.- In a letter to the new president of the Bishops’ Conference of Italy, Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said the urgent pastoral needs in Italy have to do with the evangelization of young people and adults, as well as with clergy discipline and a renewed promotion of priestly vocations.
In a letter dated March 25, Cardinal Bertone highlighted the work done by Cardinal Camilo Ruini during his 15 years as head of the bishops’ conference, and he called the election of Archbishop Bagnasco “a sign of continuity in the consolidation of the Christian witness and of the promotion of the family and an encouragement for pastors to face not only these issues, but also the challenges that await this ecclesial community, with an authentic spirit of collegiality.”
Cardinal Bertone recalled his years as Archbishop of Genoa and he expressed his concern over “the advance of secularization and the progressive weakening of the Italian ecclesial fabric.”
For this reason, Bertone noted the need for pastors of the Church, “to give priority to the evangelization and catechesis of young people and adults,” as well as to the “recovery of a motivated clergy discipline” and to a “common effort” to promote priestly vocations.
The Vatican Secretary of State emphasized that in political affairs, the Church in Italy can always count on “the cordial collaboration and respectful guidance of the Holy See.”
“In recent months I have been able to appreciate the work which the Pontiff has entrusted to this Secretariat, his interest in promoting relations with states and attending to the affairs that, always for pastoral purposes, should be treated with civil governments. I am conscience that such a role requires particular solicitude for this noble country, formed in the Christian faith and upon whose territory, by divine will, rests the Chair of Peter,” Cardinal Bertone said.