A vigorous society is based on the solidity of the moral values that sustain, ennoble and dignify it, stated Pope Benedict XVI in his Oct 30 address welcoming an ambassador to the Holy See. Irreplaceable elements that create a healthy social fabric and build a vigorous society include, according to the Pope, commitment to social justice, the struggle against corruption, the promotion of peace, the right to life of all humans from the moment of conception to its natural death, and the safeguarding of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman.
He pointed out that efforts must not be spared to strengthen democratic institutions and an efficient and independent juridical system. All citizens must act with honesty, transparency in community management and professionalism and diligence in the resolution of problems that affect the citizenry. No sector of the population should be neglected or driven to violence and marginalization, he concluded. []

In his Oct 30th address to scientists and astronomers, Benedict XVI commented on the complementarity of faith and reason in the service of an integral understanding of man and his place in the universe. He invited everyone to “consider the immense progress of scientific knowledge in the modern age and, in a particular way, to turn our gaze anew to the heavens in a spirit of wonder, contemplation and commitment to the pursuit of truth, wherever it is to be found.”
The Holy Father added that true knowledge is always directed to wisdom, and, rather than restricting the eyes of the mind to that particular discovery, it invites us to lift our gaze to the higher realm of the spirit, and “lead beyond the contemplation of the marvels of creation to the contemplation of the Creator and of that Love which is the underlying motive of His creation – the Love which moves the sun and the other stars.”
Benedict XVI affirmed that knowledge must be understood and pursued in all its liberating breadth, but if it is to be directed to wisdom, than knowledge must be committed to the pursuit of ultimate truth that is “the key to our authentic happiness and freedom, the measure of our true humanity, and the criterion for a just relationship with the physical world and with our brothers and sisters in the great human family.” He concluded by quoting Psalm 8, “What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man, that you should care for him?” as he challenged the scientists, and all of us as well, to lift our attention from focusing on the scientific calculations, experiments and discoveries to allow ourselves to be caught up in wonder and awe at these manifestations of God and His creative powers. []

The Holy Father believes that everyone – priests, religious, laypeople, and especially the youth, should have a spiritual director to help them in their journey to holiness. A spiritual guide, he says, should help one grow in knowledge of oneself and lead a person “to union with the Lord, so that one’s life is increasingly conformed to the Gospel.” He feels that everyone needs a guide, to dialogue with, to expand one’s faith horizons, stating that “we cannot do it by our reflections alone.” []

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