The Pope said this today upon receiving members of the International Theological Commission in audience, who in their assembly this week took definitive steps toward elaborating a document on the topic.
The text will be titled "In Search of a Universal Ethic: New Look on Natural Law."
Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, the commission's secretary-general, advised the Holy Father during the audience that the text was approved by the assembly, though other necessary approvals are still pending before its publication.
In his address, Benedict XVI insisted on "the need and urgency, in the present context, to create in culture and in civil and political society the indispensable conditions for full awareness of the inalienable value of the natural moral law."
"Thanks also to the study you have undertaken on this fundamental argument, it will be clear that the natural law constitutes the true guarantee offered each one to live freely and in respect of his dignity of person, and to feel protected from any ideological manipulation and from all abuse perpetrated in virtue of the law of the strongest," said the Holy Father.
According to the Pontiff, "in a world shaped by the natural sciences, the metaphysical concept of the natural law is almost absent, incomprehensible."
"Seeing this fundamental importance for our societies, for human life," he added, "it is necessary to pose again and to understand this concept in the context of our thought: Being itself bears in itself a moral message and an indication for the paths of law."