Friday, October 02, 2009

Pope tells new US ambassador: truth of natural law sustains democracy

Catholic Culture-News Briefs
October 02, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI praised the traditions of American democratic pluralism as he welcomed a new US ambassador, Miguel Diaz, to the Vatican.

The Pope described the US as "a cohesive yet pluralistic society." He recalled that during his visit to America last year he had paid tribute to "a vibrant democracy, committed to the service of the common good and shaped by a vision of equality and equal opportunity based on the God-given dignity and freedom of each human being."

To protect that healthy democracy, the Pope said, America must faithfully recognize the immutable truths of natural law. "In a word," he said, "fidelity to man requires fidelity to the truth, which alone is the guarantee of freedom and real development." The Church, he said, serves American society by promoting recognition of that fundamental truth.

Although the Pope's address generally avoided current disputes, two of his remarks could be taken as comments on the American political scene:

First, the Pope told Ambassador Diaz, "I appreciate acknowledgement of the need for a greater spirit of solidarity and multilateral engagement in approaching the urgent problems facing our planet." Since the Holy See had frequently criticized the Bush administration for acting unilaterally in world affairs-- particularly with the invation of Iraq-- that papal remark seemed to indicate an appreciation for the Obama administration's greater efforts to forge an international consensus on matters such as a response to Iran's nuclear program.

Second, the Pontiff reminded the US envoy of "the need for a clear discernment with regard to issues touching the protection of human dignity and respect for the inalienable right to life from the moment of conception to natural death." Clearly the Holy Father was speaking about abortion, and perhaps specifically the coverage of abortion in a health-care reform plan. That meaning came through clearly when the Pope continued with a plea for "the protection of the right to conscientious objection on the part of health care workers, and indeed all citizens."

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Letters of Credence of Philippines, Netherlands, USA (VIS)

Speech of Pope Benedict XVI to the Ambassador to the Holy See from the United States of America (Vatican Radio)

See also from CNA, "Pope calls for respect for life and protection of consciences in the U.S."


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