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    Friday, March 31, 2006

    Pope urges "defeat of a culture threatening democracy itself"



    That's telling 'em Holy Father...

    link

    "Your support for the Christian heritage, moreover, can contribute significantly to the defeat of a culture that is now fairly widespread in Europe, which relegates to the private and subjective sphere the manifestation of one's own religious convictions. Policies built on this foundation not only entail the repudiation of Christianity's public role; more generally, they exclude engagement with Europe's religious tradition, which is so clear, despite its denominational variations, thereby threatening democracy itself, whose strength depends on the values that it promotes."

    "It must not be forgotten," he stressed, "that when Churches or ecclesial communities intervene in public debate, expressing reservations or recalling various principles, this does not constitute a form of intolerance or interference, since such interventions are aimed solely at enlightening consciences, enabling them to act freely and responsibly, according to the true demands of justice, even when this should conflict with situations of power and personal interest."

    "These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church's action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, irrespective of any religious affiliation they may have."

    The main area of the Catholic Church's interventions in the public sphere, said Benedict XVI, "is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable." Among these principles he listed:

    "Protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

    recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family, as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage, and its defense from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

    and the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

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