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Be firmly grounded in the faith as you engage in dialogue, Pope tell Asia’s bishops

Catholic World News - August 18, 2014

On August 17, the fourth full day of Pope Francis’s apostolic journey to South Korea, the Pontiff traveled to the Shrine of Haemi, where he challenged Asia’s bishops to be grounded in a sense of authentic Christian identity as they engage in charitable dialogue with the people of our time.

“Being sinners, we will always be tempted by the spirit of the world, which shows itself in a variety of ways,” Pope Francis said. “One is the deceptive light of relativism, which obscures the splendor of truth and, shaking the earth beneath our feet, pulls us toward the shifting sands of confusion and despair.”

“A second way in which the world threatens the solidity of our Christian identity is superficiality, a tendency to toy with the latest fads, gadgets and distractions, rather than attending to the things that really matter,” he continued. “For the ministers of the Church, it can also make itself felt in an enchantment with pastoral programs and theories, to the detriment of direct, fruitful encounter with our faithful, and others too, especially the young who need solid catechesis and sound spiritual guidance.”

“Then too, there is a third temptation: that of the apparent security to be found in hiding behind easy answers, ready formulas, rules and regulations,” he added. “Jesus clashed with people who would hide behind laws, regulations and easy answers. He called them hypocrites.”

The Pope also emphasized that authentic Christian identity is fruitful – a fruitfulness manifest in catechesis, service to the poor, and vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Being grounded in one’s Christian identity equips one to engage in an authentic dialogue characterized by empathy, a dialogue in which one can “speak freely, openly and fruitfully with others …And the Lord will grant his grace: sometimes he will move hearts and someone will ask for baptism, sometimes not. But always let us walk together. This is the heart of dialogue.”

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