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Pope warns Germany of moral erosion on marriage and life issues

By on Monday, 13 September 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has warned Germany that traditional morality risks being eroded further by attacks on marriage and on the sanctity of life.

The Pope linked the weakening of moral principles to a new concept of God – an impersonal and invisible God who has little impact on society.

The Pope’s remarks came in a welcoming speech to Germany’s new ambassador to the Vatican, Walter Schmid, who presented his credentials at a ceremony at the papal summer villa outside Rome.

The Pope zeroed in on the campaign for gay marriage in Germany, saying that the Church “views with concern the growing attempt to eliminate the Christian concept of marriage and the family”. Marriage should always be a permanent union between a man and a woman, open to the transmission of life, he said.

He criticised legislative initiatives that “suggest a re-evaluation of alternative models of the life of couples and the family”, saying they contribute to the weakening of principles of natural law and to the spread of moral confusion in society.

Germany has since 2001 permitted registered partnerships that do not, however, enjoy all the rights of marriage. In August, a German court ruled that same-sex couples who have registered their partnership are entitled to the same inheritance rights as married couples.

Pope Benedict said new developments in biotechnology and medicine have raised crucial issues for German society, and require careful study to make sure they do not result in the manipulation of the human being and the violation of human dignity.

“We cannot refuse these developments, but we must be very vigilant,” he said.

“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 in Germany.

The Pope noted that over the next year several German martyrs who were killed under the Nazi regime will be beatified, and a Lutheran pastor who was executed by the Nazis for his preaching will also be commemorated.

Together, he said, they offered “an impressive witness of the ecumenism of prayer and suffering that flourished in various places during the dark period of the Nazi terror”.

The Pope contrasted this witness of the faith with widespread religious indifference in modern Germany.

“Today, fortunately, we live in a free and democratic society. At the same time, however, we notice that among many of our contemporaries there is not a strong attachment to religion,” he said. 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 said that, especially in discussions of justice and legislative issues, this concept of God was 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.

For these and other reasons, he said, it is essential for Christians to affirm the “fundamental and permanent importance of Christianity in laying down the foundations and forming the structures of our culture”.

Pope Benedict also had some cautionary words about the mass media and the search for truth. Because of increasing competition, he said, modern media feel driven to provoke the “maximum attention possible”, particularly when it involves conflict, which “generally makes news, even when it goes against honesty in reporting”.

  • Paul Oldenburg

    It is a warning thrown at Europe, not only at Germany!

  • devout cat

    what the pope has said is so true, particularly about the media. They can do more harm than good.

  • AgingPapist

    The pope had best be listening to his German speaking theologians too. The Catholic Church is in grave peril in German, Austria, and Switzerland. Catholics there and elsewhere are becoming more and more determined to form their own church. With bishops and pastors elected for fixed terms of office by men and women. Benedict ignores them at his peril. The days of his Caesarian ule over the universal Church as a “universal pastor” are over.

  • playup27

    The Pope has spoken remarkably well re  Superman God -’If God has no will good and evil can no longer be distinguished’ .This of coarse is reminiscent of Robspiere’s Supreme Being worship at Notre Dame.Remember Gemany is still to this day suffering from its Total Disastrous implicity of the Second World War.German came near to being the international language of science between 1900 and 1932 because of the one hundred Noble Prizes awarded in that period 33 went to German and Swiss citizens.They too had for years been the leading edge in mathematics and engineering but Hitlers arrival changed all that and for what! Most of the persecuted talent finished up in USA,UK or Russia and the loss has yet to be made up.The german phrase ‘ immer schlimmer’ (going from bad to worse0 comes to miind ;true they are now the premier financial powerhouse in the EU but think what could have been achieved without the NAZI Aberration ! Both the present Pope and John Paul 11 have and had personnel reasons not to forget this demotion of God policy and its subsequent tragedies for mankind

  • playup27

    The most Hopeless time in Human History was the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross ,following his unbelievable suffering .Believe me the Romans knew how to inflict pain;shaking your head from side to side and screaming out  in pain would not relieve the trauma ;the blunt nail hammered through the exACT POINT IN YOUR WRIST TO CAUSE THE MAXIMIUM AMOUNT OF SUFFERING  would do its job well -very well.The Romans had an Empire to run free from insurrection at all times.Jesus forgave his tormentors with the words ‘I thirst’ (for mankind).The Hope of The Church is The Resurection and this Hope is sustained by the Eucharist: The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. St Pauls says :If God is for us ,who can be against us (Romans) and maybe Hitlers  sucidal demise would be a testimony to that.
    ‘Time as we know it is passing away’(St.Paul) and the problems you have clearly outlinned will pass away too no doubt to be replaced by new ones -maybe s-sm(same sex marriage)