Fatima: Pope to Bishops, Calls for New Missionary Vigor, Affirms Ecclesial Movements
'I confess to you the pleasant surprise that I had in making contact with the movements and the new ecclesial communities. Watching them, I had the joy and the grace to see how, at a moment of weariness in the Church, at a time when we were hearing about "the winter of the Church", the Holy Spirit was creating a new springtime.'
Pope Benedict XVI addresses the bishops of Portugal.
FATIMA, Portugal (Catholic Online) - At the end of a day filled with extraordinary graces and deeply inspired homilies and addresses, Pope Benedict XVI met with the Bishops of Portugal in the Conference Hall of the "Casa Nossa Senhora do Carmo". Here are the words which this Servant of the servants of God shared with his brother Bishops. They demonstrate his pastoral heart and his evangelical committment to leading the whole Church into a new missionary age. They also reveal a Pope whose energy continues to amaze observers.
We particularly call our readers attention to his strong emphasis and endorsement of the New Ecclesial Movements as a resource for the task of the New Evangelization. Pope Benedict XVI, as a Cardinal, wrote extensively about these movements. He was an advocate for their place in the heart of the Church. As Pope, he has continued to propose to his brother Bishops that they are a resource which must be welcomed, properly pastored and enlisted in the task ahead in the Third Christian Millennium.
We regularly feature the ecclesial movements on Catholic Online. We will continue to do so as we progress toward the feast of Pentecost.They are a work of the Holy Spirit for our time. The Pope recounted his first encounters with these ecclesial movements in these words " ...at a moment of weariness in the Church, at a time when we were hearing about "the winter of the Church", the Holy Spirit was creating a new springtime." Let us join with the Pope and pray for that new Springtime.
Pope Benedict XVI Addresses the Bishops of Portugal
Dear Brother Bishops,
I thank God for giving me this occasion to meet all of you here at the Shrine of Fatima, the spiritual heart of Portugal, where multitudes of pilgrims from all over the world come looking to discover or to reinforce their certainty in the truths of Heaven. Among them has come from Rome the Successor of Peter, accepting the oft-repeated invitations and moved by a debt of gratitude to the Virgin Mary, who herself transmitted to her seers and pilgrims an intense love for the Holy Father which has borne fruit in a great multitude which prays, with Jesus as its guide: Peter, "I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren" (Lk 22:32).
As you see, the Pope needs to open himself ever more fully to the mystery of the Cross, embracing it as the one hope and the supreme way to gain and to gather in the Crucified One all his brothers and sisters in humanity.
Obeying the word of God, he is called to live not for himself but for the presence of God in the world. I am comforted by the determination with which you too follow me closely, fearing nothing except the loss of eternal salvation for your people, as was clearly expressed in the words of greeting spoken by Archbishop Jorge Ortiga upon my arrival in your midst, and which testify to the unconditional fidelity of the Bishops of Portugal to the Successor of Peter. From my heart I thank you. I thank you as well for all the attention that you have given to organizing my Visit.
May God reward you, and pour out the Holy Spirit in abundance upon you and your Dioceses so that, with one heart and with one soul, you may bring to completion the pastoral work which you have begun, that is, offering each member of the faithful an exacting and attractive Christian initiation, one which communicates the integrity of the faith and genuine spirituality, rooted in the Gospel, and capable of forming free and generous labourers in the midst of public life.
In truth, the times in which we live demand a new missionary vigour on the part of Christians, who are called to form a mature laity, identified with the Church and sensitive to the complex transformations taking place in our world. Authentic witnesses to Jesus Christ are needed, above all in those human situations where the silence of the faith is most widely and deeply felt: among politicians, intellectuals, communications professionals who profess and who promote a monocultural ideal, with disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life.
In such circles are found some believers who are ashamed of their beliefs and who even give a helping hand to this type of secularism, which builds barriers before Christian inspiration. And yet, dear brothers, may all those who defend the faith in these situations, with courage, with a vigorous Catholic outlook and in fidelity to the magisterium, continue to receive your help and your insightful encouragement in order to live out, as faithful lay men and women, their Christian freedom.
You maintain a strong prophetic dimension, without allowing yourselves to be silenced, in the present social context, for "the word of God is not fettered" (2 Tim 2:9). People cry out for the ...
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