Addressing members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope John Paul said today that Catholics must accept and practice the fullness of Catholic Doctrine.
Speaking to the participants of the Congregation’s biennial plenary assembly the Pontiff noted that it is their “delicate duty to promote and defend the truth of the Catholic faith in service to the Magisterium of the Successor of Peter,” and for this reason, their mission is “eminently pastoral.”
“Today's cultural context,” affirmed the Pope, “which is marked by both a widespread relativism and the tendency to a facile pragmaticism, demands more than ever a courageous proclamation of the truth that saves man and a renewed evangelizing impetus.”
He added that “full adherence to the Catholic truth does not diminish, but rather exalts human freedom and draws it towards its fulfillment, in a love that is free and filled with concern for the good of all men.”
John Paul II told the members of the congregation he wished to highlight three themes in his talk: the reception by the faithful of magisterial documents, the natural moral law, and the “notable increase” in the number of disciplinarian cases referred to the Congregation regarding sexual abuse by clerics.
Disoriented by the media
He pointed out that he had spoken to them on other occasions of “the reception of magisterial documents on the part of Catholic faithful, who are often disorientated more than informed by immediate reactions to and interpretations by the media.”
“In reality,” he continued, “reception of a document must be seen above all as an ecclesial event of welcoming the Magisterium in the communion and most cordial sharing of the doctrine of the Church.”
“It is a question in fact of an authoritative word that shines light on a truth of faith or on several aspects of Catholic doctrine that are contested or distorted by particular currents of thought or action,” he also said.
In this regard, the Pope asked the congregation to plan “opportune methods of transmission and diffusion of the document itself which allows for full awareness, above all, by the pastors of the Church.”