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Pope Sees Paradox: Lots of Goods, Lack of Meaning

Cautions That Consumerism Is Endangering Human Life

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Societies with a superabundance of goods, particularly in the West, paradoxically lack what is most necessary to live: the meaning of life, says Benedict XVI.

In this way, consumerism and moral subjectivism are endangering respect for human life, the Pope warned. He explained this in his address today to Frank De Coninck, the new Belgian ambassador to the Holy See, during the ceremony for the presentation of his letters of credence.

“The enormous advances in technology have altered many practices in the field of medical sciences,” said the Holy Father, “while the liberalization of customs has relativized considerably the norms that seemed intangible. In Western societies, characterized increasingly by the superabundance of consumer goods and subjectivism, man faces a crisis of meaning.

“In a certain number of countries, we see how new laws arise that deny respect for human life from conception until its natural end, with the risk of using it as an object of research and experimentation, thus gravely attacking the fundamental dignity of the human being.”

In this context, the Church “intends to remind forcefully its faith about man and his prodigious destiny, giving each one the key to read life and the reasons for hope,” the Pope said.

Brussels event

In this connection, Benedict XVI praised the organization of the international congress on evangelization, “Brussels — All Saints 2006,” which will be held Oct. 28-Nov. 5 in the Belgian capital at the initiative of its archbishop, Cardinal Godfried Danneels.

This initiative was held previously in Vienna, Paris and Lisbon.

The organizers hope to involve more than 100,000 people of the capital, which is the headquarters of many European institutions. Some 1,500 “missionaries” from France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and Hungary will attend the event and be housed by Brussels families.

In addition to parishes, some 75 Christian movements will take part in the event, which will offer 600 projects and activities, including cinema, music, prayer and liturgy.

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