"Adult" Catholics: Answer To Practical Atheism, John Paul II Says

Papal Address at This Sunday’s «Angelus»

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, JULY 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address John Paul II delivered Sunday at noon, after praying the Angelus with pilgrims in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters

1. The Church has received from the risen Christ the mandate to proclaim the Gospel to the utmost ends of the earth. Over the past few Sundays I have had the occasion to recall several times that the ecclesial Communities of Europe are called to this task in a singular way. Yes, in this continent it is necessary that all believers return to the evangelical enthusiasm of proclamation and witness.

If some regions and environments still wait for a first proclamation of the Gospel, everywhere, however, there is a need for it to be renewed. Frequently, in fact, knowledge of Christianity is taken for granted when in reality the Bible is little read and studied, catechesis is not always profound, and the Sacraments are seldom frequented. In this way, instead of authentic faith a vague and rather uncommitted religious feeling is disseminated, which can become agnosticism and practical atheism.

2. Today’s Europe calls for the presence of adult Catholics in the faith and Christian missionary communities that witness the love of God to all men (see Ecclesia in Europa, 50). This renewed proclamation of Christ needs to be accompanied by profound unity and communion within the Church, as well as by a sincere commitment to the ecumenical endeavor and the dialogue with followers of other religions. The Gospel is light that illumines all the vast area of social life: from the family, to the culture, the school, the university, young people, and the mass media, the economy, politics. Christ meets man where he lives and works, and gives full meaning to his existence.

3. «Church in Europe, enter the new millennium with the Book of the Gospel!» (n. 65). This is the call that sprang from the Synodal Assembly of 1999. May every ecclesial Community accept it with joy, becoming in each one of its components and in its totality a credible sign of the message of salvation.

May Mary Most Holy, Mother of the Church and Queen of the Apostles, obtain this for us.

[At the end of the «Angelus,» John Paul II said:]

Today’s meeting is also a propitious occasion to manifest our solidarity with our brothers and sisters of Africa, where along with progress and positive peace initiatives, foci of lethal violence still exist. I refer particularly to the tragic news that comes from Liberia.

In face of the trials of that dear nation, we cannot but implore all those who have weapons in their hands to put them down and make room for dialogue and the concerted action of the international community.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[Before bidding the pilgrims farewell, the Holy Father greeted them in several languages. To his English-speaking listeners, he said:]

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors who have joined us this afternoon in praying the «Angelus.» Through the intercession of Mary, may you and your families grow closer to her Son, Jesus, who is Lord and Savior of all mankind.

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