The thesis of Benedict XVI is that Christianity is so divided both because of a mutual rivalry expressed in "prophetic actions" that tend to distinguish and divide the communities from "communion with the Church in every age," and because of "a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies."
So instead of preaching Jesus Christ "and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2) – meaning the "objective truth" of the apostolic faith – many Christians of the various denominations prefer to urge each one to follow his own conscience and choose the community that best meets his personal tastes.
In the judgment of Benedict XVI, this reluctance to assert the centrality of doctrine "for fear that it would only exacerbate rather than heal the wounds of division" is also present within the ecumenical movement.
On the contrary, this is the appeal of the pope:
"Only by 'holding fast' to sound teaching (2 Thess 2:15; cf. Rev 2:12-29) will we be able to respond to the challenges that confront us in an evolving world. Only in this way will we give unambiguous testimony to the truth of the Gospel and its moral teaching. This is the message which the world is waiting to hear from us."
This appeal is all the more relevant "just at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel (cf. Rom 1:18-23)."
For the day by day commentary, see the other articles at Chiesa Online
For the text of the Holy Father's addresses:
- On the plane: <I Go to the United States with Joy
- To President Bush: <Faith Sheds New Light on All Things
- To the Bishops: <The People of This Country Are Known for Their Great Vitality and Creativity
- Homily at National's Stadium: <Americans Have Always Been a People of Hope
- To Catholic Educators: <Freedom Is Not an Opting Out, it Is an Opting In
- To Religious Leaders: <A United Society Can Indeed Arise From a Plurality of Peoples
- To Members of the Jewish Community: <On the Feast of Pesah
- To Other Religious Communities: <Address at the Ecumenical Prayer Service
- To UN Staff: <Meeting with Staff of the United Nations
- To the UN General Assembly: <Human Rights Must Be Respected as an Expression of Justice
- To the Disabled: <Meeting with Young People Having Disabilities
- To Young People and Seminarians: <Meeting with Young People and Seminarians
- Homily at St. Patrick's Cathedral: <Votive Mass for the Universal Church
- At Ground Zero: <God of Peace, Bring Your Peace to Our Violent World
- Homily at Yankee Stadium: <Look to the Future with Hope
- Farewell Address: <Promote Peaceful Co-Existence among Nations
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