Pope Benedict XVI called on politicians this week to strive to prevent the dissemination of ideologies that cast a shadow on the truth and the good of consciences. He also asked that they not exclude God from the horizon of man and from history and to ensure that “authentically religious traditions” be allowed “to manifest their own identity publicly, free from any pressure to hide or disguise it.”
The Pope made his comments on September 21 at Castelgandolfo during a meeting with hundreds of members of the Centrist Democrat International (IDC) political party.
During his remarks, he reflected on the “values and ideals that have been molded and deepened in a decisive way by the Christian tradition in Europe and throughout the world,” such as the “centrality of the human person, a respect for human rights, a commitment to peace and the promotion of justice for all.”
These “fundamental principles,” he continued, “as history has shown, are closely interconnected,” because “when human rights are violated, the dignity of the human person suffers; when justice is compromised, peace itself is jeopardized.”
The Holy Father exhorted politicians to continue “serving the common good” and to work “to prevent the dissemination and entrenchment of ideologies which obscure and confuse consciences by promoting an illusory vision of truth and goodness,” as in the economic sphere, for example, where “there is a tendency to view financial gain as the only good.”
“There are those who maintain that human reason is incapable of grasping the truth, and therefore of pursuing the good that corresponds to personal dignity,” the Pope went on. “There are some who believe that it is legitimate to destroy human life in its earliest or final stages.” “Equally troubling is the growing crisis of the family,” which is the fundamental nucleus of society based on the indissoluble bond of marriage between a man and a woman,” he said.
The Pope then spoke about “the defense of religious liberty, which is a fundamental, irrepressible, inalienable and inviolable right,” underscoring that “the exercise of this freedom also includes the right to change religion, which should be guaranteed not only legally, but also in daily practice.”
He said emphasized that “within every human heart there are needs and desires which find their fulfillment in God alone. For this reason, God can never be excluded from the horizon of man and world history! That is why all authentically religious traditions must be allowed to manifest their own identity publicly, free from any pressure to hide or disguise it.”