Pope Benedict XVI's interview
with broadcasters Bayerische Rundfunk, Deutsche Welle, ZDF and Vatican Radio
was held at his summer residence at Castelgandolfo on Aug. 5, 2006. The
interview was conducted in German and translated and authorized by the Vatican.
Following is a portion of the interview.
Gemmingen: The issue of
the family. A month ago you were in Valencia for the World Meeting of Families.
Anyone who was listening carefully, as we tried to do at Radio Vatican, noticed
how you never mentioned the words "homosexual marriage," you never spoke about
abortion, or about contraception. Careful observers thought that was very
interesting. Clearly your idea is to go around the world preaching the faith
rather than as an "apostle of morality." What are your comments?
Obviously, yes. Actually I should
say I had only two opportunities to speak for 20 minutes. And when you have so
little time you can't say everything you want to say about "no." Firstly you
have to know what we really want, right? Christianity, Catholicism, isn't a
collection of prohibitions: it's a positive option. It's very important that we
look at it again because this idea has almost completely disappeared today.
We've heard so much about what is not allowed that now it's time to say: we have
a positive idea to offer, that man and woman are made for each other, that the
scale of sexuality, eros, agape, indicates the level of love and it's in this
way that marriage develops, first of all, as a joyful and blessing-filled
encounter between a man and a woman, and then the family, that guarantees
continuity among generations and through which generations are reconciled to
each other and even cultures can meet. So, firstly it's important to stress what
we want. Secondly, we can also see why we don't want something. I believe we
need to see and reflect on the fact that it's not a Catholic invention that man
and woman are made for each other, so that humanity can go on living: all
cultures know this. As far as abortion is concerned, it's part of the fifth, not
the sixth, commandment: "Thou shalt not kill!" We have to presume this is
obvious and always stress that the human person begins in the mother's womb and
remains a human person until his or her last breath. The human person must
always be respected as a human person. But all this is clearer if you say it
first in a positive way.
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