Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Urbi et Orbi -- December 25, 2006.

I am able to view this blog again -- for a while anyway. Please see the "General" and "Digs" sections at my MSN group, which I cannot access as of December 30, 2006 at 6:53 P.M. http://www.Critique@groups.msn.com Hackers insert typos and delete letters or words in these posts regularly.

"Pope Asks for a Spiritual 'Wake-Up,' " http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4558956.stm
"Pope Says Mankind, Despite Its Advances, Still Needs God," The New York Times, December 26, 2006, at p. A5.

Visit my group: http://www.Critique@groups.msn.com, which is regularly subjected to cyberterrorism.



"VATICAN CITY, Dec. 25 (Reuters) -- Mankind which has reached other planets and decoded the genetic instructions for life, should not presume that it can live without God, Pope Benedict XVI said in his Christmas address on Monday."

"In an age of unbridled consumerism," the Pope said, "it was shameful that many people remained deaf to the 'heart-rending cry' of those dying of hunger, thirst, disease, poverty, war and terrorism."

"Is a savior still needed by a humanity that has reached the moon and Mars and is prepared to conquer the universe, for a humanity that knows no limits in its pursuit of nature's secrets and that has succeeded even in deciphering the marvelous codes of the human genome?"

"[The Pope] said that while twenty-first century man appeared to be a master of his own destiny, 'perhaps he needs a savior all the more' because much of humanity was [and is] suffering."

"Some people remain enslaved, exploited and stripped of their dignity; others are victims of racial and religious hatred, hampered by intolerance and discrimination, and by political interference and physical or moral coercion with regard to the free profession of their faith ..."

Finally:

"Others see their own bodies and those of their dear ones, particularly their children maimed by weaponry, by terrorism and by all sorts of violence, at a time when everyone invokes and acclaims progress, solidarity and peace for all."

BBC News Service quoted words uttered by the Pope that seem timely and relevant to many discussions in this blog:

"The men and women in our technical age risk becoming victims of their own intellectual and technical achievements, ending up in spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart."

Addressing crowds in Bethlehem, specifically, the Pope said the region was "thirsting for peace." He warned of the dangers of deifying science and of failing to recognize the ethical constraints on so-called "scientific" activity.

"God created you not to fear or to kill each other but to love each other, to build and to cooperate together ..."

Human spiritual needs cannot be satisfied by science. The achievements of scientists can improve the material conditions of human lives and alleviate human suffering -- if they are used properly -- but science can also lead to new means of destruction and horrifying weapons.

Nothing -- certainly not science's much vaunted "neutrality" -- can absolve of human beings of the responsibility to choose how they will use their new powers made possible by science. If human nature and history are guides to the future, I fear that science and its wonders will be used just as often to destroy and injure persons as to benefit and improve human life.

For this reason, among others, recognition of human spiritual and ethical realities is essential. No new technology or science will alter the importance and inescapability of the questions posed in the Scriptures that are so apt for this season of endings and renewals:

"Where are you? Where are you going? What is the meaning of your life?"

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