Since assuming the papacy, Benedict has called for a counter-witness to the bloody persecution of Christians by Islamic authoritarian regimes in Africa and the Middle East, to the church-outlawing police states of China and North Korea, and to the soul-decaying secularism of Western Europe and, increasingly, the United States of America.
Benedict has countered the sexual revolution with an Augustinian view of the meaning of human personhood. A human person, he has reminded the world, is not a machine. We are not merely collections of nerve endings that spark with sensation when rubbed together. Instead a human person is directed toward a one-flesh union, which is personal and spiritual. Destroying the ecology of marriage and family isn’t simply about tearing down old “moralities,” he has reminded us, but about a revolt against the web of nature in which human beings thrive.
And Benedict has stood against the nihilism that defines human worth in terms of power and usefulness. He has constantly spoken for those whose lives are seen as a burden to society: the baby with Down syndrome, the woman with advanced Alzheimer’s, the child starving in the desert, the prisoner being tortured.
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