Benedict XVI: Human Heart Longs for Christ

Speaks Out Against Relativism

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2007 (ZENIT.org).- In the midst of secularism and relativism, it is necessary to teach people that "Christ, the human face of God, is our true and only savior," says Benedict XVI.



The Pope said this Thursday in an audience with participants at the 57th General Assembly of the Italian bishops' conference, who are holding a meeting in the Vatican on "Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world: the Church in mission 'ad gentes' and among us."

During the meeting with Italy's prelates, the Holy Father said: "I rejoice in the fact that you have placed at the basis of the missionary effort the fundamental truth that Jesus Christ is the only savior of the world.

"The certainty of this truth has given, from the beginning, a decisive impulse to the Christian mission.

"Today too, as the declaration 'Dominus Iesus' reaffirmed, we must be fully aware that from the mystery of Jesus Christ, true God and true man living and present in the Church, comes the unique salvific and universal nature of Christian revelation and, consequently, the essential task of announcing Jesus Christ to everyone."

The answer

Benedict XVI said that amid the challenges of the world today, God is necessary for everyone.

"It seems to me," he said, "that, if we look at the situation of the world today, we can understand -- I would say in a human way, almost without having recourse to faith -- that God who gave himself a human face, the God who was incarnated, who is called Jesus Christ and suffered for us, this God is necessary for everyone, and the only answer to all of the challenges of this age."

While giving "respect to other religions and cultures, with the seeds of truth and goodness they contain and that represent a preparation for the Gospel," the Pope continued, "we cannot diminish the awareness of the originality, fullness and unique nature of the revelation of the true God who in Christ was definitively given to us, nor can we diminish or weaken the Church's missionary vocation."

"The cultural climate of relativism that surrounds us makes it more important and urgent" to instill in the Church "the certainty that Christ, the human face of God, is our true and only Savior," he affirmed.

Benedict XVI mentioned his book "Jesus of Nazareth," calling it "a very personal book, not of the Pope but of this man" written so that "we can see -- with the heart and with reason -- that Christ is really he whom the human heart longs for."