Relativism Needs a Response, Pope Says
Urges Puerto Rican Bishops to Make God Palpable
VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2007 ( Zenit.org ).- Religious indifference and relativism require a response from pastors of the Church, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this Saturday to the bishops of Puerto Rico, who were in Rome for their five-yearly visit.
Analyzing the situation of the Caribbean island, the Holy Father, speaking in Spanish, said: "Over the last few years many things have changed in the social, economic and even religious field, at times opening the way to religious indifference and to a certain moral relativism that influences Christian practices and which, indirectly, also affects the structures of society.
"This religious situation calls out to you as pastors and requires that you remain united, in order to make the presence of the Lord more palpable among mankind through joint pastoral initiatives that respond to these new realities."
The Pontiff also noted "the spread of a mentality inspired by secularism which, more or less consciously, gradually leads to derision or ignorance of the sacred, relegating faith to a merely private sphere."
"A correct notion of religious freedom is not compatible with such an ideology, which at times presents itself as the only voice of reason," he added.
Benedict XVI said the family "finds itself beset by the many snares of the modern world, such as overriding materialism, the quest for immediate pleasure and the lack of stability and faithfulness in couples."
He continued: "This panorama demonstrates the need to intensify, as you are already, an incisive form of pastoral care of families, to help Christian couples accept the fundamental values of the sacrament they have received.
"Therefore, through your teachings, faithful to Christ, proclaim the truth of the family as a domestic Church and sanctuary of life, in the face of certain trends that, in today's society, try to eclipse or confuse the unique and irreplaceable value of marriage between man and woman."
The Pope mentioned the rights of youth, noting that "religious indifference and the temptation to an easy moral permissiveness, as well as ignorance of the Christian tradition with its rich spiritual patrimony, exert a great influence over new generations."
"Young people have the right, from the very beginnings of their formation process, to be educated in the faith," he said.
"For this reason, in the integral education of the very young, religious education must not be neglected, also in schools," the Holy Father affirmed. "A solid religious formation will be, therefore, an effective protection from the advancement of sects and other religious groups widely diffused today."