Earlier this morning, the Holy Father met with a group of delegates from the Bavarian Parliament and stressed the importance of scientific research and development for mankind. He highlighted however, that it may never come at the expense of human dignity.
Pope Benedict addressed the group, from the Christian-Social Union of the Bavarian Diet (the parliament of Bavaria), in the German language as he praised his own homeland.
Noting the region’s rich history and culture and also pointing out its recent place as an important center for research and technology, the Pope said, "Bavaria unites a heritage of generosity and a rich religious harmony, elements which hold real promise for a future made in man's measure."
He also noted that Bavaria, like many other regions, is facing "the difficult social and economic challenges of our time, ... to which must be added the questions raised by new scientific and technological developments, that confront politicians with an obligation to make the right decisions."
"Scientific advancement," the Pope observed, "can be a blessing for human beings, or their ruin. Politicians, when called to decide on the correct or incorrect use of science, must choose whether to allow themselves to be guided by superficial advantages or by the laws of God.”
“Men and women are responsible”, he said, “for their actions before God, the giver of all life. Those actions must always respect the inviolability of individuals whose lives are sacred at every phase, (especially) when using new scientific discoveries."
The Pope also hit on the area of education, saying that, "in order for the highest attainments of our culture to be respected and promoted in the future, young people must have a solid formation, one based not merely on technocratic or economic suppositions, but on an intellectual heritage that reflects the names of Athens, Jerusalem and Rome.”
“In this context,” he said, “I would like to mention the personal and irreplaceable contribution made to the country's universities by theological faculties, where I too had the honor of teaching, as a professor of dogmatic theology in the University of Regensburg. A time I always recall with happiness."
As he concluded, Benedict fondly recalled his former residence of Munich, "an unforgettable city, the city of which I was bishop, ... the city of the Mariensaule" (the monument to Mary, Patroness of Bavaria).
He particularly expressed his hope that the Virgin Mary would always occupy a central place in the hearts of the Bavarian people.