Sim Sim Wissgott, AFP, September 8, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI blasted Europeans for being selfish and not having enough children, in a sermon on Saturday at the 850-year-old pilgrimage site of Mariazell in Austria.
“Europe has become child-poor. We want everything for ourselves and place little trust in the future,” the pope told a crowd of faithful from his canopied area at an open-air, afternoon mass that took place under heavy rain.
But Benedict held out hope, saying: “The earth will be deprived of a future only when the forces of the human heart and of reason illuminated by the heart are extinguished . . . Where God is, there is the future.”
The pontiff had slammed abortion upon arriving in Austria Friday as the “very opposite” of human rights.
“The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself,” he told members of the government and the diplomatic corps at the Hofburg, the seat of the Austrian presidency in Vienna.
Austrian Defence Minister Norbert Darabos said in a state televisin interview however Saturday that the Austrian government would not call for a change in the country’s law which allows abortions.