Environment, freedom and relativism

Recently Pope Benedict XVI received the new ambassador of the UK to the Holy See. In a similar spirit to his speech in England last year, the Pope mentioned the environment as one of the common causes that unites both States. The Pope also mentioned the riots that occurred in England this summer, almost exactly one year since the Pope’s visit, and made an interesting diagnosis of the situation: enduring and objective values must be promoted. In their absence, under the guise of an apparent freedom, moral relativism leads to many social ills. See the most relevant sections below:

  • The sustainable development of the world’s poorer peoples through well-targeted assistance remains a worthy goal, since the peoples of developing countries are our brothers and sisters, of equal dignity and worth and deserving of our respect in every way, and such assistance should always aim to improve their lives and their economic prospects… Promoting models of development which employ modern knowledge to husband natural resources will also have the benefit of better protecting the environment for emerging and developed countries alike.
  • your Government wishes to employ policies that are based on enduring values that cannot be simply expressed in legal terms. This is especially important in the light of events in England this summer. When policies do not presume or promote objective values, the resulting moral relativism, instead of leading to a society that is free, fair, just and compassionate, tends instead to produce frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others. 
  • Moreover, the active fostering of the essential values of a healthy society, through the defence of life and of the family, the sound moral education of the young, and a fraternal regard for the poor and the weak, will surely help to rebuild a positive sense of one’s duty, in charity, towards friends and strangers alike in the local community.

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