Pope Francis has praised Pope Emeritus Benedict as a great defender of the family.
The denial of love and dependance on God as the creator is in danger of leading the human race to self-destruct, Pope Francis warns in a preface to a new collection of writings by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Joseph Ratzinger’s "Liberating freedom. Faith and politics in the third millennium" published by Cantagalli, will be launched at the Italian Senate in Rome this coming Friday evening.
In his preface, Pope Francis highlights Benedict's reflections on the temptation to refuse any dependence on love that is not a person's love for their ego, for "the I and its desires".
He refers to the danger of the "colonisation" of consciences by an ideology that denies the basic certainty that humankind exists as male and female, to whom the task of the transmission of life is assigned.
"These apparent human 'rights' that are all oriented towards the self-destruction of humankind – Joseph Ratzinger shows us with strength and effectiveness æ have a single common denominator that consists in a single, great denial: the denial of dependence on love, the denial that man and women are creature of God, lovingly made by Him in His image and to which they yearn as the deer longs for fountains of water."
He continues: "When we deny this dependence between creature and creator, this relationship of love, we renounce the true greatness of human being, the bulwark of their freedom and dignity. Thus the defence of human being against the ideological reductions of power passes today once again by fixing man and woman's obedience to God as the limit of their obedience to the State," Pope Francis writes.
"To take up this challenge, in the real change of epoch in which we live today, is to defend the family."
Pope Francis acknowledges the significance to Benedict of the relationship between faith and politics, which he says has run through "his entire intellectual and human journey". Ratzinger's direct experience of Nazi totalitarianism has led him since his early academic years to reflect on the limits of obedience to the State in favour of the freedom of obedience to God, Francis writes.
He notes also that St John Paul II was known as the "Pope of the family" and had emphasised that "the future of humanity passes through the family".
Pope Francis says Ratzinger's latest volume of writings "can help all of us not only to understand our present and find a solid orientation for the future, but also be a real source of inspiration for political action that, by placing the family, solidarity and equity at the centre of its attention and planning, truly looks to the future with foresight."
Pic: Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leaves his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in this Feb. 27, 2013, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)