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Pontiff Explains Church's 'Yes' to Marriage of Man, Woman
Speaks to Charity Council About Christian Vision of Human Person
By Kathleen Naab
VATICAN CITY, January 21, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Benedict XVI says the Christian vision of man is a great "yes" to his or her dignity and social nature, and in this context, the Church stresses a great "yes" to the dignity and beauty of marriage.
In the same vein, the Pope said on Saturday, the Church voices a "no" to such philosophies as the philosophy of gender.
The Holy Father explained the Church's vision of marriage and the dignity of men and women in a talk Saturday to participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. That council oversees the Church's charity work.
"The Church is always committed to the promotion of man according to God's plan, man in his integral dignity, with respect for his twofold vertical and horizontal dimension," he said.
"The Christian vision of man is, in fact, a great 'yes' to the dignity of the person called to intimate communion with God, a filial communion, humble and confident," he added. "The human being is neither an individual subsisting in himself nor an anonymous element of the collective. He is rather a singular and unrepeatable person intrinsically ordered to relationship and sociality.
"For this reason the Church stresses her great 'yes' to the dignity and beauty of marriage as an expression of a faithful and fecund alliance between man and woman, and says 'no' to such philosophies as the philosophy of gender. The Church is guided by the fact that the reciprocity between man and woman is the expression of the beauty of the nature willed by the Creator."
These affirmations were the conclusion of a careful reflection on human dignity given in the Pope's address, and an illustration of the relationship between faith and charity.
"The Christian, especially those who work in charitable organizations, must let himself be oriented by principles of faith through which we adopt 'God's perspective,'" Benedict said.
When man has not followed God's plan throughout history, the Pope noted, he has become a "victim of cultural temptations that ended up making him a slave."
In this regard, the Holy Father pointed to ideologies of recent centuries that praised the "cult of the nation, the race, of the social class," as well as "unbridled capitalism with its cult of profit, which has led to crisis, inequality and misery."
He spoke of the "shadows in our time," referring "above all to a tragic anthropological reduction that re-proposes ancient material hedonism, to which is added a 'technological prometheism.'"
"From the marriage of a materialistic vision of man and great technological development there emerges an anthropology that is at bottom atheistic," the Holy Father explained. "It presupposes that man is reduced to autonomous functions, the mind to the brain, human history to a destiny of self-realization. All of this prescinds from God, from the properly spiritual dimension and from a horizon beyond this world."
In such a perspective, the Pontiff warned, anything that is technologically possible becomes morally legitimate, "every experiment is thus acceptable, every political demographic acceptable, every form of manipulation justified."
"Man wants to be 'ab-solutus,' absolved of every bond and of every natural constitution," the Pope continued. "He pretends to be independent and thinks that his happiness lies solely in the affirmation of self. [...] This is a radical negation of man's creatureliness and filial condition, which leads to a tragic solitude."
Christians and all people of good will must be warned about these "deviations," he added. "This is a harmful deviation for man even if it is waved with good intentions as a banner of presumed progress, or of presumed rights, or of a presumed humanism."
Faced with these "anthropological reductions," Christians must withhold support from those who promote that which runs contrary to a Christian anthropology, he stated. On the other hand, the faithful must affirm the Christian vision of man, that great "yes" to his dignity and high calling.
"In the face of these challenges of our times, we know that the answer is the encounter with Christ," the Pontiff concluded. "In him man can fully realize his personal good and the common good."
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