Pope tells editors to confront cultural relativism

At a private audience with the editorial staff of the Italian Jesuits' journal Civilta' Cattolica, Pope Benedict XVI said Catholics must find ways to challenge a society that is steadily more hostile to religion and to the standards of moral law.

Catholic World News reports that the Pope met on Friday with the editors, who were accompanied by Fr Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the superior general of the Society of Jesus. Civilta' Cattolica was founded by Pope Pius IX in 1850, and entrusted to the editorial control of the Jesuit order. It is regarded as a semi-official publication of the Holy See, since its articles are reviewed in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State.

In his remarks to the 45 members of the magazine's staff, Pope Benedict called attention to the origins of the magazine, and the special ties that link Civilta' Cattolica to the Holy See. He reminded the editors that their product should "divulge and support the action of the Church in all areas of her mission," with a special emphasis on Catholic social teaching.

To remain "faithful to its character" in our times, the Holy Father continued, the Jesuit journal must confront the "individualistic relativism and positivistic science" that dominate contemporary thought. In society that is more and more "closed to God and his moral law," he said, Catholic leaders must work to "develop dialogue with modern culture," prodding people to recognize transcendent principles.

Despite the widespread hostility toward religious faith in modern culture, the Pope sees several signs of hope for evangelising efforts. Among these signs are "a new sensitivity to religious principles," revived interest in the Bible, and greater recognition of fundamental human rights. Above all, he said, for contemporary men, "faith in Jesus can help many to grasp the meaning of life and of the human adventure, giving them the points of reference that are often lacking in so frenetic and disoriented a world."

The particular mission of Civilta' Cattolica, the Pope repeated, is to enrich cultural debate, setting forth Catholic teachings in a way that modern readers will find attractive. He underlined the need for the editors to defend the teachings of the Church magisterium, and to rebut "baseless accusations leveled against the ecclesial community."

Confront cultural relativism, Pope asks Jesuit editors (Catholic World News 17/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
La Civilta' Cattolica
Pope Benedict XVI: To the College of Writers of the magazine «La Civiltą Cattolica» (Italian, February 17, 2006)

Riddle as Pope demotes British archbishop over his 'lifestyle' (The Scotsman 17/2/06)
Pope's condolences for the victims of Leyte landslide (AsiaNews.it 17/2/06)
Pope: Jesus heals man paralysed by sin (AsiaNews.it 19/2/06)
Engage in modern cultural debate, defend truths of Church, Pope tells Italian Catholic journalists (Catholic News Agency 19/2/06)
John L. Allen: The coming consistory (National Catholic Reporter 17/2/06)
Fitzgerald move signals Curia shake-up (The Tablet 18/2/06)
He who holds the keys to the kingdom (The Tablet 18/2/06)
Annuncio del Vangelo e testimonianza concreta della caritą (L'Osservatore Romano 19/2/06 - temporary url)
The new pope, without prejudice (Washington Times 12/2/06)
Pope's Visit to Turkey Seen as a Crucial Test (Zenit 16/2/06)
Message Focuses on Eucharist's Role in Charity (Zenit 16/2/06)
Pope's Homily at Vatican's Parish Church (Zenit 16/2/06)
Evangelization Needs Dialogue With Modernity, Says Pope (Zenit 17/2/06)
Pope's Homily on World Day of Consecrated Life (Zenit 17/2/06)

Civilta Cattolica: Faithfully divulge Church teaching (Vatican Information Service 19/2/06)
Australian Bishops issue Pastoral Letter on the Church and the Media (Kath.net 18/2/06)
Church must be more open with media, say Australian bishops (Catholic News Agency 19/2/06)
Confront cultural relativism, Pope asks Jesuit editors (Catholic World News 17/2/06)
"Go Tell Everyone": Australian Bishops issue Pastoral Letter on the Church and the Media (Fides 17/2/06)
John L. Allen: The church and the media (National Catholic Reporter 17/2/06)

20 Feb 2006