Pope Benedict XVI cut to the chase when meeting with the visiting bishops from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and the U.S. armed services.
The pope mentioned “religious freedom” in the third sentence of his Jan. 19 remarks at the Vatican and he never let up — returning to this hot topic again and again.
The bottom line, he said, is that America’s once-strong political consensus has “eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.”
It doesn’t matter if these attacks originate in “radical secularism,” “radical individualism,” a “merely scientific rationality” or suppressive forms of “majority rule,” said Benedict, during one in an ongoing series of meetings with American bishops. Catholic leaders must strive to defend church teachings in ways that reach all believers in their care — including Catholic politicians.
Within hours, these American bishops had good cause to reflect on one Benedict passage in particular.
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