Benedict XVI Says Church's Dialogue With Culture Is Vital

Sees Challenges for New Evangelization

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Dialogue between the Church and culture in the postmodern era is «vital» for evangelization, insists Benedict XVI.

The Pope expressed this conviction when meeting today with a group of bishops from central and northeastern Mexico who were on their five-yearly visit to Rome.

«As missionary Church,» the Holy Father said, «we are all called to understand the challenges that the postmodern culture poses to the continent’s New Evangelization.»

«The dialogue of the Church with the culture of our time is vital for the Church herself and for the world,» he told the bishops who visited him at the papal summer residence south of Rome.

In particular, Benedict XVI insisted that it «is an urgent task» to form «in a responsible way the faith of Catholics, to help them live with joy and daring in the midst of the world.»

«Because of this,» he said, «catechesis, together with the teaching of religion and morality, must be the foundation of an ever better experience and knowledge of Jesus Christ through the living testimony of those who have encountered him, in order to foster the yearning to follow him and serve him with all one’s heart and soul.»

A time of activism

This endeavor of evangelization of culture requires a prayer life, as «ours is a time of constant movement, which often ends in activism, with the easy risk of ‘doing for the sake of doing,'» noted the Pontiff.

«All this implies the need to revise our mentalities, attitudes and conduct, and to enlarge our horizons, committing ourselves to share and work with enthusiasm to respond to the great questions of the man of today,» he urged the Mexican prelates.

The formation of Christians and the evangelization of culture will also serve as a response to the expansion of religious sects, a phenomenon mentioned by the bishops in their reports to the Holy See.

To this problem the Pope said: «The activity of the sects and of the new religious groups in America, far from leaving us indifferent, should stimulate your particular Churches to offer the faithful more personalized religious attention, consolidating the structure of communion and proposing a purified popular religiosity, in order to make the faith of all Catholics more alive.»

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