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Cardinal Wuerl: Synod strives to turn back ‘tsunami of secularism’

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington is pictured at the Pontifical North American College in Rome Oct. 2 after arriving for the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization, which begins at the Vatican Oct. 7 2012

As the synod’s relator, Cardinal Wuerl has reviewed preliminary suggestions from bishops’ conferences around the world and synthesized them in a speech he will deliver in Latin at the first working session Oct. 8. The cardinal will address the assembly again 10 days later, once more in Latin, to summarize hundreds of speeches by his fellow bishops.

Initiated by Blessed John Paul II and eagerly embraced by his successor, the new evangelization is a project aimed at reviving Catholic faith in increasingly secular societies, especially the wealthiest Western nations.

For Cardinal Wuerl, it is also an opportunity to fulfill the goal for which Blessed John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council: a faithful presentation of Catholic teachings in a way “attractive to a very rapidly changing culture.”

It’s no mere coincidence, the cardinal said, that the synod overlaps with the 50th anniversary of the opening of the council, Oct. 11, which Pope Benedict has designated as the beginning of a special Year of Faith. Like Vatican II, the cardinal said, the synod will emphasize continuity with the church’s ancient traditions.

“There is a continuum of Catholic faith going all the way back to the creed, going all the way back to the apostles,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “That continuum is where we find the articulation of our faith.”

Although Vatican II was faithful to the church’s traditional doctrines, the cardinal said, implementation of the council’s teachings in the 1960s and 1970s coincided with a “current of secularism sweeping the Western world,” especially Europe.

“It’s almost as if a tsunami of secularism washed across Western Europe and, when it receded, it took with it all of those foundational concepts: family, marriage, right and wrong, common good, objective order,” he said.

In Europe and beyond, the cardinal said, that secular wave accompanied a loosening of standards in Catholic religious education.

“Somehow we were to be catechizing without content,” the cardinal said, describing what he called a widespread attitude at the time. “Somehow there was supposed to be communicated some experience, some idea that God loves us, we love God, but it wasn’t rooted in the creed.

“As our Holy Father has pointed out so many times,” the cardinal said, “if you are not proclaiming the Christ that the church knows and lives, then you could be proclaiming a Christ that you’ve created.”

The cost of poor catechesis, Cardinal Wuerl said, was a “diminished allegiance from two generations” of Catholics.

A key part of the church’s response to that development was the Catechism of the Catholic Church, whose compilation was overseen by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when the future pope was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In another non-coincidence, the 20th anniversary of the catechism’s publication will also be celebrated Oct. 11.

The cardinal said the catechism has been the basis for dramatic improvement in religious education over the last two decades, especially in the United States. When he and other U.S. bishops met with Pope Benedict earlier this year during their “ad limina” visits, Cardinal Wuerl said he was happy to report the sound state of Catholic education at the elementary and secondary school levels.

“And at the level of the colleges?” the pope replied, with a smile and what the cardinal describes as a “twinkle in his eye.”

The church in America has a “long way to go” to bring Catholic higher education back into harmony with church teaching, the cardinal said, and an essential part of that effort is restoring the “institutional identity” of Catholic colleges and universities.

Effective evangelization, he explained, requires that “we speak out of our own identity as members of the church, as Catholics, as people who hold dear the creed, who worship at the table of the Eucharist, and who simply know Christ is with us.”

Despite the setbacks of earlier decades, he said he draws hope from the growing interest among youth in the teachings of the church.

“We have a whole new group of young people coming along,” the cardinal said, “and they’re saying, ‘this secular world isn’t answering my questions.’

“There is a lot of good happening,” he added. “We just have to find ways of tapping into it and inviting those young people to look to Christ for an answer.”

Quote from CNS

Herewith the vidoe link: The tsunami of secularism

The absolute reality of God is to be found beyond…

I like this Bishop! PC multiculturalism and secularism are destroying Christians’ freedom of religion – Bishop Egan

This article is all about what concerns 1catholicsalmon, to a t! Read on…

Bishop Philip Egan, the new Bishop of Portsmouth, has given a frank, outspoken interview to Vatican Radio in which he discusses the threat multiculturalism and secularism pose to our freedom of religion:

‘Our Christian Faith is essentially public and it does seek to influence and build a culture based on the revelation of Christ and natural law that is written into the human heart. And the role of religion in culture, and I thinks its one of its key roles really is to support natural law, things that are naturally true and good for the human person.

Of course living in a very pluralist and multi-ethnic culture there is a danger in our Western societies and the secularist agendas there to drive religion out of the public domain, to take it out of all public discourse and in the process of that they obliterate the Christian traditions on which our British cultures are actually based. These deprive us of our ability to express our religion in the public domain.

My concern is that the people who are making very important decisions about they way we live are doing that without the support of the faith traditions which can give us a clear view on what is true and good and loving for human beings to flourish, as a result they restrict our freedoms and begin to control us, ultimately leading to this relativistic – or what some term ‘politically-correct’ – world, which is actually destructive of human freedom in the long run, rather than liberating people. This is going to be for all Catholics and all Christians in Western societies an ongoing issue over the next decades”.

Bishop Egan also discussed the importance of the Year of Faith:

‘“I think the Year of Faith is a brilliant initiative from the Holy Father and it coincides of course for me with the beginning of my Episcopal ministry. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us all to deepen our faith because faith is really the most precious gift. Faith is very much today’s issue, particularly in Western countries. The question of faith, the meaning of life, the existence of God, the relationship between science and religion. I would really like to gently, in my first pastoral, ask people to do a number things: I’d like them to think about the Creed over the next twelve months and especially I want to encourage people to witness”.

Witness, according to Bishop Egan begins with the small things: “I’ve made a few suggestions, for example; why not wear a crucifix or a religious symbol? Or perhaps when you are out for a meal, make the sign of the Cross before you begin; or even simple things like saying, ‘Thank God’, when someone tells you good news. These can be very gentle forms of publically witnessing to our Christian faith”.

“I think the Year of Faith is a brilliant initiative from the Holy Father and it coincides of course for me with the beginning of my Episcopal ministry. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us all to deepen our faith because faith is really the most precious gift. Faith is very much today’s issue, particularly in Western countries. The question of faith, the meaning of life, the existence of God, the relationship between science and religion. I would really like to gently, in my first pastoral, ask people to do a number things: I’d like them to think about the Creed over the next twelve months and especially I want to encourage people to witness”.

Witness, according to Bishop Egan begins with the small things: “I’ve made a few suggestions, for example; why not wear a crucifix or a religious symbol? Or perhaps when you are out for a meal, make the sign of the Cross before you begin; or even simple things like saying, ‘Thank God’, when someone tells you good news. These can be very gentle forms of publically witnessing to our Christian faith”.

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2012/10/01/from_mary’s_dowry_a_gentle_new_evangelization/en1-625949

The Christian call to prayer

Prayer of the month

“O Lord, accompany your missionaries in the lands to be evangelized, put the right words on their lips and make their labours fruitful.” 
May  the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of Evangelization, accompany all Gospel missionaries.
—from Pope Benedict’s 2012 Message for World Mission Day, quoting Blessed John Henry Newman
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