Friday, August 19, 2011


Madrid (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI lamented Friday what he called modern society’s “amnesia” about God as he traveled to a famed Spanish monastery on the second day of his four-day visit for the church’s world youth festival.  Several hundred young nuns cheered, waved flags and performed the “wave” at El Escorial monastery as they waited for Benedict inside a courtyard of the 16th-century complex, a UNESCO world heritage site.  Benedict told them their decisions to dedicate their lives to their faith was a potent message in today’s increasingly secular world.  “This is all the more important today when we see a certain eclipse of God taking place, a kind of amnesia which albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity,” he said.

As he arrived Thursday, Benedict offered words of encouragement to young people facing precarious futures because of the economic crisis, calling for policy makers to take ethical considerations that look out for the common good into account when formulating economic policy.  Benedict’s main priority as pope has been to try to reawaken Christianity in places like Spain, a once staunchly Catholic country that has drifted far from its pious roots.  He has traveled here three times as pope, an indication that he views it as the key battleground as he tries to remind Europe of its Christian heritage and the place he believes God should still have in everyday life.  Later Friday, he will have lunch with a dozen young volunteers of World Youth Day.

Pope Benedict XVI has said modern society is suffering “amnesia” about God on the second day of his four-day visit to Madrid for World Youth Day events.  Benedict denounced the profit-at-all-cost mentality that he says is behind Europe’s current economic crisis and said morals and ethics must play a greater role in formulating economic policy in the future.  Addressing the nuns, Benedict said “In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”  Unless one practices celibacy, advancement in spiritual life is very difficult.

Celibacy is such an important part of Vedic education that the Sanskrit word for student is brahmacari (“celibate”).  The pressure to give up celibacy begins, of course, in adolescence, the most dangerous age and often the turning point of one’s life.  Young adults need guidance before and during the teenage years to recognize and follow the right path.  Celibacy trains adolescents for self-restraint, whether they stay single or get married.  It develops their inner strength, self-control, and good character.  It also fosters good health and a fine memory.  Without celibacy we can never realize that we are spirit soul, distinct from the body.  Sex reinforces the illusion that we are these bodies.  Sexual attraction and its extensions in family and society are the main knots that bind us to material identification. Vedic education aims to free the child from these knots so the adolescent can act on the spiritual plane.

Śrīmati Urmila devi dasi :
“Teens and Celibacy”

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