ROME – Pope Benedict XVI decried Monday what he called "growing aversion" to the Christian faith in the world.
The pontiff in his homily in a Rome basilica didn't single out any geographic area, but his worry about the plight of the Christian minority in the Middle East will shape discussions Mideast bishops will hold later this year at a special meeting at the Vatican. [The situation of the Christians especially in Muslim majority countries is pitiful! The attacks against Christians are increasing for the simple reason that they are Christians. And yet, these Muslim "brothers" demand that we give them religious liberty in countries where they are a minority! Catholics cannot build churches or even worship in the open in Saudi Arabia yet they demand their human rights be respected in Europe! Where's is equality in that!]
The Vatican has repeatedly expressed concern about the flight of Christians from the overwhelmingly Muslim region as well as about the religious discrimination that many of those who remain are suffering.
Benedict urged Christians to invigorate efforts to spread their faith's message despite what he described as the unfriendly climate to Christianity in parts of the world.
'"In a world marked by religious indifference and even by a growing aversion toward the Christian faith, a new, intense activity of evangelization is necessary," the pope said. [And to quote Fr. Z, the pope's Marshall Plan to reinvigorate Catholicism by rediscovering our Catholic identity, through the liturgy and catechism!]
He urged Christians to overcome their differences through dialogue [not the ecumaniacal dialogue that waters down our Faith for the sake of accommodation!] so that they can unite their efforts to influence debates in society on ethical issues like abortion, euthanasia and the limits of science and technology.
Benedict was leading a Vespers service in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to mark the end of a week that the Vatican each year dedicates to prayers for Christian unity.
The pontiff has made better relations among Christians an important aim of his papacy. [The Pope of Christian Unity!]
Despite that goal, relations with Anglicans were strained [Oh really? Or is the journalist just lacing the article with some spice? Eh?] last year when Benedict made it easier for the conversion to Roman Catholicism by traditionalist Anglicans who are disillusioned by their own church's embrace of gay priests, blessing of same-sex marriages and women clergy.
It is as if the Catholic Church is once again in the Roman times when "being" just a Christian is a social scourge. Anti-catholic rhetoric is almost everywhere. Protestants, apostates and heretics in the Philippines devote their radio and TV programs for anti-Catholic propaganda. Even our own Catholic schools, no thanks to liberals and modernists, incubate anti-Vatican thought.