Saturday, March 24, 2012

Overcoming Schizophrenia Between Individual and Public Morality

Remarks of Pope Benedict XVI
Press Conference en route to Mexico
23 March 2012
The Church must always ask herself whether she is doing enough for social justice on this great continent. It is a question of conscience that we must always ask ourselves - what should the Church do, what can she not do, what should she not do?

The Church is not a political power, it is not a party - it is a moral entity, a moral power. In fact, politics should fundamentally be a moral reality. The Church must act along that fundamental track. So I will repeat what I said earlier: the first thought of the Church is to educate consciences and thus create the necessary responsibility. It must educate consciences in individual ethics as well as public ethics.

In this perhaps, there may well be a lack. One sees in Latin America and elsewhere, among not a few Catholics, a certain schizophrenia between individual and public morality... In the private sphere, they are believers, but in their public life, they follow other paths that do not correspond to the great evangelical values that are necessary for the foundation of a just society.

So the Church must educate to overcome this schizophrenia, educate not only towards an individual morality but towards a public morality
, and we must seek to do this with the Social Doctrine of the Church. This public morality must be reasonable, shared and able to be shared even by non-believers, a morality of reason.

Of course, we, in the light of faith, can see many things better with reason. But faith also serves to liberate us from false interests. With the social doctrine, we can create substantial models that will help overcome these social divisions. It is for this that we must work hard. The important thing is a common rationality towards which the Church offers a fundamental contribution, and which must always help in educating consciences for individual responsibility as well as for public life.
Translation courtesy of Benedetto XVI Forum

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