God Guarantees Happiness, Affirms Pope
Divine Law Doesn't Halt Freedom, He Tells Biblical Commission
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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 27, 2006 (Zenit.org).- God is not an obstacle to happiness, as is often thought, but rather he guarantees it, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope expressed this point today when meeting with members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, in the Apostolic Palace, at the end of their annual session dedicated to the study of the relationship between the Bible and morality.
"It is a topic that not only affects the believer, but the whole person as such," the Holy Father said. "Man's primordial impulse, in fact, is his desire for happiness and an entirely fulfilled life.
"Today, however, many think this fulfillment must be obtained in an autonomous way, without any reference to God and his law."
Moreover, "some have even theorized an absolute sovereignty of reason and freedom in the realm of moral norms," Benedict XVI said. "These norms will constitute the realm of a merely 'human' ethic, that is, they would be the expression of a law that man gives himself autonomously."
The promoters of this "secular morality," he said, "affirm that man, as rational being, not only 'can' but also 'must' freely decide the value of his behavior."
The Pope said that this conviction is mistaken, as it is based "on a presumed conflict between human freedom and all forms of law."
This conflict does not exist, he observed, as "the Creator has inscribed in our very being the 'natural law,' reflection of his creative idea in our hearts, as compass and interior measure of our life."
In receiving love "that comes from God, … man's freedom finds its highest realization," the Holy Father continued. "God's law does not attenuate much less eliminate man's freedom; on the contrary, it guarantees and promotes it."
For Benedict XVI, "the moral law, established by God in creation and confirmed in the revelation of the Old Testament, finds in Christ its fulfillment and grandeur."
"Jesus Christ is the way of perfection, the living and personal synthesis of the perfect freedom in the total obedience of the will of God," he said.
Because of this, "the original function of the Ten Commandments is not abolished by the encounter with Christ, but leads it to its plentitude," the Pope added.
Before his election as Pope, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, in his capacity as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.