Pope Benedict Encourages “Child-Poor” Europe to Open up to Life

In his homily delivered Saturday at Mariazell during a Mass to mark the 850th anniversary of the Marian shrine's founding, Pope Benedict XVI called attention to the demographic implosion in Europe for a second time on his pastoral visit to Austria. "Europe has become child-poor: we want everything for ourselves, and place little trust in the future," he told the assembled crowd.

On Friday, Benedict addressed political leaders in the nation pointing to the fact that Europe "demographically, is rapidly aging." At that meeting, he also urged legal protection for unborn children. "The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself," he said. "This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right — it is the very opposite."

At the famed Marian shrine the Pope also spoke of the need for truth, calling the resignation that considers man incapable of truth, "The heart of the crisis of the West, the crisis of Europe."

"If truth does not exist for man, then neither can he ultimately distinguish between good and evil," said the Pope. "And then the great and wonderful discoveries of science become double-edged: they can open up significant possibilities for good, for the benefit of mankind, but also, as we see only too clearly, they can pose a terrible threat, involving the destruction of man and the world."

However, the Pope said that "the earth will be deprived of a future only when the forces of the human heart and of reason illuminated by the heart are extinguished — when the face of God no longer shines upon the earth. Where God is, there is the future."

Read the Holy Father's the full homily.

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