U.S. Has Role in Challenge of Evangelizing “New Global Culture”

Received a Group of American Bishops

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy SEPT. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II said that there is a need to evangelize a “new global culture,” and in this the Catholic Church in the United States has a particular role to play.

The Holy Father addressed American bishops of Boston and Hartford who are on an “ad limina” visit to Rome, a trip which every diocesan head must make every five years to report on the diocese.

The Pope singled out the “fundamental challenge” that the Church faces in effecting “a fruitful encounter between the Gospel and the new global culture which is rapidly taking shape as a result of unprecedented growth in communications and the expansion of a world economy.”

“I am convinced that the Church in the United States can play a critical role in meeting this challenge, since this emerging reality is in many ways the fruit of contemporary Western, and particularly American, experiences, attitudes and ideals,” he said.

“The new evangelization calls for a clear discernment of the profound spiritual needs and aspirations of a culture which, for all its aspects of materialism and relativism, is nonetheless profoundly attracted to the primordially religious dimension of the human experience and is struggling to rediscover its spiritual roots,” he added.

“For the Church in America, the evangelization of culture can thus offer a unique contribution to the Church’s mission ad gentes in our day,” the Holy Father continued.

“Through her preaching, her catechesis and her public witness, the Church is challenged to develop a new missionary style…capable of appealing to the spiritual needs of contemporary men and women and of offering them a clear and convincing response grounded in the truth of the Gospel,” the Pope stressed.

“Catholics of all ages must be helped to appreciate more fully the distinctiveness of the Christian message and its capacity to satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human heart in every age,” he concluded.

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