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Excerpt of Address to US Bishops (Region IV) on ad limina visit

Following is an excerpt of the Holy Father's message to one of the groups of the United States bishops recently in Rome for their ad limina visit. His stress on the fact that "freedom" does not exist in a vacuum, but must be joined to truth, is a key for reversing the dynamics in our society that keep abortion going.

6b. Because Christians have come to know Christ and the liberating force of his Gospel, they have a particular responsibility to contribute to the renewal of culture. In this task, which pertains in a special way to the laity, Christ's followers should not cease to make present in all areas of public life the light which Christ's teaching sheds on the human condition. In contemporary culture there is often a weakening of the sense of the innate dependence of all human existence on the Creator, the capacity of the human mind to know the truth, and the validity of the universal and unchanging moral norms which guide all people in the fulfillment of their human vocation. When freedom is detached from the truth about the human person and from the moral law inscribed in human nature, then society and its democratic form of life are imperiled. For if freedom is not linked to truth and ordered to goodness, "the ground is laid for society to be at the mercy of the unrestrained will of individuals or the oppressive totalitarianism of public authority" (Evangelium Vitae, 96). In proclaiming the truths about the human person, human community and human destiny that they know from revelation and reason, Christians make an indispensable contribution to sustaining a free society, a society in which freedom nurtures genuine human development.


7. Dear Brother Bishops, as we approach the next Christian Millennium, encourage all Catholics in the United States to deepen their commitment to the Church's evangelizing mission. Lead them by your example, your conviction and your teaching. I pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and help you to inspire your people, so that the hearts of the faithful will burn more brightly with love for Christ and a desire to make him better known. Entrusting you and all the priests, religious and laity of your Dioceses to Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.


--March, 1998; Address to Bishops of Region IV (Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, Miami). Source: BOLLETTINO SALA STAMPA DELLA SANTA SEDE N. 112 -- 17.03.1998

 

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