Vatican has 'duty' to defend society: Pope
Pope Benedict XVI said Monday it was the Vatican's "duty" to defend "basic human values" by protesting pro-abortion and euthanasia laws at a meeting with Germany's new ambassador to the Holy See.
In his remarks to Reinhard Schweppe, the Pope reiterated the values enshrined in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the German constitution, following the Holocaust.
"Basic human values and human dignity are once again a subject of debate," said the Pope, in which the Church saw a duty "which goes beyond its own faith, to defend these truths and values where human dignity is at stake across the whole of society."
"It is not up to us to decide whether an individual is already a man, or still a man," he said, referring to abortion and euthanasia laws.
"It is not for us to manipulate man and in some way to want to shape him."
If society "was intent on selecting people it was supposed to protect, excluding people from humanity, it would be behaving in a completely immoral way," he added.
Benedict XVI also called on parliaments around the world to put an end to prostitution and curb the spread of pornography and pledged the Vatican's support to Germany's Catholic Church to battle the "abuses".
The Pope was in his native Germany in September to defend the Church's right to voice its views on a range of issues including homosexuality and euthanasia before the German parliament, the Bundestag.
His visit met with a large measure of apathy in an increasingly secular society where large numbers of Germans are leaving both the Catholic and Lutheran Churches, and even protests in Berlin against recent paedophile priest scandals.
© 2011 AFP