Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 18, 2006
Pope Benedict laments Canada's false freedom
Pope urges schools to fight relativism
By CAROL GLATZ
"In the name of 'freedom of choice' (the country) is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children."
- Pope Benedict
He cautioned them not to succumb to the push and pull of "social trends and spurious demands of opinion polls." Some Catholics, including politicians, had promoted Canada's redefinition of marriage.
He assured the bishops that paying witness to and defending Christ and the Church's teachings can be a bridge to dialogue, not an obstacle, because one's Christian faith "brings together reason and culture."
The pope reminded them that the Church's mission is "to make God visible in the human face of Jesus" and to help people "recognize and experience the love of Christ."
Any watering down of the Gospel message will only weaken Christian identity and debilitate "the Church's contribution to the regeneration of society," he said.
Also, when Christians find themselves too intent on doing or talking about issues and not enough on "believing" and paying witness to Christ, then "there is an urgent need to recapture the profound joy and awe of the first disciples," said the pope.
Education, even Catholic education, needs to fight the tide of relativism and uphold the love of truth, he said.
Relativism, which abandons a sense of there being one eternal truth, snuffs out "the sublime goals of life," he said.
It also results in "lowering the standards of excellence, a timidity before the category of the good, and a relentless but senseless pursuit of novelty parading as the realization of freedom," said the pope.
The president of the Ontario bishops' conference, Bishop Richard Smith of Pembroke, told the pope that the bishops and Catholic lay groups would remain active in promoting life issues and defending the traditional definition of marriage.
The Church was working to block attempts to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia, he said, and would be ready when the Canadian Parliament considers reopening the debate on the definition of marriage this fall.
Smith said the bishops were especially concerned about poverty in Ontario, especially among children and native peoples.
He also pointed to the need to help Catholics deepen their faith and help them be more active in Church life.
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