Catholic World News News Feature
Fight relativism, Pope urges French Academy February 12, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the dangers of subjectivism during a February 10 meeting with members of the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France.
The Holy Father, who is himself one of the 10 foreign associate members of the Academy, received a medal denoting his membership from the secretary of the Academy, Michel Albert.
In his short talk, the Pontiff said that the Academy should counteract subjectivism and “encourage us to form consciences in those fundamental values that cannot be disdained without endangering human beings and society itself."
"We must have the courage to remind our contemporaries what human beings and humanity are," the Pope said. As an example of that approach he mentioned the late Andrei Sakharov, the Russian scientist and human-rights activist. "If under the Communist regime his exterior freedom was fettered, his interior freedom, which no one could take away from him, authorized him to speak out firmly to defend his compatriots in the name of the common good,” the Pope said.
Today, the Pontiff continued, that sort of courageous witness is required to challenge contemporary forms of through such as “relativism, the search for power and profit at all costs, drugs, disordered personal relationships, confusion over marriage, and the failure to recognize human beings at every stage of their existence from conception to natural death.”
The Pope’s choice of Sakharov as a model for the Academy’s work was particularly significant because the Russian nuclear physicist was also a foreign associate member of the group. In fact, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was named to the Academy to fill the spot created by Sakharov’s death in 1989.