Pope: Confronting religious illiteracy

2012-02-18 Vatican Radio

The College of Cardinals was gathered by Pope Benedict here at the Vatican Friday for a Day of Prayer and Reflection ahead of the consistory on the theme of New Evangelisation.

According to a communiqué released late Friday evening a total of 27 interventions were made between the morning and afternoon sessions, touching on the topics such as; the growth of Christians in China despite the difficulties, interreligious dialogue and the fight against poverty in India, the importance of popular piety and evangelism in Latin America, confronting a secularism that tends to marginalize religion from social life in the West, the challenges, difficulties as well as the encouraging prospects and events that are a sign of hope, such as new and lively ecclesial realities, World Youth Days and the International Eucharistic Congress.

Other topics that were discussed include; the current educational emergency, renewal of catechesis, the transmission of the faith to young people, the formation of evangelizers - lay, religious and priests - the need of a mature faith, capable of witnessing to and judging the reality of the world today.

Suggestions were made for the Year of Faith, from a journey of insights that accompany the different moments of the liturgical year, to an encouragement of pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Rome and new forms of mission among people.

The ecumenical commitment of Christians in the announcement of a common faith in Christ; the actuality of the Second Vatican Council as a compass for the journey of the Church today; the value of the witness of Christian joy and holiness, and the permanent appeal of the figures of Saints were also stressed.

Before reciting the Angelus, at about 7pm, the Holy Father concluded the Day of Reflection with an address in which he thanked the speakers – describing the key-note speech delivered by Cardinal-designate Dolan as "exciting, joyful and profound", and the address of Archbishop Fisichella "a rich contribution of ideas and initiatives".

The Holy Father also thanked all the participants in the Day, saying their contribution represented a "wide mosaic of ideas and proposals." He emphasized the importance of Vatican II to "rediscover the contemporary nature of Jesus and the faith".

He noted the need for a true renewal of catechesis in order to emphasize its precious truth, reacting to what has been termed "religious illiteracy". He strongly reaffirmed the necessity of a deep conviction of the truth of God's revelation in His Son Jesus Christ, because "if there is no truth, there is no compass, and we do not know where to go", and "only if there is truth, is Life rich and beautiful. " Without this conviction, "we can not re-evangelize the humanity of today."

Because God is love, the truth is expressed in love and charity and charity in turn "proves the truth". The Pope concluded that the Year of Faith could be summarized in the words: "Living the truth in charity."