The German pontiff gave the interview in anticipation of his trip to his native region of Germany, in September.
“Christianity, Catholicism, isn’t a collection of prohibitions: it’s a positive option,” said the Pope.
“We’ve heard so much about what is not allowed that now it’s time to say: we have a positive idea to offer, that man and woman are made for each other, that the scale of sexuality, eros, agape, indicates the level of love and … then the family, that guarantees continuity among generations and through which generations are reconciled to each other and even cultures can meet,” the Pope said in response to a question regarding the nature of marriage.
“It’s not a Catholic invention that man and woman are made for each other, so that humanity can go on living: all cultures know this,” he stated plainly.
He also reiterated the Church’s teaching on abortion and that the human person, whose life begins in the mother’s womb, must always be respected.
Regarding the AIDS epidemic and other issues of international development, the Pope stressed the key role of education and formation that focus on the whole human person.
“Progress becomes true progress only if it serves the human person and if the human person grows: not only in terms of his or her technical power, but also in his or her moral awareness,” he said.
“I believe that the real problem of our historical moment lies in the imbalance between the incredibly fast growth of our technical power and that of our moral capacity, which has not grown in proportion,” he explained. “That’s why the formation of the human person is the true recipe, the key to it all, I would say, and this is what the Church proposes.”
The Pope went on to speak about the Catholic schools and training centers throughout Africa and Asia, where human and professional formation are combined.
Pope Benedict also commended the African bishops for their ability to form positive and “exemplary” relations with Muslims in their countries.
“In many areas, following the destruction of war, the Church is the only structure that remains intact,” he said. As a result, the Church offers medical treatment to all people, including the many AIDS victims.
The Pope said there is also a great danger that the Middle East, where Christianity has its origins, will be left without Christians. “I think we need to help them a lot so that they can stay,” he said.
And while Europe became the centre of Christianity, “today other continents and other cultures play with equal importance in the concert of world history. In this way the number of voices in the Church grows, and this is a good thing.”
The Church still needs Europe, even if “it is only a part of a greater whole. We still carry the responsibility that comes from our experiences … all this is very important for the other continents too,” he said.
“So it’s important that today we don’t give up, feeling sorry for ourselves … We have to keep our dynamism alive, open relationships of exchange, so that new strength for us comes from there,” he said.
.- Catholicism has positive ideas of offer about life, family and human development, which must be made known with courage and dynamism, said Pope Benedict XVI in a German Radio and Television interview released Sunday.