Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Priority: Experience the Person of Christ, Not Ethical Decisions Or Great Ideas

Pope Urges Portuguese Bishops to Change Mentality

Says Members Need to Be in Tune With Vatican IIVATICAN CITY, NOV. 13, 2007

( With an ever-growing number of non-practicing Catholics in Portugal, Benedict XVI has asked the Church in that country for a change of mentality that is more in tune with the Second Vatican Council.The Pope's appeal was made last Saturday when he received in audience the Portuguese bishops, in Rome for their five-yearly visit.The Church, the Holy Father said, "should not, above all, speak of itself, but of God. With this, I don't mean to say that we don't have to discuss the best organization of the Church and the distribution of responsibilities: There are always imbalances that need corrections."But these issues, he clarified "should not distract us from the authentic mission of the Church."The Pontiff continued, alluding to his encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est": "One doesn't begin to be a Christian because of an ethical decision or a great idea, but rather because of an encounter with an event, with a Person, who gives new horizons to life, and with that, a decisive orientation."The evangelization of the person and of human communities depends totally on this encounter with Jesus Christ." The Bishop of Rome added, "Given the growing wave of Christians that are not practicing in your dioceses, perhaps it is worthwhile to verify the efficiency of the current processes of initiation, to better help Christians to mature with the educative activities of our communities, and to take on in their lives an authentically Eucharistic stamp that makes them capable of giving reason for their hope in an adequate way for our times." According to Benedict XVI, in these years, "the most frequent confession on the lips of Christians has been the lack of participation in community life.""It is necessary," he said, "to change the organizational style of the Portuguese Church community and the mentality of its members, to have a Church in tune with Vatican II, in which the function of clergy and laypeople is well-defined, taking into account the fact that we are all one, since we were baptized and integrated into the family of the children of God, and all of us have a common responsibility for the growth of the Church."

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