Benedict XVI Denounces “Concessions” Born of Secularization of the Church in Brazil

Source: FSSPX News

Benedict XVI received a first group of 16 Brazilian bishops on their ad limina visit. The pope pointed out the “secularization” and “the opening to the world,” encouraging them not to neglect “some fundamental truths of the Faith. 

He especially denounced the “concessions” made by some in the domain of ethics. In this context, he expressed his wish that those in charge of the formation of the new generations of seminarians be “true men of God.” “[I]n the decades that followed the Second Vatican Council, some have interpreted openness to the world (…) rather as a passage to secularization,” this led to some “concessions.” This interpretation in turn led “certain leading clerics took part in ethical debates in response to the expectations of public opinion, forgetting to speak of some fundamental truths of the Faith.” The consequence was a “self-secularization of many ecclesial communities,” Benedict XVI emphasized in his speech in Portuguese.

Presently, the Holy Father observed, there is “a new generation into this secularized ecclesial context. Instead of showing openness and consensus, it sees the abyss of differences and opposition to the Magisterium of the Church growing ever wider, especially in the field of ethics.” To respond to the expectations of this “new generation” who feels a deep thirst for transcendence,” the pope affirmed that teachers are needed who are “real men of God, priests totally dedicated to formation, who witness to the gift of themselves to the Church through celibacy and an austere life, in accordance with the model of Christ the Good Shepherd.” In October 2005, Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, then Archbishop of São Paulo (Brazil), had described the state of affairs for Catholicism in Brazil and South America during the bishops’ synod. “In Brazil, the number of Catholics dropping out of the Church is about 1% per year, he had acknowledged. In 1991, Catholics made up 83% of the population; nowadays, according to recent studies they might be only 67%. With anguish, we wonder: until when will Brazil be a Catholic country? According to the situation, we already observe that for each Catholic priest, there are two Protestant pastors, mainly at the service of Pentecostal Churches. Everything indicates that the phenomenon is the same in almost all the rest of Latin America. Hence the question: Until when will Latin America be a Catholic continent?”

The ad limina visit of the Brazilian bishops began on September 1, 2009 and will end on September 20, 2010. The bishops of 272 ecclesiastical circumscriptions must thus go to Rome in 13 successive groups to visit with the pope and the leading men of the Roman Curia. Brazil numbers 155 million Catholics.