Rise of Secularism Risks Making World Inhospitable, Warns Pope

Addresses Italian Prelates at Annual General Assembly

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI addressed the 64th General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference today, touching on the theme of "Adults in the community: mature in the faith and witnesses to humanity."

Reflecting on the rise of secularism in Europe, the Pope warned that a decline in the value of the spiritual and moral patrimony of the Church would result in a world that risks being an “inhospitable desert and the good seed is suffocated, trampled upon and lost."

“Unfortunately, it is God Himself who is excluded from the horizon of so many persons, and when the discourse on God does not meet with indifference, closure or rejection, it is nevertheless relegated to the subjective realm, reduced to an intimate and private event, marginalized from the public conscience," he said. “The heart of the crisis that wounds Europe passes through this abandonment, this lack of openness to the transcendent. It is a spiritual and moral crisis: man pretends to have an identity fulfilled simply in himself."

The Pontiff discussed the importance of the Second Vatican Council in responding to the crisis of faith, where the conciliar assembly reflected on the question of “Church, what do you say of yourself” while exhorting the bishops to “become increasingly men of God."

“We must let ourselves be found and seized by God, to help every person we meet to be reached by Truth," he said. "It is from the relationship with Him that our communion is born and that the ecclesial community is generated, which embraces all times and all places to constitute the one People of God."

The Pope also reflected on the them of the general assembly, speaking on the importance of adults that are mature in faith and witnesses of humanity with the goal of assuming responsibility in communicating with the the new generation.

“Watch and work so that the Christian community will be able to form adult persons in the faith because they have encountered Jesus Christ, who has become the fundamental reference of their life; persons who know Him because they love Him and they love Him because they have known Him; persons capable of giving solid and credible reasons of life," he said.

With Pentecost approaching this Sunday, Benedict XVI concluded the meeting with a prayer of reflection, asking the Holy Spirit to aid humanity in not excluding God, saying “that only where faith enters, do dignity and liberty flourish."

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-34837?l=english