Declaration to the bishops of New Zealand against the secularization of society

Source: FSSPX News


On September 13, John Paul II asked the bishops of New Zealand, on their ad limina visit, to fight against “the effects of an unrestrained secularism” which is affecting many countries. According to the pope, the role of the bishops is to remind the faithful of “Christ’s liberating message in a society experiencing the tragic consequences of the eclipse of the sense of God,” and whose consequences were “the undermining of family life; the facilitation of abortion and prostitution; a misguided vision of life which seeks pleasure and "success" rather than goodness and wisdom.”

John Paul II then explained in a practical way, how the bishops might lead their faithful, and in particular the young, away from this “shallow thinking.” The pope asked the bishops to “revitalize” Sunday. This day of rest must not be “subordinate to a popular concept of "weekend" dominated by entertainment and sport” but remain a day of celebration, particularly for the young people.

The pope also called on the bishops to “defend the sanctity and the uniqueness of marriage” established between a man and a woman for “the bearing and raising of children,” according to “the natural moral law.” John Paul II said that marriage must not be confused with “other types of cohabitation.”

Finally John Paul II hoped that the New Zealand bishops would promote a “culture of vocation” for the young people of their country, marked by great cultural diversity. The New Zealand archipelago, half the size of France, has a population 24% Anglican, 28% Protestant of other confessions, and 15% Catholic.

On September 18, addressing the bishops of the Pacific, also on an ad limina visit, John Paul II recalled to the dangers of secularism and consumerism. He warned them against certain particularly insidious aspects in the media which spread a “deformed outlook on life, the family, religion and morality.” “No effort can be spared in taking effective pastoral initiatives to make the Lord better known and loved.”

The Sovereign Pontiff also dwelt on the importance of the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation of priests and seminarians, “so that students may build their priestly identity and personality.” “Such an identity must never be based on some social charge or on titles. It is above all constituted by a life of simplicity, chastity and humble service.”