Pope to U.S. Bishops: After the sex scandals, urgent need for new evangelization
Benedict XVI recalled "the sufferings of the victims" and "conscientious efforts of the Church" to address the problem of sexual abuse. But he also remembers the urgency of the prophetic mission of the Church against a secularism that is destroying the "basics intellectual, cultural and moral values of society." The Catholic universities and attention to young people.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Meeting some U.S. bishops today, Benedict XVI urged them to face the scandal of sexual abuse, but also noted that "equally important" issue of new evangelization to counter a prevailing secularism.
At 11 am this morning the Pope met with the bishops of the Episcopal Conference Regions 1,2,3, on ad limina visit. This was the first time that Benedict met the American bishops after his U.S. visit in 2008, which took place in the midst of accusations and scandals concerning pedophile priests and bishops responsibility in covering the facts.
The pontiff recalled the days of his visit, in which he wished to "acknowledge personally the suffering inflicted on the victims and the honest efforts made both to ensure the safety of our children and to deal appropriately and transparently with allegations as they arise " .
The Pope hopes that "the Church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society. By the same token, just as the Church is rightly held to exacting standards in this regard, all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards."
In fact, since the pedophile scandals in America there has been an increasingly strong campaign against Catholic priests, without any light being shed on the violence and the need to correct the problem in other communities and social situations.
Benedict XVI recalled that his U.S. visit he had an “equally important purpose”, that of summoning the Catholic community to the urgency and demands of a new evangelization. In the coming months, the pope should publish an Apostolic Letter on the subject, to address the disaffection of the Christian world towards the Church and the increasing secularization of world society, which creates concerns both for Christian witness, and "the future of our democratic societies ".
The Pope says that "many men and women, whatever their political or religious view," " a troubling breakdown in the intellectual, cultural and moral foundations of social life, and a growing sense of dislocation and insecurity, especially among the young."
" Despite attempts to still the Church’s voice in the public square, many people of good will continue to look to her for wisdom, insight and sound guidance in meeting this far-reaching crisis."
The pope, therefore, exhorts the bishops to exercise their "prophetic dimension ... by speaking out,… in defense of moral truth, and offering a word of hope, capable of opening hearts and minds to the truth that sets us free."
Secularization, he continued, is also a problem within the Church. " Immersed in this culture, believers are daily beset by the objections, the troubling questions and the cynicism of a society which seems to have lost its roots, by a world in which the love of God has grown cold in so many hearts. Evangelization thus appears not simply a task to be undertaken ad extra; we ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization.. "
The tools suggested by the pope for a revival of faith, include attention to the liturgy (and the new English translation of the Roman Missal), but above all a revival of the missionary spirit of all the faithful.
Benedict XVI remembered the missionary efforts of the Catholic universities in the world, a privileged place for the new evangelization. "Young people - he concluded - have a right to hear clearly the Church’s teaching and, most importantly, to be inspired by the coherence and beauty of the Christian message, so that they in turn can instill in their peers a deep love of Christ and his Church."