Last Updated: Thursday - 09/30/2010
September 27, 2010
Germans urged to stand against moral erosion
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY - Pope Benedict has warned of moral and ethical erosion in his native Germany, particularly on right-to-life and marriage issues.
The pope linked the weakening of traditional moral principles to a new concept of God - an impersonal, invisible God who has little impact on society.
The pope's remarks came in a welcoming speech Sept. 13 to Germany's new ambassador to the Vatican, Walter Schmid.
The pope zeroed in on continuing efforts in favour of gay marriage in Germany, saying the Church "views with concern the growing attempt to eliminate the Christian concept of marriage and the family."
Germany has since 2001 permitted registered partnerships that do not, however, enjoy all the rights of marriage.
Pope Benedict said new developments in biotechnology and medicine have raised crucial issues for German society.
"Once the distinction is made - and often this already happens in the mother's womb - between life that is worthy and unworthy to live, no other phase of life will be spared, least of all old age and sickness," he said.
The pope said the duty to protect the human person precisely in situations of weakness was a Christian principle anchored in natural law.
Last June, a German court ruled that it was not a crime to remove life support of a terminally ill person if that person had given consent. Active assisted suicide remains a crime.
The pope noted that although Germany is a free and democratic society, there is not a strong attachment to religion.
One factor, he said, was that the personal God of Christianity has been largely replaced by "a supreme being, mysterious and undefined, who has only a vague relationship with the personal life of the human being."
He warned that, especially in discussions of justice and legislative issues, this concept of God is increasingly popular: an "alternative 'god' who doesn't know, who doesn't hear and who doesn't speak and who, more than ever, has no will. "If God has no will, good and evil can no longer be distinguished."
The pope said the weakening of the idea of God creates a downward spiral in society, as people lose moral and spiritual strength, and as social questions are determined more and more by private interests and balances of power.
Christians, he said, have an important role to play "in laying down the foundations and forming the structures of our culture."
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