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  • » 05/11/2007, 00.00


    Teach the faith and Christian morality in this age of “of worrying disorientation,” says Pope

    Benedict XVI tells Brazil’s 400 bishops what are the priorities of their ministry. Starting with the defence of marriage and family which are under attack by some laws, the Church is called to make a missionary effort, promote pastoral initiatives in favour of the poor and the disinherited and social initiatives respectful of the Church’s social doctrine.

    São Paulo (AsiaNews) – Evangelising, teaching the faith and Christian morality, seeking out Catholics who have fallen away from the Church, promoting pastoral initiatives in favour of the poor and the disinherited and social initiatives respectful of the Church’s social doctrine, defending marriage and the family are tasks that bishops must address in this age of “of worrying disorientation” that social life is going through. Pope Benedict XVI made these points in a long reflection he addressed tonight to Brazil’s more than 400 bishops with whom he celebrated vespers at the “Catedral da Sé”, the metropolitan church of the city of São Paulo dedicated to Our Lady of the Annunciation. This was also the last event in the Pope’s third day in Brazil, also the last in São Paulo before he leaves tonight for Aparecida.

    In his address, the Pope sketched out what bishops must do at a time when the “sanctity of marriage and the family are attacked with impunity, as concessions are made to forms of pressure which have a harmful effect on legislative processes; crimes against life are justified in the name of individual freedom and rights; attacks are made on the dignity of the human person; the plague of divorce and extra-marital unions is increasingly widespread” and within the Church herself, people start to question the value of the priestly commitment or give  preference to partisan points of view.

    It is a task that begins “the missionary outreach which Latin America needs to undertake, beginning here—on Brazilian soil.” “The mission entrusted to us as teachers of the faith,” the Pope said, “consists in recalling, in the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, that our Saviour “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). This, and nothing else, is the purpose of the Church: the salvation of individual souls. For this reason the Father sent his Son, and in the Lord’s own words transmitted to us in the Gospel of Saint John, ‘as the Father has sent me, even so I send you’ (Jn 20:21). Hence, the mandate to preach the Gospel”.

    If announcing the good news is the first task, concern for the people of God comes next, including for those who have fallen away from the Church as a result of the aggressiveness of Protestant sects, and naturally comes also that for priests and vocations.

    A leap forward in the quality of people’s Christian lives is needed, so that they can bear witness to their faith in a clear and transparent way. This faith, as it is celebrated and shared in the liturgy and in works of charity, nourishes and reinvigorates the community of the Lord’s disciples while building them up as the missionary and prophetic Church.

    This means paying special attention to the preparation of the faithful. “Those who are most vulnerable to the aggressive proselytizing of sects—a just cause for concern—and those who are incapable of resisting the onslaught of agnosticism, relativism and secularization are generally the baptized who remain insufficiently evangelized; they are easily influenced because their faith is weak, confused, easily shaken and naive, despite their innate religiosity.” In this case, “no effort should be spared in seeking out those Catholics who have fallen away and those who know little or nothing of Jesus Christ”.

    For Benedict XVI, pastoral initiatives are part and parcel of the “work of evangelisation,” a task which the community takes on, “especially by sending missionaries, lay or religious, to homes on the outskirts of the cities and in the interior, to enter into dialogue with everyone in a spirit of understanding, sensitivity and charity.

    It means expressing one’s solidarity and giving one’s help to those who are poor, “providing for their most urgent needs, defending their rights and working together with them to build a society founded on justice and peace.

    Finally, special attention should be paid to the priesthood. “When,” Benedict said, “within the Church herself, people start to question the value of the priestly commitment as a total entrustment to God through apostolic celibacy and as a total openness to the service of souls, and preference is given to ideological, political and even party issues, the structure of total consecration to God begins to lose its deepest meaning.”

    Hence, “I appeal to your priestly zeal and your sense of vocational discernment,” the Pope told the bishops, “especially so that you will know how to bring to completion the spiritual, psychological and affective, intellectual and pastoral formation needed to prepare young people for mature, generous service to the Church. Good and assiduous spiritual direction is indispensable for fostering human growth and eliminating the risk of going astray in the area of sexuality. Always keep in mind that priestly celibacy ‘is a gift which the Church has received and desires to retain, convinced that it is a good for the Church itself and for the world’ (Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests, 57).”

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    See also

    13/05/2007 BRAZIL – VATICAN
    Pope: Church has “irresistible missionary power”, no proselytism
    Celebrating Mass to mark the opening of the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops' Conferences, Benedict XVI restated the role played by faith in the continent. Looking to the heavenly Jerusalem does not mean distancing oneself from the realities in the world. The family is at the heart of the mission of the Church.

    12/05/2007 BRAZIL – VATICAN
    Pope tells priests to always have a missionary fervour in their hearts
    As he recites the Rosary with priests, men and women religious, seminarians and deacons, Benedict XVI asserts that the witness of a well lived priestly life brings nobility to the Church, calls for admiration among the faithful, is a source of blessing for the community, is the best way to promote vocations, and is the most authentic way to invite other young people to respond affirmatively to the Lord’s calling. He affectionately greets all the families around the world.

    02/08/2013 VATICAN - BRAZIL
    Pope Francis outlines reform of the Church
    In his address to the bishops of Brazil, the Argentine Pope outlines some key elements for the reform of the Church in this time of "epochal change": accompanying man "in the night", the family, the value of women, unity in diversity. And most of all learning from the act of God in Aparecida. Not only for Brazil, but for the world.

    13/05/2007 BRAZIL – VATICAN
    If society does not recognise God, it cannot do what is good for mankind
    In the address with which he inaugurated the 5th General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, Benedict XVI drew an outline of the path today’s Church must follow. Evangelising every culture and bearing witness to Jesus is a mission for all Christians.

    24/07/2013 BRAZIL - VATICAN
    WYD: for pope, Christians should be hopeful, surprised by God, and live in joy
    Pope Francis holds Mass at the Marian shrine of Aparecida. "When the Church looks for Jesus, she always knocks at his Mother's door and asks, 'Show us Jesus'. It is from Mary that the Church learns true discipleship. That is why the Church always goes out on mission in the footsteps of Mary."

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