Friday 5 February 2010

Pope stresses no compromise on life issues in address to Scottish bishops

The text of Pope Benedict's address to the Scottish bishops on their ad limina visit has just been released. Most notably, he said:
"A renewed focus on lay apostolate will help to clarify the roles of clergy and laity and so give strong impetus to the task of evangelizing society. That task requires a readiness to grapple firmly with the challenges presented by the increasing tide of secularism in your country. Support for euthanasia strikes at the very heart of the Christian understanding of the dignity of human life. Recent developments in medical ethics and some of the practices advocated in the field of embryology give cause for great concern. If the Church’s teaching is compromised, even slightly, in one such area, then it becomes hard to defend the fullness of Catholic doctrine in an integral manner. Pastors of the Church, therefore, must continually call the faithful to complete fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium, while at the same time upholding and defending the Church’s right to live freely in society according to her beliefs." [my emphasis]
Pope Benedict's strong words are similar to those he used when addressing the English and Welsh bishops, which I referred to on Tuesday. The Pope's warnings and directions about dissent from Church teaching on life and family issues will be greatly appreciated by countless ordinary Catholic and non-Catholic citizens in Britain. They are distressed by the undermining of Catholic pro-life and pro-family witness by influential clergy, laity, bodies and publications at home and abroad:
Instead of such co-operation with the culture of death, " ... what is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life ... ", as Pope John Paul II put it in Evangelium Vitae (95).

*In this connection, we must never forget the teaching of Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 97. He said that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

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