The Pope asks the bishops of mission countries for courage and enthusiasm in the work of evangelization
The “shared and joyful... lively and creative” faith of the young Catholic communities in mission countries is “a sign of hope for the future of the universal Church”. The Pope said this to the recently appointed bishops who are taking part in these days in the formation course sponsored by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Receiving them in audience on Friday morning, 7 September, in the Hall of the Swiss in the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope asked them “to spare no efforts or courage for painstaking pastoral work”, with a view to fully mature faith and ever better missionary cooperation among the young communities in the mission countries.
Benedict XVI considers that the prelates should encourage “a correct inculturation of the faith”, so as to “embody the Gospel in the cultures of peoples”, assuming “the good that is alive within them”. It is a long and difficult process that requires “pastors configured to Christ for holiness of life, prudent and far-sighted”, but also priests with a strong Eucharistic spirituality and an intense life of prayer: “the world today needs people who speak to God if it is to be able to speak about God”.
The Pope also mentioned the difficult social context in which the missionary Churches are working. A context dramatically marked by “food, health and educational emergencies”, as well as by “cultural and religious discrimination, intolerance and factiousness, the result of forms of fundamentalism that reveal erroneous visions of man and lead to undervaluing, if not actually rejecting, the right to religious freedom, respect for the weakest, especially children, women and those with disabilities”. Hence the invitation to disseminate the “power for renewal” of the Gospel for reawakening consciences and encouraging reconciliation among peoples. In the awareness that faith “is the most important gift which has been made to us in our lives: we cannot keep it to ourselves!”.