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Human Flourishing and the Ten Commandments

  • POPE BENEDICT XVI

The Ten Commandments constitutes a beacon and a norm of life in justice and love, a "great ethical code" for all humanity.


moses1 The Decalogue, the'Ten Words" or Ten Commandments, which comes from the Torah of Moses, is a shining light for ethical principles, hope, and dialogue, a guiding star of faith and morals for the people of God, and it also enlightens and guides the path of Christians.

It constitutes a beacon and a norm of life in justice and love, a "great ethical code" for all humanity.  The Ten Commandments shed light on good and evil, on truth and falsehood, on justice and injustice, and they match the criteria of every human person's right conscience....

The Ten Commandments require that we recognize the one Lord, against the temptation to construct other idols, to make golden calves.  In our world there are many who do not know God or who consider him superfluous, without relevance for their lives; hence, other new gods have been fabricated to whom man bows down.  Reawakening in our society openness to the transcendent dimension, witnessing to the one God, is a precious service....

The Ten Commandments call us to respect life and to protect it against every injustice and abuse, recognizing the worth of each human person, created in the image and likeness of God.  How often, in every part of the world, near and far, the dignity, the freedom, and the rights of human beings are trampled upon!  Bearing witness together to the supreme value of life, against all selfishness, is an important contribution to a new world where justice and peace reign, a world marked by that "shalom" which the lawgivers, the prophets, and the sages of Israel longed to see.

The Ten Commandments call us to preserve and to promote the sanctity of the family, in which the personal and reciprocal, faithful and definitive "Yes" of man and woman makes room for the future, for the authentic humanity of each, and makes them open, at the same time, to the gift of new life.  To witness that the family continues to be the essential cell of society and the basic environment in which human virtues are learned and practiced is a precious service offered in the construction of a world with a more human face.

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Acknowledgement

benedict Pope Benedict XVI. "Human Flourishing and the Ten Commandments." from an address at the Synagogue of Rome (January 17, 2010).

This excerpt appeared in the June issue of Magnificat.

Reprinted with permission of Libreria Editrice Vaticana.  

The Author

Benedict73smBenedict72Pope Benedict XVI is the author of Jesus of Nazareth, Vol II, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol I, Caritas in Veritate: Charity in Truth, Saved in Hope: Spe Salvi, God Is Love: Deus Caritas Est,The End of Time?: The Provocation of Talking about God, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Salt of the Earth: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church at the End of the Millennium, God and the World: Believing and Living in Our Time, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, The Spirit of the Liturgy, The Ratzinger Report: An Exclusive Interview on the State of the Church, Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Introduction to Christianity, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, Behold the Pierced One, and God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life.

Copyright © 2010 Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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