Pope: Knowing God Helps Forge a Personality

Benedict XVI Considers Elements of Social Doctrine in Address to 5 Ambassadors

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 4, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today spoke with five new non-resident ambassadors to the Holy See, including Malaysia's first ambassador.

The Pope touched on a variety of points, ranging from poverty, to human development, to religious freedom.

The ambassadors were: Teshome Toga Chanaka of Ethiopia; David Cooney of Ireland; Naivakarurubalavu Solo Mara of Fiji; Viguen Tchitetchian of Armenia; and Dato' Ho May Young of Malaysia.

The Vatican Information Service provided excerpts of the Holy Father's French-language address.

Among his points, he noted that the "global economic crisis has caused an increasing number of families to live in precarious conditions. When the manufacture and increase of needs leads us to believe in the possibility of unlimited enjoyment and consumption, the lack of the means necessary to achieve these ends leads to frustration."

The Pope also spoke against situations where poverty and enormous wealth exist side by side, cautioning that "a sense of injustice arises which can become a source of rebellion. Therefore it is necessary for States to ensure that legislation does not increase social inequality and that people can live dignified lives."

He spoke of human development as necessarily involving the whole of the person, not just economic factors.

"Experiences such as micro-credit, and initiatives to create cooperative associations show that it is possible to harmonize economic objectives with social necessities, democratic government and respect for nature," the Pontiff affirmed. "It is also advisable to encourage manual work and to promote an agriculture which works in favor of local people, viewing these activities with the respect they deserve."

Another poverty

Benedict XVI also spoke of "another kind of poverty: the loss of reference to spiritual values and to God."

When a person lacks this reference, he said, it "makes it more difficult to distinguish good from evil, and to overcome personal interests in favor of the common good. States have a duty to promote their cultural and religious heritage, which contributes to the development of a nation, and to facilitate people's access thereto, because by familiarizing ourselves with our history each of us is able to discover the roots of our own existence."

"Religion," the Pope affirmed, "helps us to recognize others as brothers and sisters in humanity. Giving everyone the opportunity to know God, in complete freedom, is to help them forge a strong personality which will enable them to bear witness to good, and put it into effect even at great cost. In this way we will build a society in which sobriety and fraternity triumph over misery, indifference and selfishness, over exploitation and waste and, above all, over exclusion."