September 22, 2011. (Romereports.com)
During his speech before Germany's parliament, the pope challenged all politicians to recognize right from wrong. During his speech before Germany's parliament, the pope challenged all politicians to recognize right from wrong.
Upon arrival, he was greeted with a long applause by his fellow German countrymen. Even though roughly 100 members of parliament boycotted his speech, their absence went mostly unnoticed, since some of their seats were occupied by former members of parliament.
In his speech, the pope talked, among other things, about the Nazi's rise to power and the importance of recognizing human rights. He went on to reflect on how a “legislator” or lawmaker can distinguish between good and evil.
“For most of the matters that need to be regulated by law, the support of the majority can be sufficient criterion. Yet it's evident that for the fundamental issues of law, in which the dignity of man and of humanity is at stake, the majority principle is not enough.”
Germany's past was also part of his speech. He described the anti-Nazi resistance fighters as heroes, because they knew how to distinguish right from wrong. They knew it was just to fight against something that was lawful, yet unfair.
He also highlighted that Christianity has never imposed a so called body of law to the State or to society. But rather, it has appealed to nature and reason as true sources of law.
Along those same lines, the pope said that when one's judgment is based only on functionality, justice itself becomes endangered. He called for “human ecology,” which focuses on having respect for human nature.
“There is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely based on self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he listens to his nature, respects it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself.”
The pope added that having faith in a God who created humankind and nature and also blessed people with dignity, has allowed the West to recognize the equality of all men.
“The conviction that there is a Creator, a God is what gave rise to the idea of human rights. The idea of the equality of all people before the law, the recognition of the inviolability of human dignity in every single person and the awareness of people’s responsibility for their actions. Our cultural memory is shaped by these rational insights.”
In closing, he asked all European politicians to protect the standards of justice that are now part of Western tradition.
But there was also room for laughter. The president of Germany's parliament, accidentally stepped on the pope's cassock. It drew some smiles, including one from Chancellor Angela Merkel.