “We cannot reject this progress, but we must be very diligent.”

“Once one begins to distinguish — and this now happens often in the maternal womb — between a worthy life and a life unworthy of living, no other phase of life will be safe, and even less so old age and infirmity,” the Holy Father added.
At the end of his address, Benedict XVI encouraged the government of Germany to offer a “pondered and pacifying” contribution to the current media culture.

“The construction of a human society requires fidelity to truth,” he affirmed, lamenting that at times the news cycle is driven by competition instead of facts.

“The subject becomes particularly problematic,” he noted, “when authoritative persons take a public position in this respect, without being able to confirm the aspects adequately.”

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