The Road from Regensburg

FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

AD LIMINA ADDRESS TO US BISHOPS, 18 MAY

I would repeat the heartfelt plea that I made to America's Catholics during my Pastoral Visit: We can only move forward if we turn our gaze together to Christ and thus embrace that true spiritual renewal desired by the Council...

Dear Brother Bishops, it is my hope that the Year of Faith which will open on 12 October this year, the 50th anniversary of the convening of the Second Vatican Council, will awaken a desire on the part of the entire Catholic community in America to reappropriate with joy and gratitude the priceless treasure of our faith. With the progressive weakening of traditional Christian values, and the threat of a season in which our fidelity to the Gospel may cost us dearly, the truth of Christ needs not only to be understood, articulated and defended, but to be proposed joyfully and confidently as the key to authentic human fulfilment and to the welfare of society as a whole.

AD LIMINA ADDRESS TO US BISHOPS, 17 JAN

... the Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). To the extent that some current cultural trends contain elements that would curtail the proclamation of these truths, whether constricting it within the limits of a merely scientific rationality, or suppressing it in the name of political power or majority rule, they represent a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself...

The Church's defence of a moral reasoning based on the natural law is grounded on her conviction that this law is not a threat to our freedom, but rather a "language" which enables us to understand ourselves and the truth of our being, and so to shape a more just and humane world. ...

The Church's witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. ... it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realise the grave threats to the Church's public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression ...

... [the development of] an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-a-vis the dominant culture ... and the presentation of a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society remain a primary task of the Church in your country; as essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programmes at every level.

... As the Council noted, and I wished to reiterate during my Pastoral Visit, respect for the just autonomy of the secular sphere must also take into consideration the truth that there is no realm of worldly affairs which can be withdrawn from the Creator and his dominion (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 36).

There can be no doubt that a more consistent witness on the part of America's Catholics to their deepest convictions would make a major contribution to the renewal of society as a whole.

Faith Magazine

July - August 2012