Pope Suggests Education as End to Financial Woes
Says the Church Is There to Help
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The Pope said this today during a traditional beginning-of-the-year address to representatives from the Latium Region and the Province and City of Rome.
The Holy Father contended to the political leaders that the current economic crisis is linked to another "structural, cultural [crisis] of values."
This values crisis is particularly notable among youth, he said, in whom "the human and Christian values that give meaning to daily life and that form a vision of life open to hope are weakened."
"Instead, ephemeral desires and fleeting hopes rise up, which in the end cause boredom and failure," the Pontiff stated.
The Bishop of Rome lamented news of violence among youth and deaths caused by accidents, and affirmed again that there is an "educational emergency," which needs to be met, also from within the Church.
Modern nihilism has as a consequence, he said, "making one's own life banal so as to take refuge in transgression, in drugs, in alcohol, which for some becomes the habitual ritual of the weekend."
"Even love," the Pope continued, "tends to be reduced to a simple thing that can be bought and sold, and even man himself becomes merchandise."
Benedict XVI encouraged the political leaders to "seriously dedicate themselves to youth, not leaving them at the mercy of themselves and exposed to the school of 'evil masters,' but rather to commit them to serious initiatives, which permit them to understand the value of life in a stable family, founded on marriage."
The Pope noted that the Church, "with an intuition that I would like to call prophetic, has concentrated her efforts for some years now on the theme of education."
He went on to say that the Church "is called to make her contribution, stimulating reflection and forming the consciences of the faithful and of all citizens of good will."
The Holy Father affirmed that an "irrevocable priority" is "formation in respect of norms, in the taking on of one's responsibilities, an attitude of life that reduces individualism and the defense of particular interests so as to together tend to the good of everyone, putting particular attention on the expectations of the weakest members of the population, not considering them a burden but a resource to be valued."
"Perhaps now more than ever civil society understand that only with styles of life inspired in sobriety, in solidarity and in responsibility is it possible to construct a more just society and a better future for everyone," the Pontiff suggested.
Considering the current situation, Benedict XVI invited the public leaders to have "a united will to react, overcoming divisions and coordinating strategies that, if on one hand confront the emergencies of today, on the other hand look to design a strategic organic project for the coming years."
In this context, he recalled the work of Catholic institutions, especially diocesan Caritas organizations, and urged "synergy among all institutions to offer concrete answers to the growing needs of the people."
The Pope called for greater collaboration in every field, including healthcare, between the Church and public powers, "in respect for their mutual competencies."
And he reaffirmed that the Church does not "ask nor look for privileges, but desires that her own spiritual and social mission continues finding esteem and cooperation."