This was one of the messages of the Pope’s address today to the general assembly of the Italian bishops’ conference, held in the Vatican.
“The presence of the Church in the midst of the Italian population,” he said, “is characterized above all by a large network of parishes and by the vitality that they continue to express, despite the great changes in the society and culture.”
Yet, the parishes must assume “a more missionary attitude in daily pastoral care,” the Holy Father said.
He asked parishes to be open to “a more intense collaboration with all the living forces that the Church has at her disposal.”
“It is very important, in this connection, that communion be reinforced between the parish structures and the various charismatic realities that have arisen in the last decades, amply present in Italy, so that the mission reaches all realms of life,” the Pope said.
This communion, Benedict XVI added, must also take into account the “presence of religious communities, which are still numerous in Italy despite the lack of vocations.”