The Pope’s “blessed and sovereign” pontiff has declared that religion should not be restricted or censored, and that its “bountifulness” should not suffer from the influence of the “stranglehold of religion.”
Speaking to reporters in his papal residence, Benedict said the pope’s encyclical, Amoris Laetitia, “has the power to heal wounds, and to strengthen the bonds of faith and love between believers and non-believers, that bind us all.”
“This is the way in which the Gospel of the Church should be lived,” he said, according to a translation by the Vatican’s Press Office.
“It is the Gospel that should be shared, celebrated and shared widely.”
In a message for the Church on Sunday, the Pope also urged people to love others, and “to be humble, open, and generous.”
He added that, “this is the only true and living religion, which is the one that should govern us.”
The Pope’s encycology came after the Vatican released a video clip of him asking people to “love your neighbor as yourself,” which was posted on YouTube and was seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The video was widely criticized by some for being overly religious and was met with a flood of criticism by others.
Benedict, the son of a Catholic father and a Roman Catholic mother, was appointed by Pope Francis in 2013, making him the first pontiff to be elected by a non-Catholic church.
His papacy has been marked by controversial statements and decisions.
In June, he was criticised for suggesting that the Catholic Church had “a responsibility” to address climate change, and for calling on the Vatican to reconsider its stance on homosexuality.
His encyclicals, and the way he approaches them, has been called into question by some members of the Catholic hierarchy, including Pope Francis, who has called Benedict’s enctycology “a dangerous heresy.”
Benediction, the first Latin American pope to hold the papacy, has also been a critic of global capitalism, and said the rich should pay their fair share in taxes, according in a 2013 interview with the Financial Times.
The pontiff is the first head of state to visit the US, which has been a staunch critic of Pope Francis.