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Too many Catholics confused about fundamental beliefs, Pope says

Catholic World News - October 17, 2012

"Christians today often do not even know the central core of their Catholic faith,” Pope Benedict XVI observed at his regular public audience on October 17.

At his regular weekly audience, the Holy Father announced that he was beginning a new series of catechetical talks, dedicated to the content of the faith, for the Year of Faith. He said that the goal of the Year of Faith—and thus of his weekly talks—is “to renew our enthusiasm at believing in Jesus Christ.”

The faith, the Pope said, “is not something extraneous and distant from real life, but the very heart thereof.” He added that a clear and firm belief in Christian doctrine “does not limit life, but makes it human.”

The fundamental content of the Christian faith, the Pope said, can be found in the Creed. Those fundamental beliefs, in turn, form the basis for Christian moral life. “It is the Church’s duty to transmit the faith, to communicate the Gospel, so that Christian truths may become a light guiding the new cultural transformations, and Christians may be able to give reasons for the hope that is in them.”

Ignorance about the fundamentals of faith, the Pope said, leaves believers vulnerable to “certain forms of syncretism and religious relativism, with no clarity about which truths must be believed and the salvific uniqueness of Christianity.”

These problems are acute today, the Pope continued. He said: "The process of secularization and a widespread nihilist mentality, in which everything is relative, have left a strong imprint on the collective mentality.” He revealed that surveys taken among the faithful around the world in preparation for the current Synod of Bishops showed the negative effects of confusion about the fundamentals of Christian belief: “the faith lived passively or privately, the rejection of education in the faith, the rupture between faith and life.”

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  • Posted by: dagbat - Oct. 17, 2012 10:53 PM ET USA

    The Pope is right. For years the Church in America has been slowly losing the war for the minds and souls of Catholics. This malaise is due primarily to the timidity of the Church leadership to forcefully speak out on traditional Catholic doctrine and to clearly define Catholic do’s and don’ts. Also to publically rein in the many high profile cafeteria Catholics who have been unabashedly defying the Church and leading many regular Catholics astray. It is time for the Church leadership to re-assert their authority as the official Voice of the Church. Catholics need to once again see and hear their leaders, beginning at weekly Masses and especially from the pulpits.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Oct. 17, 2012 8:54 PM ET USA

    “It is the Church’s duty to transmit the faith, to communicate the Gospel, so that Christian truths may become a light guiding the new cultural transformations, and Christians may be able to give reasons for the hope that is in them.” This is reality. The Church is the vehicle of salvation for all. The Pope's statements bear a striking resemblance to the assessment of Fr. Pfluger. It is Peter, working in the service of the Lord, who must lead the resolution. Work and pray in charity.

  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 17, 2012 6:37 PM ET USA

    The Holy Father's remarks are not useful to American Catholics. While I agree with his remarks and appreciate his concern, he needs to direct the Church leaders to bring the "central core of the Catholic faith" to the laity. Until there is a wake up call to those who lead the Church, they will continue to give priority to administration and politics with little time for catechesis of the faithful. Documents on the Vatican web site alone won't bring change to the Church.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Oct. 17, 2012 6:35 PM ET USA

    I am continually astounded at the Pope's acute understanding of the situation we live in. What I don't understand is why the bishop's wait for him to tell them what to do. Don't they see the situation themselves? Dn't they know what needs to be done? Without the Pope pushing and prodding I think they would all be comatose.

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