05/10/2008, 00.00
VATICAN

Pope: in respect for life, the dignity of the person is at stake

40 years after Humanae Vitae, Benedict XVI reiterates the unity of love and openness to life. A theme about which the Church "cannot exempt itself" from speaking. The need for "appropriate" sex education for the young.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - It is the very dignity of the person that is at stake when "the exercise of sexuality is turned into a drug designed to subject the partner to his own desires and interests, without respecting the freedom of the beloved".  This is something that, at a time when the culture is "subjected to the predominance of having over being", must be taught to young people, "with appropriate sex education", while the Church "cannot exempt itself" from reflecting upon and proclaiming the fundamental principles concerning marriage and procreation.  The 40th anniversary of the "beleaguered" encyclical "Humanae Vitae" today provided Benedict XVI with an opportunity to reiterate the basic principles according to which pope Montini wrote a document that became "very soon a sign of contradiction", but that still today "not only manifests its unchanged truth, but also reveals the farsightedness with which the problem was faced".

To the participants at the international congress organized by the Pontifical Lateran University for the anniversary of the encyclical, Benedict XVI emphasized that in it "conjugal love is described within a global process that does not stop at the division between soul and body, nor rests under sentiment alone, which is often fleeting and precarious, but takes upon itself the unity of the person and the total sharing of the spouses who, in reciprocal welcoming, offer themselves in a promise of faithful and exclusive love born from a genuine choice of freedom.  How could such a love remain closed to the gift of life?".

"As believers, we could never permit the dominance of technology to compromise the quality of love and the sacredness of life".

The pope, finally, returned to a question that is especially dear to him, that of the formation of young people.  "Unfortunately, we increasingly witness", he said, "sorrowful events that involve adolescents, whose reactions manifest an incorrect understanding of the mystery of life and of the dangerous implications of their actions.  The urgency of formation, to which I often make reference, applies in a special way to the issue of life.  I truly hope that an entirely special form of attention may be reserved for young people, so that they may learn the true meaning of love and prepare themselves for this with appropriate sex education, without allowing themselves to be misled by ephemeral messages that block the realisation of the essence of the truth at stake.  Supplying false illusions in the area of love, or creating deception about the genuine responsibilities that people are called to accept with the exercise of their sexuality, does not do honour to a society that makes reference to the principles of freedom and democracy.  Freedom must be combined with truth, and responsibility with the power of dedication to the other, even with sacrifice; without these components, the community of men does not grow and the risk of being closed within a circle of suffocating egoism remains a constant threat".

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