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Pope urges increasing attention on Adult Faith Formation

In an address yesterday to the US Bishops of Portland, Seattle and Anchorage, Pope John Paul continued his reflections to the US bishops on the Episcopal "munus docenid" or teaching mission of the Church.

From the Vatican Information Service report of the meeting, His Holiness makes two major points:

  • "while catechetical programs for children and young people, especially in relation to sacramental preparation, remain essential, increasing attention must be paid to the particular needs of older adolescents and adults."
  • He stated that the Catholic's Church's "many religious, educational and charitable institutions exist for one reason only: to proclaim the Gospel. Their witness must always proceed 'ex corde Ecclesiae', from the very heart of the Church. It is of utmost importance, therefore, that the Church's institutions be genuinely Catholic: Catholic in their self-understanding and Catholic in their identity.

On the Catholic nature of her institutions, His Holiness said "All those who share in the apostolates of such institutions, including those who are not of the faith, should show a sincere and respectful appreciation of [the teaching mission of the Church] which is their inspiration and ultimate 'raison d'Ítre'."

He said that bishops and priests need to become "personally involved" with religious education professionals in "constant discernment of the actual needs of the different ages and groups" within the Church.

VIS – Church's teaching mission: a personal, institutional witness

25 Jun 2004