George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.

ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome

Gospel-Culture Rift Needs Mending, Says Pontiff
Addresses Bishops of Ontario

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 8, 2006 ( A major obstacle to
evangelization is the "split between the Gospel and culture," says Benedict XVI.

"In our increasingly secularized societies ... the love that flows from God's heart
toward humanity can be unperceived or even rejected," the Pope said today in his
address to bishops from Ontario, Canada, making their five-yearly visit to Rome.

The Holy Father continued: "On imagining that removing himself from this
relationship constitutes, one way or another, a solution for his liberation, man
becomes in fact a stranger to himself, because 'in reality, the truth is that only
in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light.'

"By their lack of interest in the love that reveals the fullness of the truth of
man, numerous men and women continue to estrange themselves from God's dwelling to
live in the desert of individual isolation, social brokenness and the loss of
cultural identity."

Benedict XVI told the Canadian bishops: "The fundamental task of the evangelization
of culture is the challenge to make God visible in the human face of Jesus.

"In helping individuals to recognize and experience the love of Christ, you will
awaken in them the desire to dwell in the house of the Lord, embracing the life of
the Church. This is our mission. It expresses our ecclesial nature and ensures that
every initiative of evangelization concurrently strengthens Christian identity."

The Bishop of Rome added that "we must acknowledge that any reduction of the core
message of Jesus, that is, the 'kingdom of God,' to indefinite talk of 'kingdom
values' weakens Christian identity and debilitates the Church's contribution to the
regeneration of society."

Christians lose their reason for being "when believing is replaced by 'doing' and
witness by talk of 'issues,'" the Pontiff said.

He added: "Today, the impediments to the spread of Christ's kingdom are experienced
most dramatically in the split between the Gospel and culture, with the exclusion of
God from the public sphere."

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