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Posted June 19, 2007

Spokesman: Pope Sees Heart of Culture's Problems

Defends Pontiff's Estimation of "Educational Emergency"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2007 - Benedict XVI thinks that the present educational emergency arises from an increasing difficulty in transmitting the basic values of life, says the director of the Vatican press office.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi analyzed in an Octava Dies editorial the address the Pope delivered to the ecclesiastical conference of the Diocese of Rome.

The Holy Father convoked the congress at the Basilica of St. John Lateran last Monday.

Father Lombardi explained: "In a straightforward manner, the Pope speaks of an 'educational emergency' that is, the increasing difficulty in transmitting the basic values of existence and upright behavior, and he attributes the cause of this to 'a society and a culture that frequently make relativism their creed.'

"The situation is so grave that the Pope sees in our civilization a tendency that is somehow suicidal and speaks of a 'strange self-hatred' that is characteristic of today.

"These are strong words that go against current trends and have obviously provoked criticism against the Pope who has been accused of being rigid and reactionary."

Rich experience

"But every attentive and loyal spirit cannot help but recognize Benedict XVI's courage in presenting, in a clear and direct manner, the heart of the problems of our day, reminding everyone, not only Catholics, of our responsibility for future generations," Father Lombardi continued.

The Vatican spokesman added: "It is not a negative message. It is not a futile criticism since the Church is deeply committed to building foundations and presenting solid initiatives for an integral education, based on a living relationship with Jesus, and offering to society as a whole its rich educational experience.

"It is necessary for everyone to open their eyes to the greatest weaknesses in our culture and to the risks they imply for the future."