Pope Benedict XVI on Friday spoke to the third and final group of French bishops coming to Rome this year for their ad limina visits.
“One of the most serious problems of our time is the religious ignorance in which many men and women live, including those who are Catholic,” the Holy Father told the Bishops.
He said this ignorance is two-fold.
“It is an ignorance of the person of Jesus Christ; and an ignorance of the sublimity of his teachings, which have universal and permanent value in the search for the meaning of life and happiness,” said the Pope.
“This ignorance also produces new generations which are unable to understand their history, nor feel heir to this tradition, that has shaped life, society, art and European culture,” he continued.
The Pope went on to speak about the importance of Catholic education, and commended the bishops for their support of schools and institutes of all levels of society. He also encouraged the laity to study theology, calling it “a source of wisdom, joy and wonder that cannot be restricted to seminarians, priests and those in religious life.”
“Catholic schools, which have shaped the Christian life and culture of [France], now have a historic responsibility,” Pope Benedict sad. “Schools and other institutions of Catholic education undergirds many of the initiatives and movements of the New Evangelization.”