.- During a meeting on September 21 meeting with members of Italyâs Centrist Democrat International (IDC) political party at Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI criticized the violence carried out by terrorist networks which attempt to justify their threats against global security by arguing that society has forgotten God, and he denounced those who âclaim to act in God's name and harbor an inexcusable contempt for human life.â
After affirming the right of âauthentically religious traditionsâ âto manifest their own identity publicly,â the Holy Father pointed out that ârespect for religion helps to counter the charge that society has forgotten God: an accusation shamelessly exploited by some terrorist networks in an attempt to justify their threats against global security. Terrorism is a serious problem whose perpetrators often claim to act in God's name and harbor an inexcusable contempt for human life.â
He defended the right of society to protect itself from terrorism, but he noted that âthis right must be exercised with complete respect for moral and legal norms, including the choice of ends and means. In democratic systems, the use of force in a manner contrary to the principles of a constitutional State can never be justified,â he said.
âIn this regard,â the Pope went on, âthe social teaching of the Catholic Church offers some points for reflection on how to promote security and justice both at the national and international levels. This teaching is based on reason, natural law and the Gospel.â
The Church knows that it is not her specific task to see to the political implementation of this teaching: her objective is to help form consciences in political life, to raise awareness of the authentic requirements of justice, and to foster a greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest,â the Pontiff stated.
In conclusion, Benedict XVI pointed out that the Church politicians âto bear witness to that faith today with even greater courage and generosity. The integrity of Christians in political life is indeed more necessary than ever so that the "salt" of apostolic zeal does not lose its "flavor", and so that the "lamp" of Gospel values enlightening the daily work of Christians is not obscured by pragmatism or utilitarianism, suspicion or hate.â