Relativism Hurts Families, Warns Benedict XVI

Presents Natural Law as Objective Criterion

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2007 (Zenit.org).- If natural law is not respected, then life, family and society become victims of ethical relativism, warns Benedict XVI.



This was the Pope's message on receiving in audience today some 200 participants in the international congress on natural law, called by the Pontifical Lateran University.

The Holy Father began his address by pointing out the contradictions of the present time, characterized by technological progress.

"We see all the great advantages of this progress, but we also increasingly see the threats of destruction of the gift of nature," he said. "And there is another danger, less visible, but no less disturbing: The method, which allows us increasingly to know the rational structures of matter, makes us ever more incapable of seeing the source of this rationality, creative Reason."

The Bishop of Rome said it is urgent to reflect on natural law as the source of norms which precede any human law and which cannot be altered by any one.

The bulwark

Benedict XVI highlighted "the principle of respect for human life, from its conception until its natural end, as this good of life is not man's property, but the free gift of God."

As well, the Pope pointed out "the duty to seek the truth, [a] necessary assumption of any authentic maturity of the person."

Attacking this vision is "juridical positivism," according to which private interests become rights, the Holy Father said.

On the contrary, "the natural law is … the only bulwark against arbitrary power or the deceits of ideological manipulation," he added.

The Pope explained that, according to natural law, the family is "that intimate community of life and conjugal love, founded by the Creator" and, therefore, a "sacred bond" that "does not depend on human choice."

Benedict XVI added that "no law made by men can alter the norm written by the Creator without society remaining dramatically wounded in what constitutes its very foundation. To forget this would mean to weaken the family, to penalize children and to make the future of society precarious.

"I feel the duty to affirm once again that not everything that is scientifically feasible is also ethically licit."

"Technology," the Pope said, "when it reduces the human being to an object of experimentation, ends up by abandoning the weak to the decisions of the strong."