.- Speaking to a group of bishops from Australia who are in Rome for their âad liminaâ visit, Pope John Paul II said that bishops must be âfearless prophetsâ of truth and hope.
The Pontiff warned that âthe pernicious ideology of secularism has found fertile ground in Australia. At the root of this disturbing development is the attempt to promote a vision of humanity without God,â which has as a consequence âthe undermining of family life and a drift away from the Church.â
âIn the face of such challenges,â he stated, âBishops must stand out as fearless prophets, witnesses and servants of the hope of Christâ and proclaim hope âwhich springs from the Cross,â leading men and women âfrom the shadows of moral confusion and ambiguous thinking into the radiance of Christâs truth and love.â
Turning to the Churchâs witness through worship, the Holy Father emphasized that âSunday is the âsupreme day of faithâ, âan indispensable dayâ, âthe day of Christian hope!â Any weakening in the Sunday observance of Holy Mass weakens Christian discipleship.â
âIntimately linked to the liturgy is the Churchâs mission to evangelize,â he continued. âSent by the Lord himself into the vineyard â the home, the workplace, schools, civic organizations â disciples of Christ find no room for âstanding idle in the marketplaceâ, nor can they be so deeply immersed in the internal organization of parish life, that they are distracted from the command to evangelize others actively.â
The Pope said later that âincisive and faithful explanation of Christian doctrine regarding marriage and the family is of utmost importance in order to counter the secular, pragmatic and individualistic outlook which has gained ground in the area of legislation and even a certain acceptance in the realm of public opinion.â
âIt is the Bishopâs particular task to ensure that within civil society â including the media and entertainment industry sectors â the values of marriage and family life are supported and defended,â he concluded.