Meeting at his summer residence of Castelgandolfo earlier today, Pope Benedict told visiting prelates from the Mexican bishop’s conference that the Church in Mexico must accompany all members of society--especially the young--in sifting through new challenges in an increasingly pluralistic society.
The Pope told the bishops, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit, that "the Mexican nation came into being as a meeting of peoples and cultures, their nature and character marked by the living presence of Jesus Christ and the mediation of Mary."
"Today,” the Holy Father said however, “Mexico is experiencing a process of transition characterized by the appearance of groups that, in a more or less ordered fashion, seek new areas for participation and representation.”
He said that “Many of them, with particular force, advocate claims in favor of the poor and of those excluded from development, especially indigenous people."
"The profound desire to consolidate democratic, economic and social culture and institutions that recognize human rights and the cultural values of the people, must find an echo and an illuminating response in the Church's pastoral activity," Benedict encouraged the prelates.
The Pope particularly stressed the necessity of "integral formation in all areas of the Church," which, he said, is "particularly necessary for the young" because in abandoning the Church after the sacraments of initiation "they find themselves in a society marked by growing religious and cultural pluralism.”
“Moreover”, he continued, “they face, at times alone and disoriented, currents of thought according to which man achieves fullness through technological, political and economic power, with no need of God or even against God. For this reason it is necessary to accompany young people, to invite them enthusiastically so that, integrated again into the ecclesial community, they take up the commitment of transforming society as a fundamental requirement of following Christ."
"In the same way," the Holy Father said, "families need adequate accompaniment in order to discover and experience their dimension as 'domestic church.' The father and mother need to receive formation to help them become the 'first evangelizers' of their children."
New culture; new challenges
The Pope noted that "the Church in Mexico reflects the pluralism of the society itself, which is composed of many differing realities, some of them very good and promising, others more complicated. Faced with this situation, and while respecting local and regional realities, bishops must favor organic pastoral processes that give greater meaning to expressions deriving from mere tradition or custom."
"Because we find ourselves”, he pointed out, “in a new culture marked by the means of social communication, in this area the Church in Mexico must take advantage of the collaboration of the faithful, the education of so many men and women of culture, and the opportunities provided by public institutions."
Concluding, the Pope stressed that "Bringing the face of Christ to this media environment requires serious formative and apostolic efforts that cannot be delayed and that require a contribution from everyone."