.- Pope Benedict XVI made an appeal for provisions that would protect human development and families as he met with local elected officials in a private audience on Wednesday. The Holy Father also called for all of society to collaborate in educating youth for a "lofty vision of health and human sexuality."
Addressing the mayor of Rome and regional government leaders, Benedict XVI said that while the worldwide economic crisis has had consequences for he people and businesses of the Lazio province and its capital of Rome, it has also "offered the possibility to rethink the growth model pursued in the last few years."
The Pope emphasized the necessity for politicians to keep human beings “at the center of political activity” and insisted that his “moral and spiritual growth must be the first concern."
"The main task of the institutions is the pursuit of the common good," within which "a healthy debate" should be promoted, because "the more decisions and measures are shared, the more they will bring real development to the inhabitants of the territory," Pope Benedict told the lawmakers.
The Pontiff continued by inviting the elected officials "to take every care that the centrality of the human person and the family constitute the inspiring principle of (their) every choice."
Support for families was also at the forefront of the Holy Father's mind as he called on the Italian politicians to erect buildings in suburbs to help "young parents with their educational duties." He also urged the adoption of provisions "in favor of families, in particular those that are numerous, so that the entire city enjoys the irreplaceable function of this fundamental institution, first and indispensable cell of society."
The education of the new generations is "a predominant concern," continued the Pope, saying that it should instill "authentic values" in young people "that refer to an 'exalted' view of man which finds one of its most sublime expressions in Christian religious and cultural heritage."
Benedict XVI elaborated, saying that, "When educating on the great questions of affectivity and sexuality ... we must avoid showing adolescents and young people ways that tend to devalue these fundamental dimensions of human existence. To this end the Church calls for everyone to collaborate, especially those who work in schools, to educate the young to a lofty vision of human love and sexuality."
He then explained that when the Church says "no," it is actually "saying 'yes' to life, to love lived in the truth of the giving of self to the other, to the love that opens up to life and does not close itself in a narcissistic view of the couple."
The Pontiff also implored the official to pay "constant and coherent attention to the world of sickness and suffering."