Earlier today at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI met with journalists from the Italian “Civilta Cattolica”, a Jesuit magazine established by Blessed Pius IX in 1850. He told them that Catholics—particularly Catholic journalists--are called to develop a true dialogue with a world plagued by disorientation and “individualistic relativism.”
The Holy Father began his brief address recalling Pius IX’s "perpetual institution" of the publication, which gave it “a particular statue that established a special link with the Holy See."
He told the group that in order for the magazine to remain "faithful to its character and its duty," it must "continually renew itself, correctly interpreting 'the signs of the times'."
Faced with the spread of what he called "individualistic relativism and positivistic science, ... closed to God and His moral law though not always prejudiced against Christianity,“ Benedict said that “Catholics are called to develop dialogue with modern culture, opening it up to the perennial values of transcendence."
While lamenting these difficulties, the Holy Father also pointed to the "many signs of hope" in today's world, such as "a new sensitivity to religious values, ... renewed interest in Sacred Scripture, greater respect for human rights, and the desire to establish dialogue with other religions.”
“In particular,” he said, “faith in Jesus can help many to grasp the meaning of life and of the human adventure, giving them the points of reference that are often lacking in so frenetic and disoriented a world."
In this light, the Pope said that the mission of a magazine like "Civilta Cattolica" is "to participate in the modern cultural debate, both to propose - seriously but also in a way accessible to all - the truths of Christian faith with clarity and faithfulness to the Church's Magisterium, and to defend, with no desire for controversy, the truth which is sometimes distorted by baseless accusations leveled against the ecclesial community."
Benedict told the group that Vatican Council II should be a "beacon" to guide their magazine.
"The doctrinal and pastoral wealth it contains," he said, "have not yet been fully assimilated by the Christian community, even though 40 years have passed since its conclusion."
He closed by stressing that "Civilta Cattolica" must "divulge and support the action of the Church in all areas of her mission.”
“The magazine”, he added, “must give particular emphasis to spreading the Church's social doctrine, one of the themes it has covered most fully in its 155 years of life."