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
The Pope’s 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.
''The primordial 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.”
“Some”, he 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''.
Pope Benedict 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.”
“Jesus 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 God''.
Expanding on 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'.''
He likewise 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 fulfillment.''
Concluding his 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.''