Pope Benedict XVI has urged the bishops of Colombia to proclaim the importance of family life, based upon marriage between one man and one woman.
During a meeting with a delegation of Colombian bishops at Castel Gandolfo Sept. 10, the Pope noted “the devastating effects of increasing secularization,” which he said has undermined “the very foundations of the Catholic faith, marriage, the family and Christian morality.”
“So in the midst of these difficulties,” the pontiff added, “I invite to continue your efforts and to proclaim the integral truth about the family, founded on marriage as the domestic Church and a sanctuary of life.”
The Colombian bishops are making their regular “ad limina” pilgrimage to update both the Pope and the Vatican on health of the Church in the South American country where approximately 90 percent of the population identify themselves as Catholic.
“Colombia's history,” noted the Pope, “is indelibly marked by the deep Catholic faith of its people, their love for the Eucharist, devotion to the Virgin Mary and the witness of charity of noteworthy pastors and laity.”
With the Catholic Church in Colombia facing increasing challenges from evangelical forms of Christianity, as well as from secularization, the Pope welcomed news of the bishop’s apostolic ambitions.
Starting from this year the Episcopal Conference of Colombia is rolling out a “Global Plan” which aims, over an eight year period, to promote new evangelization across the country.
The Pope said he prayed “that the dynamism of interior renewal may help your people revitalize their love for the Lord” and that the Global Plan would instill in the people of Colombia “a firm hope to live their faith responsibly and joyfully and irradiate it in every environment.”
Pope Benedict was particularly keen to stress the importance of “successful youth ministry” to any new evangelization so that “new generations can clearly perceive that Christ seeks and wishes to offer the friendship.”
Jesus gave his life so that everybody, young people included, may have “abundant life”, said the Pope, suggesting that Christ does not want the human heart to be “drawn towards mediocrity or proposals that leave only emptiness and sadness behind.”
“He wants to help those who have the future in their hands to realize their most noble aspirations, so they may bring a fruitful contribution to society.”