Unity of Bishops Fortifies Church's Voice, Says John Paul II

Thanks Prelates for Contribution to Public Discussions in U.S.

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 28, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed for communion among U.S. bishops in order to strengthen the Church's public testimony in their country.



"May you be ever more united in spirit, working tirelessly to enable the flock entrusted to your pastoral care to be witnesses of hope, heralds of God's Kingdom, and builders of the civilization of love which responds to the deepest aspirations of the human heart," the Pope told a group of visiting bishops from the United States.

The group included prelates of the ecclesiastical provinces of Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee, on their five-yearly visit to Rome.

"In the daily exercise of your ministry of teaching," the Holy Father said, "I encourage you to ensure that the spirituality of communion and mission finds expression in a sincere commitment on the part of each believer and of every one of the Church's institutions to the proclamation of the Gospel as the only fully valid response to the problems and hopes that life poses to every person and society."

"The profession of the Catholic religion demands of every member of the faithful a consistent witness to the truth of the Gospel and the objective requirements of the moral law," he reminded the bishops.

John Paul II thanked his guests for the efforts made "both as individuals and through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops … to contribute to an informed and respectful discussion of important issues affecting the life of your nation."

"In this way the light of the Gospel has been brought to bear on controversial social questions such as respect for human life, problems of justice and peace, immigration, the defense of family values, and the sanctity of marriage," he said.

The Pope added: "This prophetic witness, presented with arguments drawn not only from religious convictions which Catholics share with many other Americans, but also from the principles of right reason and law, is a significant service to the common good in a democracy like your own."