Pope Continues Push Against 'Moral Relativism' for 2012 Peace Day

In his message for World Peace Day 2012, Pope Benedict XVI re-asserted his fight against moral relativism, which he has previously blamed for Britain’s summer riots.

In his new message for the upcoming World Peace Day, to be marked Jan. 1, Pope Benedict focused his attention on the youth, urging them to observe their morals and work for the common good of society.

“Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of educating is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires,” Pope Benedict said in his message Thursday, as reported by Vatican Radio.

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“And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own self,” the Pope added.

The pope's message is titled "Educating Young People in Justice and Peace."

Pope Benedict condemned Great Britain’s summer riots back in September, when he told Britain’s Ambassador to the Vatican, Nigel Baker, that moral relativism was the reason for the summer riots.

“When policies do not presume or promote objective values, the resulting moral relativism, instead of leading to a society that is free, fair, just and compassionate, tends instead to produce frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others,” the pope said.

In mid-December, Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, agreed with the pope in his address at Oxford, honoring the 400-year anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible.

“Whether you look at the riots last summer, the financial crash and the expenses scandal, or the ongoing terrorist threat from Islamist extremists around the world, one thing is clear: moral neutrality or passive tolerance just isn't going to cut it anymore,” Cameron told those in attendance at Christ Church in Oxford.

The pope completed his World Peace Day message by urging the world’s youth to “be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love,” saying that the way to achieve true happiness was through a strong moral connection with God.

“Authentic freedom can never be attained independently of God,” Benedict said.

The pope’s World Peace Day message, available on the Vatican's website, comes after one of Britain’s prime ministerial files was released by the National Archives. The file documents controversy regarding the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1982.

Then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher vetoed a proposal that Pope John Paul II speak to both houses of Parliament.

A file from then-cabinet secretary and PM adviser Sir Robert Armstrong suggested that senior advisers and religious heads would also discourage the visit.

“My private information is that both the cardinal archbishop of Westminster and the duke of Norfolk do not favour the idea,” the file reads.

Thatcher said she discouraged the pope’s visit for fear that then-member of Parliament and staunch anti-Catholic, Ian Paisley may “make a nuisance of himself.”

The relationship between Britain and the papacy has changed since Pope John Paul II’s 1982 visit. Pope Benedict XVI visited Britain in September 2010, where tens of thousands of supporters gathered to greet him.

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