Praising the Chilean bishops for their efforts to promote a continent-wide movement of evangelization, Pope Benedict called on the prelates to also bring the light of faith to all sectors of society.
In Rome for their “ad limina” visit—a visit that entails giving an account of the state of their dioceses to the Pope—the bishops of Chile were warmly received by the Holy Father on Thursday morning. The Pope spoke of his happiness at the meeting which, he said, "gives me the chance to share the apostolic labors in the beloved land of Chile."
Turning to pastoral matters, Pope Benedict encouraged the bishops "to cultivate intense interior life and profound faith so that, through the intimate relationship with the Master in prayer, the pastoral initiatives that best respond to the spiritual needs of the faithful might arise."
Following the recent meeting of the Bishops of Latin American and the Caribbean, the bishops had agreed to embark on a “Great Continental Mission” to evangelize South America.
As the conversation between the Pope and the Chilean bishops turned to this mission, Benedict XVI reminded the bishops that "this great evangelizing mission ... requires particular efforts of purification and charity from everyone.
“You are well aware that mankind today feels the urgent need for examples of truly evangelical and coherent life. For this reason the saintliness of all members of the Church, and especially of her pastors, is one of the most precious gifts you can offer your brothers and sisters," the Pope said.
Pope Benedict then extended his vision for the Great Continental Mission from the Church into society-at-large.
"All sectors of life can be illuminated with the light of the faith. I am thinking, among other areas, of the world of culture, science and politics; of the promotion of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman; of the creation of more just working conditions and the assistance of the disadvantaged; of concern for the environment; of defence of human life at every stage of existence, and of the right and obligation of parents to the spiritual and moral education of their children,” the Holy Father explained.
Amidst this effort, "charitable activity in favor of the poor" must not be forgotten, he reminded the bishops, saying that "following the example of the first community of disciples, we must attempt to make the Church, like the family of God, a place of mutual assistance."
Finally the Pope told them "to continue to cultivate the spirit of communion with the Roman Pontiff and with brother bishops, especially with the episcopal conference and ecclesiastical provinces. ... For everyone, be true models and instruments of communion."