Pontiff Denounces Child Pornography, Pedophilia
Stresses Christian Ethos as Basis of Moral Action
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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is speaking out against the crimes of child pornography and pedophilia, and is underlining the need to fight these evils through a solid formation of conscience.
The Pope stated this today during his traditional meeting with the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and members of the Roman Curia and of the Governorate of Vatican City State, for the exchange of Christmas greetings.
"For all its new hopes and possibilities, our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function," he observed.
The Pontiff continued, "Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni [stir up your power O Lord and come]: Amid the great tribulations to which we have been exposed during the past year, this Advent prayer has frequently been in my mind and on my lips."
He mentioned in particular the abuse of minors by clergy that came to light over the past year, crimes of "priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime."
"We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal," the Holy Father said. "Only the truth saves."
He continued "We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred.
"We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good.
"We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again."
"In my meetings with victims of this sin," Benedict XVI stated, "I have also always found people who, with great dedication, stand alongside those who suffer and have been damaged."
He also expressed gratitude to "the many good priests who act as channels of the Lord's goodness in humility and fidelity and, amid the devastations, bear witness to the unforfeited beauty of the priesthood."
The Pope stated that we cannot "remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light."
"There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society," he lamented.
"The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times," the Pontiff asserted. "From bishops of developing countries I hear again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and damages its freedom and its human dignity."
"In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations," he said.
The Holy Father said: "In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos."
"It was maintained -- even within the realm of Catholic theology -- that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself," he noted.
Benedict XVI warned against this theory that "anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances," in which "morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist."
"The effects of such theories are evident today," he stated.
The Pope noted, "Against them, Pope John Paul II, in his 1993 encyclical letter 'Veritatis Splendor,' indicated with prophetic force in the great rational tradition of Christian ethos the essential and permanent foundations of moral action."
"Today, attention must be focused anew on this text as a path in the formation of conscience," the Pontiff stated.
He added, "It is our responsibility to make these criteria audible and intelligible once more for people today as paths of true humanity, in the context of our paramount concern for mankind."
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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31289?l=english