Pope Benedict XVI has said that Christians refuse to bow down by “false gods” imposed by the state not because of an “antiquated worldview” but because they are “inspired by such a noble vision of human destiny that they cannot collude with anything that undermines it”.
In an article for the Financial Times, the Pope said at times throughout history Christians have been unable to comply with “demands made by Caesar”.
He said: “From the Emperor cult of ancient Rome to the totalitarian regimes of the last century, Caesar has tried to take the place of God. When Christians refuse to bow down before the false gods proposed today, it is not because of an antiquated worldview. Rather, it is because they are free from the constraints of ideology and inspired by such a noble vision of human destiny that they cannot collude with anything that undermines it.”
The Pope also said the birth of Christ “challenges us to reassess our priorities, our values, our very way of life”, adding: “While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of great joy, it is also an occasion for deep reflection, even an examination of conscience. At the end of a year that has meant economic hardship for many, what can we learn from the humility, the poverty, the simplicity of the crib scene?”
The Pope’s article came about after a request from the Financial Times. It is thought to be the first time a pope has written for a secular newspaper.
The full text of the article is available here.