This morning Pope Benedict received the Bishops of Togo, Africa and exhorted them to evangelize the family, the youth, and through the Catholic schools.
The Holy Father began his address to the bishops by thanking them for "your perseverance and courage in the face of the numerous difficulties your country has had to face over past years. On many occasions," he told them, "you have contributed to dialogue for national reconciliation.”
After highlighting the African prelates' commitment "to protecting and respecting life," Benedict XVI explained that "the promotion of the truth and dignity of marriage, and the defense of essential family values, must be one of your major priorities.
One topic that the pontiff paid particular attention to was the necessity of forming couples and families. He noted that evangelization begins in the family and that in the family young people learn the value of being uniquely faithful and committed.
The Pope also encouraged the bishops "to continue in efforts to promote Catholic schools, which are places of integral education at the service of families and of the transmission of the faith.”
“Despite the difficulties they may encounter, the schools' role is essential to ensure that young people receive a solid human, cultural and religious formation. May the educators and professors themselves," he exclaimed, "be models of Christian life for the young!"
Going on to refer to the urgent need for evangelization, the Holy Father explained how catechists must strive to bring “the evangelical message and faithfulness to the doctrine of the Church," to the culture of Togo. He also spoke about young people saying that they must welcome Christ into every dimension of their lives.
Benedict also stressed the importance of the formation of priests, consecrated people and the laity, so as to help them "face the difficult situations with which they are confronted and transmit the contents of the faith through the witness of their lives, upheld by strong personal convictions.” To aid them in this the Holy Father recommended the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church as a valuable instrument.
At the end of his address, the Holy Father referred to the need "to pursue and develop the cordial relations that exist with Muslims in Togo. Such relations, he concluded, "are indispensable for ensuring concord and harmony among all citizens, and for promoting the shared values of humanity."