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Canada is suffering from secularism

on Thursday, 01 June 2006. Posted in Pope Benedict XVI

One of the symptoms: its plumetting birth rate

Pope Benedict XVI to the Bishops of Atlantic Canada

VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2006 ( To banish God from society is to banish hope from people's lives, says Benedict XVI. When addressing the Bishops of the episcopal conference of Atlantic Canada on Saturday, May 20, during their five-yearly visit to Rome, the Holy Father urged them to proclaim the truth of Christ with passion, and to promote catechesis and religious education.

In Canada, the Bishops visit Rome in four separate groups, according to the regional episcopal assembly to which they belong. The bishops of the Atlantic assembly are the second of the four groups to travel to Rome.

The Pope said that Canada, like many countries, "is today suffering from the pervasive effects of secularism." "The attempt to promote a vision of humanity apart from God's transcendent order and indifferent to Christ's beckoning light, removes from the reach of ordinary men and women the experience of genuine hope," the Pontiff said.

Benedict XVI continued: "One of the more dramatic symptoms of this mentality, clearly evident in your own

region, is the plummeting birth rate.

"This disturbing testimony to uncertainty and fear, even if not always conscious, is in stark contrast with the definitive experience of true love which by its nature is marked by trust, seeks the good of the beloved, and looks to the eternal.

Men of hope

"Faced with the many social ills and moral ambiguities ambiguities which follow in the wake of a secularist ideology, Canadians look to you to be men of hope, preaching and teaching with passion the splendor of the truth of Christ who dispels the darkness and illuminates the way to renew ecclesial and civic life, educating consciences, and teaching the authentic dignity of the person and human society."

The Pope said the challenge is even greater in Canada, if one takes into account the "aging clergy and many isolated communities."

"Yet, if the Church is going 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," the Holy Father added.

The Bishop of Rome said that "it is of great importance that the catechetical and religious education programs deepen the faithful's understanding and love of our Lord and His Church, and reawaken in them the zeal for Christian witness which has its root in the sacrament of Baptism."

"In this regard," the Pontiff added, "particular care must be taken to ensure that the intrinsic relationship between the Church's Magisterium, individuals'faith, and testimony in public life is preserved and promoted. Only in this way can we hope to overcome the debilitating split between the Gospel and culture."

Living faith

Benedict XVI continued: "Teaching the Faith cannot be reduced to a mere transmission of'things'or words, or even a body of abstract truths. The Church's tradition is alive! "

The Pope appealed "in a special way to the young adults" of Canada "to take up the rewarding challenge of catechetical service and share in the satisfaction of handing on the Faith."

The Holy Father said: "Their example of Christian witness to those younger than themselves will strengthen their own Faith, while bringing to others the happiness that flows from the sense of purpose and meaning in life which the Lord reveals."

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