As preachers of the Gospel and leaders of the Catholic community, you are also called to participate in the exchange of ideas in the public square, helping to shape cultural attitudes. In a context where free speech is valued, and where vigorous and honest debate is encouraged, yours is a respected voice that has much to offer to the discussion of the pressing social and moral questions of the day. By ensuring that the Gospel is clearly heard, you not only form the people of your own community, but in view of the global reach of mass communication, you help to spread the message of Christian hope throughout the world.It bears repeating: "It cannot be assumed that all Catholic citizens think in harmony with the Church's teaching on today's key ethical questions." We can only hope people hear this message and at least reflect on the possibility that they need to amend their ways. The "Catholic" politicians and voters could have such influence if they all would "think in harmony" with the Church. If we could be united in the Faith, then so much more could likely be accomplished.
Clearly, the Church's influence on public debate takes place on many different levels. In the United States, as elsewhere, there is much current and proposed legislation that gives cause for concern from the point of view of morality, and the Catholic community, under your guidance, needs to offer a clear and united witness on such matters. Even more important, though, is the gradual opening of the minds and hearts of the wider community to moral truth. Here much remains to be done. Crucial in this regard is the role of the lay faithful to act as a "leaven" in society. Yet it cannot be assumed that all Catholic citizens think in harmony with the Church's teaching on today's key ethical questions. Once again, it falls to you to ensure that the moral formation provided at every level of ecclesial life reflects the authentic teaching of the Gospel of life.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Benedict to Bishops: Speak Out
In his address to the US Bishops yesterday, Pope Benedict exhorted them to be the moral voice of society, to speak out for what is right.