Secularism Challenges Church
in England and Wales
John Paul II Says
The ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN COMMENT offers to its Orthodox readers this communication from Zenit.org . We estimate that these observations, from the Patriarch of Rome to the R.C. Bishops of this Country, could be also adressed to the Orthodox Bishops, who, in one way or another administer, the Orthodoxy in Great Britain. Indeed not only to the Bishops but to all our clergy and the pleroma of the Church. The "new impetus in Christian living" has also to be demanded and given in our 'Orthodox Communities.'
Their Christian Faith was carried and transmitted through the liturgical faithfulness of their clergy and the hunger to meet in, and transport, to this new country of work and habitation, their centuries old traditions for marrying, to be born and to be buried. Doing so they kept alive their centuries old folk identity. Their religion also provided for them a linguistic refuge. Their principle objective was economical survival and prosperity. Therefore, their Orthodox Faith had not been carried as a Christ's mission commandment. A great number of them remain in their nationalistic club approach. Most of the clergy, very sadly, contribute to this approach. "The phenomena of secularism and widespread religious indifference,... the grave difficulties experienced by parents in their attempts to catechize their own children, all attest to the vital need for bishops to embrace their fundamental mission to be authentic and authoritative heralds of the Word,"
Now is time to discover Christ as a new encounter, begin to break with traditions and take up Holy Tradition.
He Warns That Civil Life Will Feel
the Fallout Too
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 23, 2003 (Zenit.org).-
John Paul II says the great challenge facing the Catholic Church in England and
Wales is secularism, which must be addressed with a "new impetus in
The effects of a concept of society in which people live as if God did not exist has negative consequences for civic life too, the Pope said in an address today to the bishops of England and Wales. He received the prelates in audience as part of their five-yearly visit to the Holy See.
"England and Wales, despite
being steeped in a rich Christian heritage, today face the pervasive advance of
secularism," said the Holy Father during an audience that followed earlier
personal meetings with the bishops. "At the root of this situation is the
attempt to promote a vision of humanity apart from God and removed from
"It is a mentality which exaggerates individualism, sunders the essential link between freedom and truth, and consequently destroys the mutual bonds which define social living. This loss of a sense of God is often experienced as the abandonment of man," the Pontiff told the delegation headed by the archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.
"Social disintegration, threats to family life, and the ugly specters of racial intolerance and war, leave many men and women, and especially the young, feeling disoriented and at times even without hope," the Holy Father said. "Consequently it is not just the Church which encounters the disturbing effects of secularism but civic life as well."
Given the situation, John Paul II added that bishops "are called to remain vigilant in our duty to proclaim with clear and passionate certainty that Jesus Christ is the source of hope; a hope that does not disappoint."
"The faithful of England and Wales look to you with great expectation to preach and teach the Gospel which dispels the darkness and illuminates the way of life," he said. "Daily proclamation of the Gospel and a life of holiness is the vocation of the Church in every time and place."
"The phenomena of secularism and widespread religious indifference, the decline in vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the grave difficulties experienced by parents in their attempts to catechize their own children, all attest to the vital need for bishops to embrace their fundamental mission to be authentic and authoritative heralds of the Word," the Pope said.
... The Holy Father said that bishops "have the obligation of fostering and safeguarding the unity of faith and of upholding the discipline which is common to the whole Church."
"It is by fidelity to the ordinary magisterium of the Church, by strict adherence to the discipline of the universal Church, and by positive statements which clearly instruct the faithful, that a bishop preserves God's people from deviations and defections and guarantees them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error," he emphasized.
... The Pope expressed his "profound conviction that the new millennium demands a new impetus in Christian living."
"If the Church is to satisfy the thirst of men and women for truth and authentic values upon which to build their lives, no effort can be spared in finding effective pastoral initiatives to make Jesus Christ known," he added.
"Authentic pedagogy on prayer, persuasive catechesis on the meaning of liturgy, and the importance of the Sunday Eucharist, and promotion of the frequent practice of the sacrament of reconciliation will do much to meet this pastoral goal and enkindle in the hearts of your people the joy and peace deriving from participation in the Church's life and mission," the Pope said.
In this connection, he supported the initiatives that are taking place, especially in the evangelization of young people, such as Youth 2000 and the development of university chaplaincy programs.
Zenit.org / ZE03102303
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