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Papal challenge for British bishops: bring Gospel to secularized culture

Catholic World News - September 20, 2010

Meeting with the bishops of Great Britain on September 19—the final day of his visit to their country—Pope Benedict XVI emphasized “the urgent need to proclaim the Gospel afresh in a highly secularized environment.”

Recalling that this same message had been the theme of his talks to British bishops during their most recent ad limina visits, the Pope said that during his 4-day trip to Scotland and England “it has become clear to me how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the Good News of Jesus Christ.” He encouraged the bishops to collaboration with the newly established Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization in finding ways to bring the Gospel message to their people.

The Pope acknowledged that the work of evangelization has been severely harmed by the “shameful abuse of children,” and the ensuing scandal “seriously undermines the moral credibility of Church leaders.” He told them that responding to the crisis with humility and honesty was the best remedy. “If we are to be effective Christian leaders, we must live lives of the utmost integrity, humility and holiness,” he said.

The Pope called the bishops’ attention to two specific pastoral challenges. First he mentioned the introduction of a new translation of the Roman Missal, urging them to “seize the opportunity that the new translation offers for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration.”

Next the Pope reminded the bishops that he had asked them “to be generous in implementing the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.” That document should be recognized as a “prophetic gesture,” he said. The Pope stressed that goal of the apostolic constitution—which provides for ordinariates to serve Anglicans who enter the Catholic Church while retaining their own distinctive identity and customs—is “the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.”

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