Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 21, 2008
Pope urges U.S. to keep religious values
Belief in God is foundation of human rights, he tells Bush
By JOHN THAVIS
"'In a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation,' and a democracy without values can lose its very soul."
- Pope Benedict
Religious values have continued to be a driving force, for example in the struggle against slavery and the human rights movement, he said.
"In our time, too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations," he said.
The pope then spoke about freedom in the U.S. tradition, saying Americans have always understood freedom as not just a gift but as a summons to responsibility.
Preserving freedom calls for virtue, self-discipline, a sense of sacrifice for the common good and responsibility for the less fortunate, he said.
Freedom has a deep connection to truth, the pope said. Quoting Pope John Paul II, he said the late pope had "reminded us that history shows, time and again, that 'in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation,' and a democracy without values can lose its very soul."
The pope said the Church is convinced that faith can inspire people to work for a more just and fraternal society.
"Democracy can only flourish, as your founding fathers realized, when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation," he said.
The pope did not speak about specific domestic or international issues in his public remarks.
In his speech, U.S. President George W. Bush picked up on several of the pope's favourite themes, denouncing a "dictatorship of relativism" that threatens traditional values.
The president drew applause when he said "we need your message that all human life is sacred and that each of us is willed and each of us is loved and each of us is necessary."
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