meeting with the Biblical scholars comes as the group completes their
annual plenary assembly, in which they explored the relationship
between the Bible and morality. Cardinal William Joseph Levada, head of
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and president of the
commission, presided over the assembly.
The Holy Father
began by greeting the participants--many of whom he knows personally,
having himself been president of the commission prior to being elected
Pope--stressing the importance of the plenary session’s theme.
impulse of human beings'', he said, ''is their desire for happiness and
a fulfilling life. Nevertheless, there are many today who think that
such fulfillment must be attained autonomously, with no reference to
God or to His law.”
added, “have even suggested the absolute sovereignty of reason and
freedom in the field of moral norms. ... The proponents of this 'moral
laicism' affirm that human beings, as rational creatures, not only can
but must freely decide the value of their own behavior''.
firmly called this a ''false conviction'', which ''is rooted in a
supposed conflict between human freedom and any kind of law."
He pointed out
however, that "the law of God does not mitigate or eliminate human
freedom, on the contrary, it guarantees and promotes it. ... Moral law,
established by God at the creation and confirmed in the Revelation of
the Old Testament, finds its fullness and greatness in Christ.”
the Pope stressed, “is the way of perfection, the living and personal
synthesis of perfect freedom in His total obedience to the will of
this thought, Benedict recalled that ''In revealing the Father and in
His own actions, Jesus also reveals the norms for just human behavior.
He explicitly underlines this connection when, at the conclusion of His
lessons regarding love for one's enemies, He says 'be perfect as your
heavenly Father is perfect'.''
explained that ''The path indicated by Jesus through His teachings is
not a rule imposed from the outside. He Himself walks this path and
asks no more than that we follow Him. ... In the search for a
Christologically inspired ethic, it is always necessary to remember
that Christ is the Word Incarnate Who renders us participants in His
divine life, and with His grace He sustains us on the path towards true
address to the theologians, the Holy Father stressed that ''The essence
of human beings appears definitively in the Word made man," and "this
relationship with Christ defines the highest fulfillment of man's moral
actions. ... It is not an act dictated solely by external norms, it
proceeds from the vital relationship that unites believers to Christ
and to God.''
with members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission earlier today, Pope
Benedict XVI expounded on the nature of humanity which, he said, finds
its true freedom and happiness within the perfected humanity of Jesus