Society depends on well-formed consciences, Pope says
Pope Benedict XVI at his balcony in Castel Gandalfo
Pope Benedict XVI at his balcony in Castel Gandalfo

.- Pope Benedict reflected today on King Solomon's choice to ask God for a well-formed conscience, a gift that the pontiff said is essential for societies and people to become truly good.

“In reality, the true quality of our own life and that of society depends on a person’s rightly formed conscience, and on everyone’s capacity to recognize good, separating it from evil, and to try and bring it about patiently to contribute to the cause of justice and peace,” the Pope said.

Politicians, he added, “naturally have more responsibilities, and thus, as Solomon teaches, need God’s help even more.”

The Pope made his remarks just before reciting the traditional noontime Angelus prayer at Castel Gandolfo. His reflection was based on today's first Mass reading, which comes from the book of Kings.

In the reading, King Solomon asks God for an “understanding heart,” which the Pope said can be understood as “a conscience that knows how to listen, which is sensitive to the voice of truth, and therefore is able to discern good from evil.”

Although Solomon's request was motivated by his role as the king of Israel, Pope Benedict noted that his example applies to everyone.

The Pope said that each person has a conscience so that he can, in a sense, act as a “king.” People are able to exercise this royal command by choosing to follow their conscience, doing good and avoiding evil.

He brought his remarks to a close by asking the Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom, to help people form “a conscience always open and sensitive to the truth, to justice, to serve the Kingdom of God.”

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