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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2


Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005



Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Pope to Bishops -- Teach the People!

Our Holy Father exhorted our American bishops this past Sunday to renew their commitment to teaching the laity, to leading the flock and properly catechizing the faithful. Worth a read!

Excerpt (emphasis added):

"3. It follows that lay men and women must be encouraged, through sound catechesis and continuing formation, to recognize the distinctive dignity and mission which they have received in baptism and to embody in all their daily activities an integrated approach to life which finds its inspiration and strength from the Gospel (cf. "Christifideles Laici," No. 34). This means that the laity must be trained to distinguish clearly between their rights and duties as members of the Church and those which they have as members of human society, and encouraged to combine the two harmoniously, recognizing that "in every temporal affair they are to be guided by their Christian conscience, since there is no human activity -- even of the temporal order -- that can be withdrawn from God's dominion" ("Lumen Gentium," No. 36).

A clear and authoritative reaffirmation of these fundamental principles of the lay apostolate will help to overcome the serious pastoral problems created by a growing failure to understand the Church's binding obligation to remind the faithful of their duty in conscience to act in accordance with her authoritative teaching. There is urgent need for a comprehensive catechesis on the lay apostolate which will necessarily highlight the importance of a properly formed conscience, the intrinsic relationship between freedom and moral truth, and the grave duty incumbent upon each Christian to work to renew and perfect the temporal order in accordance with the values of God's Kingdom. While fully respecting the legitimate separation of church and state in American life, such a catechesis must also make clear that for the faithful Christian there can be no separation between the faith which is to be believed and put into practice (cf. "Lumen Gentium," No. 25) and a commitment to full and responsible participation in professional, political and cultural life.

Given the importance of these issues for the life and mission of the Church in your country, I would encourage you to consider the inculcation of the doctrinal and moral principles underlying the lay apostolate as essential to your ministry as teachers and shepherds of the Church in America. I also invite you to discern, in consultation with members of the laity outstanding for their fidelity, knowledge and prudence, the most effective ways of promoting catechesis and clearsighted reflection on this important area of the Church's social teaching.

4. An appreciation of the distinct gifts and apostolate of the laity will naturally lead to a strengthened commitment to fostering among the laity a sense of shared responsibility for the life and mission of the Church. In stressing the need for a theology and spirituality of communion and mission for the renewal of ecclesial life, I have pointed to the importance of "making our own the ancient pastoral wisdom which, without prejudice to their authority, encouraged Pastors to listen more widely to the People of God" ("Novo Millennio Ineunte," No. 45). Certainly this will involve a conscious effort on the part of each bishop to develop, within his particular Church, structures of communion and participation which make it possible, without prejudice to his personal responsibility for decisions he is called to make by virtue of his apostolic authority, "to listen to the Spirit who lives and speaks in the faithful" (cf. "Pastores Gregis," No. 44). More importantly, it calls for the cultivation, in every aspect of ecclesial life, of a spirit of communion grounded in the supernatural "sensus fidei" and the rich variety of charisms and missions which the Holy Spirit pours out upon the whole body of the baptized in order to build them up in unity and fidelity to the word of God (cf. "Lumen Gentium," No. 12). An understanding of cooperation and shared responsibility which is firmly rooted in the principles of a sound ecclesiology will ensure a genuine and fruitful collaboration between the Church's pastors and the lay faithful, without the danger of distorting this relationship by the uncritical importation of categories and structures drawn from secular life."

Complete address online at Zenit -- http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=63070



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