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Friday, September 12, 2008

Cardinal: Defending Life Among Church Priorities

FATIMA, Portugal, SEPT. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The primary objectives of the Church's pastoral action include defending life and religious liberty, and the quest for peace and human rights, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Cardinal Renato Martino affirmed this today at the congress titled "Social Action Today: Memory and Project," under way in Fatima. The event is being sponsored by the Portuguese episcopate.

The cardinal emphasized the need for the Church to maintain a clear and firm stance when "human dignity and fundamental moral truths" are at stake.

He said these cases are "abortion, euthanasia, violence -- especially against children -- torture, man's merciless abuse of man," and situations where "the integrity of the family, religious liberty and educational liberty" are compromised.

"In cases where these principles are at stake, Christian communities can and must pronounce a sentence of condemnation, with prudence when it comes to judging causes and situations that at times are complex and avoiding easy simplifications," said Cardinal Martino.


The president of the justice and peace dicastery highlighted in particular the defense of life, "which should be at the origin of all social projects, inspired by the Christian faith, and of all interventions of the Church in society."

He also stressed the importance of religious liberty, which he described as "fundamental" to "root all other rights on an absolute and transcendent base," both against "intransigent secularism" as well as "all types of religious fundamentalism."

Moreover, Cardinal Martino mentioned new topics in social pastoral action to be discussed in the near future, such as "the progress and regression of democracies" and the "transnational power of finance."

He also mentioned other topics such as "novelties in the world of work, the new forms of injustice and poverty, the new fundamentalisms and the tragedy of international terrorism."

"The fundamental criterion to address them," he explained, "is the ever closer relation between natural and human ecology, as respect of the latter will also bear fruits of material development and correct management of material resources and the environment."

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