May 11: Benedict XVI reminds the bishops of their responsibilities

Source: FSSPX News

 The pope, meeting the 427 bishops and cardinals of Brazil assembled in the Cathedral of Sao Paolo, in the afternoon of May 11, asked them to place Christ at the center of their mission of evangelization to stop the flow of people abandoning the Church because of aggressive proselytizing of sects, and also in order not to denature priestly celibacy.

“Certainly the present is a difficult time for the Church, and many of her children are experiencing difficulty,” acknowledged Benedict XVI before the Brazilian prelates, and he reminded them of their “great responsibility”. Next, he noted the “worrying disorientation” which “society is experiencing”: “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.”

“Even more,” the pope regretted, “the structure of total consecration to God begins to lose its deepest meaning, when 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,” he added, “to ideological, political and even party issue.” These words were greatly applauded by the hundreds of bishops present.

Evoking next the increasing number of “Catholics who have abandoned the life of the Church,” the pope said that the main cause was “the lack of an evangelization completely centered on Christ and His Church.” According to him those who “are most vulnerable to the aggressive proselytizing of sects and the least capable 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 naïve, despite their innate religiosity.”

“Ecumenism – or the search for unity among Christians – has become in our time an increasingly urgent task for the Catholic Church, as is evident from the growth of intercultural exchange and the challenge of secularism. Consequently, given the rapidly growing number of new Christian denominations, and especially certain forms of often aggressive proselytism, the work of ecumenism has become more complex.”

Benedict XVI recalled the preferential option of the Church for the poor, stating that “the Gospel is addressed in a special way to the poor.” The pope also asked the bishops to “work untiringly to form politicians and all Brazilians.” It is necessary to form in the political and economical classes a sincere spirit of truth and honesty, he continued.

Broaching upon the question of “discernment” of vocations, Benedict XVI said that “good and assiduous spiritual direction is indispensable for fostering human growth and eliminating the risk of going astray in the area of sexuality.”

He also invited the bishops to a “rediscovery and appreciation of obedience to liturgical norms.” “We must be faithful servants of the word, eschewing any reductive or mistaken vision of the mission entrusted to us,” Benedict XVI told the bishops, desiring them to work without ever yielding to “any interpretations motivated by rationalistic ideologies.”