VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Benedict XVI said the family in Western society is undergoing a “crisis that threatens it to its foundations,” owing to false ideas of human nature that equate freedom with selfishness and present God-given sexual identities as a matter of individual choice to the profound detriment of humanity dignity.
But the pope said that the Catholic Church, in its dialogue with states, secular society and other religions, can help restore a proper understanding of human nature as a basis for justice and peace.
The pope made his remarks to officials of the Roman Curia, the Catholic Church’s central administrative offices at the Vatican.
“The question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself – about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human,” Pope Benedict said.
“Only in self-giving does man find himself,” the pope said, “only by letting himself be changed through suffering does he discover the breadth of his humanity.”
As a consequence of an “increasingly widespread” refusal to make lifelong commitments to the family, the pope said, “man remains closed in on himself.”