Italian Bishops' President Suggests Path to Reawaken Yearning for God

Looks at Example of World Youth Day

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By Antonio Gaspari

ROME, JAN. 25, 2012 ( It is unacceptable that «the door of faith» remains closed, that «salt becomes insipid» and that «light is hidden,» says Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

These were assertions from his opening address Monday to the Permanent Council of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI).

Referring to the Holy Father’s decision to convoke the Year of Faith, CEI’s president explained that the threshold of the door of faith «is the mystery and calamity of every life, dilemma and drama, as well as fascination and hope.»

«Each one, sooner or later, is before that door,» he added, citing the Pontiff’s words. «It is better for us, then, if we are not found enveloped in indolence.»

According to the archbishop of Genoa, at «the core of the crisis of the Church in Europe is the crisis of faith.» Said in the Pope’s words, «if the faith is not revitalized, becoming a profound conviction and a real force of grace to encounter Jesus Christ, all other reforms will be ineffective.»

Cardinal Bagnasco said that it «seems that a strange reticence exists to say Jesus, a sort of weariness, a skepticism that at times is contagious.»

«On the contrary, there is the verifiable enthusiasm of young people and of young continents, beginning with Africa, where we witness an impressive vitality and great passion for the Gospel,» he noted.

CEI’s president explained the pastoral challenge and posed the quaestio fidei «how to reawaken in oneself and in others a yearning for God and the joy to live and witness it?»

On the question of what to do and how to rediscover the roots of «why I believe,» Cardinal Bagnasco pointed to the experience of the World Youth Day, «which is revealing a new, rejuvenated way of being Christians.»

He also pointed to the experience of Holy Land pilgrimages, as well as the cultural exchange between immigrants and natives, and between international students and their peers.

«If all this is attempted, for an organic integration and intelligent support of ordinary pastoral ministry, then new ways will certainly open for the Gospel,» he concluded.

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