Pontiff Urges Practicing What You Preach

Says Laity Need to Be Coherent When It Comes to Politics

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says laypeople are called to show the unity that should exist between faith and life, and urged Christian politicians to be coherent with the faith they profess.

The Pope said this Saturday when he received participants in the 23rd plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which began Thursday. The assembly was dedicated to a consideration of John Paul II's apostolic exhortation "Christifideles Laici," some 20 years after its publication.

As challenges for the future, the Holy Father stressed the need for greater and better formation, especially of young people, as well as greater "coherence of life."

"Every realm, circumstance and activity in which it is to be hoped that the unity between faith and life can shine, is entrusted to the responsibility of the lay faithful, moved by a desire to communicate the gift of encountering Christ and the certainty of the dignity of the human person," he said.

The Pontiff further contended that there is an urgent need for "evangelical formation and pastoral support of a new generation of committed Catholics in politics."

Christian politicians must be "coherent with the faith they profess, have moral rigor, the capacity to make judgments regarding culture, professional competence and the passion to serve the common good," he affirmed.

Women

The Bishop of Rome also noted the particular role of women in ecclesial and social life.

"Not enough will ever be said about how much the Church acknowledges, appreciates and values women's participation in their mission at the service of the spread of the Gospel," he said.

Benedict XVI exhorted Christian women to have the "courage to address demanding tasks," though he acknowledged that in doing this, they need "special sharpness in discerning the cultural currents of our time, and that special passion in caring for all that is human, which characterizes [women]."

Finally, the Pope mentioned the importance of the witness of young people and their formation and contact with the tradition of the Church, as manifested in World Youth Days.

"New generations," he said, "not only are the preferential recipients of the transmission and sharing of the Catholic tradition, but are also individuals who expect in their own heart proposals of truth and happiness, to be able to give Christian witness of them, as already occurs in an admirable way."