By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, January 30, 2006 ( – In an address to the leaders of the Christian Associations of Italian Workers Friday, Pope Benedict XVI warned, “As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.” Benedict was in fact making his own the statement first uttered by his predecessor John Paul II, who made the statement in 2000. (see coverage: ) John Paul originally wrote the statement in 1991 in the encyclical Centesimus Annus.

Benedict XVI highlighted how, in our time, science and technology “present huge possibilities for improving everyone’s lives,” but warned that “the misguided use of such power can provoke grave and irreparable threats to the future of life itself.”

“The defense of life – from conception to natural end – wherever it is threatened, offended or trampled underfoot, is the primary duty of an authentic ethic of responsibility, and this may be coherently extended to all other forms of poverty, injustice and exclusion,” he said.

In addition to laws offending life, the Church sees the potential for totalitarianism wherever natural law is rejected, such as in the case of homosexual unions.Â

In a brief submitted to Parliament last year the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops presented their grave concerns over the proposal to legalize homosexual ‘marriage’. When a society issues arbitrary laws that reject the primacy of natural law, the result is not only the risk of social chaos and disorder but, as the 20th century witnessed, a potential basis for state totalitarianism,” said the brief.

Well known Canadian Catholic author Michael O’Brien warned last year in a commentary exclusive to that Canada was indeed rapidly heading toward a totalitarian state.Â

In the essay, “Same-Sex ‘Marriage,’ ‘Hate Crimes,’ and the New Totalitarianism,” O’Brien noted that hundreds of new laws are proliferating a climate of legalism that is “directed not at criminals but at the moral structure of private life.” The new laws, far from protecting citizens against unjust discrimination, are to be “wielded as a cudgel to intimidate those who simply disagree with (the ideology) and to punish those who are outspoken about it.”

O’Brien writes, “In just over one generation we have been shifted from a society in which homosexual acts were a crime under the then existing law, to a society in which homosexual acts have become a government-protected and fostered activity, while voicing criticism of it ‘publicly’ has become the crime. Call it by any name you like, but this is Thought Crime.” (see O’Brien’s full essay here: )

See Pope Benedict’s full address (in Italian) here: