2012-12-03 13:06:50

Pope: love basis of social evangelization, new humanism

Though great progress in the defence of human rights has been made in our time, the human person tends to be devalued in today’s culture characterized by utilitarian individualism and technocratic economic policies. That’s what Pope Benedict XVI said in remarks in the Vatican Monday to members of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on occasion of their Plenary Assembly.

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Though humanity is emerged in an “infinite network of relationships and communications,” the Pope said, man today paradoxically “often seems an isolated being” because his rapport with God, the root of all other relationships, is regarded with indifference.

Today’s man, the Pope continued, is considered primarily in “biological terms” or as “human capital” or as a “resource” in the overall productive and financial workings of society.

New ideologies such as “hedonistic and selfish sexual and reproductive rights” or uncurbed financial capitalism that abuses political power and removes structures from the “real economy” lead to a consideration of the employee and his work as “minor goods” - thus undermining the natural bases of society, especially the family, said the Pope.

“In reality,” Pope Benedict pointed out, “the human being… enjoys a true supremacy” which endows him with responsibility both for himself and creation. For Christianity, work is a fundamental good for man, for his “personalization, socialization, formation of the family and with regard to the common good and peace.”

Pope Benedict stressed that a “new social evangelization” can lead to a “new humanism and renewed cultural commitment”. Solidarity, charity and love offer the best response to individualism, materialism and technocracy.

The secret of any “fully human and peaceful social life” as well as “political renewal” in national and world institutions, the Pope said, should be based on the Lord’s commandment to love one another as He has loved us.

Citing Pope John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris which offers love as the primary motivator behind the creation of a “world community” and authority , Pope Benedict said the Church’s task is to offer “principles for reflection, criteria of judgement and practical orientation ” guaranteeing an anthropological and ethical framework for the common good.

This reflection, the Pope said, should not contemplate the creation of a superpower to dominate people and take advantage of the weakest, concentrating power in the hands of a few. Rather, this authority must be understood as a moral force empowered by reason and limited in its actions and rights.

The Pope thanked the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace for its commitment to studying his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, and asked them to reflect further on the reform of the international financial and monetary system during their Plenary Assembly.

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