VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A sense of insecurity in society can be caused in part by a decay in the moral values that form the basis for laws and law enforcement, says Benedict XVI
The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience the directors and officers of the Police Headquarters in Rome, during which he thanked the public servants for their work to make Rome a safe city. The Pontiff then offered a reflection on the current challenges facing law enforcement.
“The time in which we live is suffused with profound changes,” he began. “Even Rome, which is rightly called the ‘Eternal City,’ is very changed and evolves; we experience this every day and you are its privileged witnesses.”
The Pontiff said these types of changes “generate a sense of insecurity” caused by “social and economic precariousness,” as well as by “a certain weakening of the perception of ethical principles on which the law and personal moral attitudes are founded, which always give strength to those regulations.”
“Our world,” he continued, “with all its new hopes and possibilities, is suffused at the same time by the impression that moral consent is failing and that, as a consequence, the structures at the base of coexistence no longer succeed in functioning fully. Hence, in many the temptation appears of thinking that the forces mobilized for the defense of civil society are in the end destined to failure.
“In face of this temptation, we, who are Christians, have a particular responsibility to reawaken a new resoluteness in professing the faith and in doing good, to continue with courage to be close to men in their joys and sufferings, in happy hours as in those of darkness of earthly existence.”
Benedict XVI noted as well of the “grave risk” of modern thought that promotes a “reductive vision of conscience, according to which there are no objective references in determining what is worthwhile and what is true, but it is the single individual, with his intuitions and experiences, who is the meter of measure; each one, hence, has his own truth, his own morality.”
“The most evident consequence,” he explained, “is that religion and morality tend to be confined in the ambit of the individual, of the private: that is, faith with its values and conduct is no longer to have a right and a place in public and civil life.”
The result of this idea of conscience, the Holy Father stated, is that “great importance is given in society to pluralism and tolerance,” but then “religion tends to be progressively marginalized and considered irrelevant.”
Alternatively, he continued, “the true meaning of ‘conscience’ is man’s capacity to recognize the truth and, the possibility prevails again of hearing its claim, of seeking it and finding it.”
Benedict XVI told the law enforcement officials that the “new challenges which appear on the horizon exact that God and man again encounter one another,” and that “society and public institutions find their ‘soul’ again, their spiritual and moral roots.”
“The Christian faith and the Church do not cease to offer their own contribution to the promotion of the common good and of a genuinely human progress,” he said. “The religious service itself and of spiritual assistance that — in the strength of the normative dispositions in force — state and Church are committed to furnish also to the personnel of the state police, witnesses the perennial fruitfulness of this meeting.”
The Pontiff encouraged those who serve the city of Rome “to give a good example of positive and profitable interaction between healthy laicism and Christian faith.”
“The effectiveness of your service,” he explained, “is the fruit of the combination between professionalism and human quality, between the updating of means and systems of security and the human gifts such as patience, perseverance in goodness, sacrifice and the willingness to listen. All this, well harmonized, goes in favor of the citizens, especially of persons in difficulty.
“Always be able to consider man as the end, so that all can live in a genuinely human way.”
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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31531?l=english