Pope Exhorts Bishops Amid Mexico's Transition

Prelates on Visit to Holy See

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 8, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged Mexican bishops to have “boldness in the faith” in order to inspire their countrymen who seek to build a just society respectful of human rights.

The Pope gave that advice when he addressed the bishops of northeast Mexico today at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. The prelates were ending their five-yearly visit to the Holy See.

“Today,” the Holy Father said, “Mexico is going through a process of transition characterized by the emergence of groups that, at times in a more or less ordered way, seek new ways of participation and representation.”

“Many of them support with particular force the claim in favor of the poor and those excluded from development, particularly the Indians,” Benedict XVI observed.

“The profound yearnings to consolidate a culture and democratic, economic and social institutions which recognize human rights and the people’s cultural values, must find an echo and an enlightened response in the pastoral action of the Church,” he said.

Signs of credibility

Minutes earlier, the Mexican prelates, headed by Archbishop José Fernández Arteaga of Chihuahua, had asked the Pope for his insight into their country’s period of transition.

“The present-day society questions and observes the Church, insisting on coherence and boldness in the faith,” the Holy Father told his visitors. “Visible signs of credibility will be the testimony of life, the unity of believers, the service to the poor and the untiring promotion of their dignity.

“In the evangelizing task one must be creative, always in fidelity to the Tradition of the Church and her magisterium.”

Benedict XVI added: “As we find ourselves in a new culture characterized by the mass media, the Church in Mexico must take advantage, in this respect, of the cooperation of her faithful, the preparation of so many men of culture, and the opportunities that public institutions grant in the matter of such media.

“To put Christ’s face in that media environment requires a serious formative and apostolic effort which cannot be delayed, also needing the contribution of all.”

The Church in Mexico does not enjoy full freedom to be able to be present in the media, the episcopal conference said in a statement Aug. 10.

About 90% of Mexico’s 106 million inhabitants are baptized Catholics.

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