VATICAN - “You must contribute to the purification of reason, and to the moral awakening of the forces necessary to build a just and fraternal society,” Benedict XVI tells Brazilian Bishops
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - “I wish to speak to you today about how the Church's mission to serve as the leavening of human society through the Gospel teaches human beings their dignity as children of God, and their vocation to the unity of all mankind, whence derive the need for justice and social peace in accordance with divine wisdom,” said the Holy Father Benedict XVI at the beginning of his address to Brazilian Bishops from the Northeast Region 5, whom he received in an audience on October 28, on their Ad Limina visit.
“You must contribute to the purification of reason, and to the moral awakening of the forces necessary to build a just and fraternal society. Nonetheless, when required by the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls, pastors have the binding duty to emit moral judgments, even on political themes." Thus, “it would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defense of the right to life from conception to natural end,” the Holy Father said, mentioning that “when political projects openly or covertly contemplate the decriminalization of abortion or euthanasia, the democratic ideal (which is truly democratic when it recognizes and protects the dignity of all human beings) is betrayed at its very foundations.” He then exhorted the Bishops not to fear hostilities or lack of popularity for defending life.
Recalling what he had affirmed in Aparecida, Benedict XVI highlighted the need for “social catechesis and an adequate formulation of Church Social Doctrine” for the laity working in the social-political realm. “This also means that on some occasions, pastors must reminds all citizens of the right, which is also a duty, freely to use their vote to promote the common good.”
Lastly, the Holy Father united his voice to that of the Brazilian Bishops “in an urgent appeal for religious education and, more specifically, for the pluralistic and confessional education of religion in State schools.” He also indicated that “the presence of religious symbols in public life is both a recollection of man's transcendence and a guarantee of its respect. They have particular value in the case of Brazil where the Catholic religion is a component part of the country's history.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 29/10/2010)
Complete text of the Holy Father's address, in Portuguese