Pope Warns of Democracy Without Values

Greets New Chilean Ambassador

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 18, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II warned Chilean society to resist falling into moral relativism because "a democracy without values does not serve for real progress."



Such a situation "turns against man himself," the Pope said. "The strengthening of democratic life must always be accompanied by the constant promotion of genuine values, which are the guarantee of stability."

He expressed his concern when he received Máximo Pacheco Gómez, 76, Chile´s new ambassador to the Vatican.

The Holy Father congratulated the Chilean Parliament and government for the recent abolition of the death penalty. At the same time, he urged zealous respect "for the life of each human being, from conception to its natural end."

The Catholic Church has severely criticized the Chilean government´s decision in March to approve the sale of the "morning-after pill," which can cause early abortions.

The Pontiff said that it is a symptom of the "dangers" that threaten Chilean society today: "ethical relativism, consumerism and other pseudo-cultural forms" that deteriorate "the treasure of Christian values on which the national identity rests."

In particular, John Paul II applauded the ambassador when he promised, on behalf of President Ricardo Lagos´ government, to "defend and strengthen the family."

"I am pleased by these resolutions, hoping that the leaders and the entire society will be consequent with history, with the country´s most authentic tradition, and that no efforts will be spared in this respect, in order to avoid giving way to easy temptations, at times disguised under the appearance of a false modernity," the Bishop of Rome warned.