Pope Benedict XVI: The Future of Marriage Depends on Personal Culture

VATICAN, September 13, 2010 -- Pope Benedict said that the "success of marriages depends upon us all and on the personal culture of each individual citizen," in a meeting today with Germany's new ambassador to the Holy See on Monday.He was referencing Pope John Paul II's notion of the "culture of the person" as critical to the future of marriage and the family.

"In this sense," the Holy Father continued, "the Church cannot approve legislative initiatives that involve a re-evaluation of alternative models of marriage and family life. They contribute to a weakening of the principles of natural law, and thus to the relativisation of all legislation and confusion about values in society".

"[M]any men tend to show an overriding inclination towards more permissive religious convictions. The personal God of Christianity, Who reveals Himself in the Bible, is replaced by a supreme being, mysterious and undefined, who has only a vague relation with the personal life of human beings.

"These ideas are increasingly animating discussion within society, especially as regards the areas of justice and lawmaking", the Pope added. "If, however, one abandons faith in a personal God, then an alternative 'god' arises, one who does not know, does not feel and does not speak".

"If God does not have His own will, then good and bad end up being indistinguishable. ... Man thus loses the moral and spiritual energy necessary for the overall development of the person. Social activity is increasingly dominated by private interest or by power calculations, to the detriment of society".

"The Church", the Holy Father explained, "looks with concern at the growing attempts to eliminate the Christian concept of marriage and the family from the conscience of society. Marriage is the lasting union of love between a man and a woman, which is always open to the transmission of human life".

Addressing the question of "new possibilities" in biotechnology and medicine, the Pope laid emphasis on "our duty to study how these methods can help man, and where they involve manipulation of man, the violation of his integrity and dignity. We cannot reject these developments, but we must remain highly vigilant. Once we have begun to distinguish (and this often already happens in the mother's womb) between a life that is worthy to be lived and one which is unworthy, then no other phase of existence will be spared, particularly old age and infirmity".

The Holy Father concluded by highlighting how "the construction of a human society requires faithfulness to truth". In this context he mentioned certain phenomena related to the communications media. "Being in ever-greater competition with one another", he said, they "feel impelled to attract as much attention as possible. Moreover, in general it is contrast that makes news, even if this goes against the truth of the story. The question becomes particularly problematic when authority figures take up public stances on the matter, without being able to verify all aspects adequately".



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