Pope Francis says Benedict rightly warned against not respecting human life

Pope Francis greets retired Pope Benedict XVI at the retired pope's residence during a visit with new cardinals after a consistory at the Vatican Nov. 28, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has praised his predecessor’s courage in denouncing the danger of people no longer respecting or understanding the sacredness of human life.

Pope Francis highlighted retired Pope Benedict XVI’s insistence that Europe’s renewal comes through its respect for every human life.

The Pope’s remarks were part of an introduction he wrote for a new book, “The True Europe. Identity and Mission”, which compiles selected texts by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI on the theme of Europe. The book, currently in Italian, is one of a series of “selected texts” being published by Cantagalli press, and coincides with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the European Union.

Vatican News republished a copy of the introduction on September 12.

“Beyond the many words and grandiose proclamations, today, the idea of respect for every human life is increasingly lost in Europe, starting with the loss of awareness of its sacredness, that is, precisely from the obfuscation of the awareness that we are creatures of God,” Pope Francis wrote.

“Benedict XVI has not been afraid over the years of denouncing with great courage and far-sightedness the many manifestations of this dramatic renunciation of the idea of creation” and its consequences, he wrote.

And yet, the retired pope also showed his hope and faith in knowing humanity will always be restless until they find God and discover his truth, Pope Francis wrote. He added that the volume clearly explains the current reality, but without leaving the reader feeling pessimistic or sad.

On the contrary, Pope Francis said Pope Benedict explains the reasons for his hope, saying the desire and search for God is profoundly inscribed in each human soul and cannot disappear.

“Certainly, we can forget God for a time, lay him aside and concern ourselves with other things, but God never disappears,” Pope Benedict said in a 2012 interview, published in the book. “St Augustine’s words are true: We men are restless until we have found God. This restlessness also exists today and is an expression of the hope that man may, ever and anew, even today, start to journey toward this God.”

Pope Francis wrote this was the secret for how to have hope during these difficult times, and “Pope Benedict XVI shows us the path to take for Europe’s renewal”.

Photo: Pope Francis greets retired Pope Benedict XVI at the retired pope’s residence during a visit with new cardinals after a consistory at the Vatican on November 28, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)


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Catholic News Service

Reader Interactions


  1. Bruce Jones says

    With the exception of the Faroe Islands (Denmark)
    which have a fertility rate of 2.4, NOT ONE
    European country has a birth-rate above 2,
    Which means terminal cancer for EVERY
    Country. If Europe does not take this very
    seriously, it is taking the road to eventual
    This is the reality.
    Afghanistan Taliban and all have a birth-rate
    of 4.3 [figures 2019]
    It is therefore of prime importance that every
    Catholic household think of enlarging their
    family size, and for every Catholic community
    To encourage family building.
    A birth-rate of 1.1 for instance means in four
    Generations, the parenting population will be
    less than 10% of its former status, and effectively
    the end of that Catholic culture.
    Catholics in any European country need encourage-
    ment, and Hungarians have a taxation scheme which
    favours those with large families. Catholic families
    which are large are thus not discouraged and are
    supported by the STATE. The Catholic CHURCH every-
    where should take note, as generally large families
    have to fend for themselves, instead of Catholic
    community giving of their time, and other
    Thank you Pope Benedict XVI, for your encouragement,
    and for your prayers.

  2. Dr.Cajetan Coelho says

    “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee”- Long live the memory of contributions of – Augustine of Hippo.


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