Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 5, 2005
Benedict retains his humility
Archbishop describes pope as well-informed and filled with faith
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
"We discussed the challenges of maintaining traditional Christian values in a rapidly changing society."
The focus of most of their discussion, he said, was on "our attempts to maintain traditional Christian values in a society that is changing day by day."
Same-sex marriage, the loss of Catholic schools in Quebec, and the diminishing number of vocations to the priesthood were all part of the conversation.
"We discussed the challenges of maintaining traditional Christian values in a rapidly changing society," Weisgerber said.
The "very inquisitive" Benedict XVI asked a lot of questions, and was extremely well informed, probably because of his language facility and extensive travels, Weisgerber said.
He described the meeting as a "courtesy call" that gives the pope an opportunity to put names and faces to Canadian representatives.
The conversation was made easy by the pope's facility in both of Canada's official languages.
Weisgerber reported that Gaumond told the pope that Catholics in Quebec have had to find new ways to ensure the faith formation of young people now that the province no longer supports Catholic schools.
The upside has been that more parents are becoming involved in the Church to ensure formation takes place, Weisgerber said.
In the rest of Canada, in provinces and communities where there have been no separate schools, "we're kind of soldiering on as we always have been doing for a long time."
Pope Benedict asked about vocations to both the priesthood and religious life in Canada.
"We told him the reality. We're struggling. We have some stabilization in some places and decline in others. It's still a great challenge," Weisgerber said.
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