[Thursday] Pope Benedict XVI addressed Canadians as he greeted the new Canadian Ambassador to the Holy See, Anne Leahy.
In his address, the Holy Father noted his concern for Canada’s growing lack of respect for life and family, despite the fact that Canadian culture has Catholicism as one of its cornerstones and has been recognized as a champion of human rights and dignity. ”Nevertheless, profound changes can be noticed today, which are seen in different sectors and at times cause concern to the point of asking ourselves if it does not mean a regression in the understanding of the human being,” he said. “These changes mainly concern the areas of defense and the promotion of life and the family based on natural marriage.”
“In this context,” said the Pope, “I would like to encourage all Canadians to reflect deeply on the path that Christ calls us to follow.” That path, he said “is bright and full of truth.” Speaking of turning to a culture of life, Benedict XVI said, “I know it is possible and that your country is capable.” He said, “A culture of life can nourish anew the personal and social existence of Canada as a whole.”
“To help,” said the Holy Father, “it seems necessary to redefine the meaning of freedom of expression too often invoked to justify certain excesses.” He noted that freedom is often wrongly perceived as an absolute value, disregarding its divine origin and its communal dimension. In such an interpretation of freedom, he suggested, “only the individual can decide and choose the form, characteristics, and ends of life, death, and marriage.”
“True freedom,” he observed, “is ultimately based on and develops in God.” He added: “It is a gift that can be accepted as the seed from which the person and society can grow responsibly and be enriched. The exercise of this freedom implies reference to a natural moral law that is universal, which precedes and unifies all rights and duties. In this perspective, I would like to show my support to all the Canadian Bishops’ initiatives in favor of family life and thus of the dignity of the human being.”
The full address in French is available here:
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