Relativist Society Fuels Depression

Conclusions of Vatican Congress on this Illness

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 23, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Relativism’s negligence of objective moral principles is a primary cause of widespread depression and must be countered with fundamental religious and ethical values say participants of Vatican congress on depression.



The 18th International Congress on "Depression, an illness that today affects 340 million people,” was organized from November 13-15, by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, presided over by Mexican Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán.

"Individualism, unemployment, divorce, insecurity, the absence of a genuine education, the lack of the transmission of learning, of culture, of morality, and of the religious life, and ethical relativism's negligence of objective norms, weaken people," who feel uprooted and unstable in life, the participants concluded.

The Congress, gathering together participants from 62 countries, was attended by cardinals, archbishops, bishops, men and women religious, and laymen dedicated to the sick and suffering, as well as by specialists in the different areas of humanistic, social, bio-medical and theological-pastoral sciences.

"To listen, to understand, to love, to always value a person and to encourage him/her to participate and to feel comfortable," is the message the Church offers to support victims of depression, the participants emphasize.

A person who is depressed "has not been forgotten by God." In fact, God keeps such a person at the "center of his compassionate love," a Christian answer to the reality of depression so often resulting in suicide, at a cost of one million lives a year, the conclusions state.

"In fact, when beginning his messianic mission, Jesus said: ‘I have come for the sick,’" among whom are the depressed. “The spiritual life transforms this promise in concrete ways which offer the believer spiritual support to address any sickness, including depression," the concluding document adds.

"To recreate a genuine social bond, beginning with a complete change in man's behavior, it is necessary to value the principles of morality again, which are able to ‘effect’ a profound change in the spirit of the depressed person and uplift him, restoring, at the same time, both the person and society," the Congress concluded.

In particular, the participants stressed that "the media are instruments of civilization which, in proposing models of life and cultural ways that respect the values of life, the family, and society, can be a great help to convert individualist attitudes and tendencies of the post modern culture... into positive, personal, altruistic, and solidaristic patterns of behavior in favor of life."