Dennis Sewell Let’s not savour the BBC’s crisis CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20
Melanie McDonagh Catholics: rise up and defy groupthink COMMENT, PAGE 12
Bishop Nazir-Ali We can stop the rise of secularism FEATURE, PAGE 8
October 12 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Pope says ‘being tepid is the greatest danger for Christians’ as synod opens
BY CINDY WOODEN
POPE BENEDICT XVI has said that the greatest danger facing Christians today is that of being lukewarm about the faith.
Speaking on the first full day of the synod of bishops on the new evangelisation, the Pope said: “Being tepid is the greatest danger for Christians. We pray that faith becomes like a fire in us and that it will set alight others.”
The Pope told more than 260 cardinals, bishops and priests that evangelisation means helping people to understand that God himself has responded to their questions, and that his response – the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ – is available to them as well.
He said: “Our role in the new evangelisation is to cooperate with God. We can only let people know what God has done.”
In a 21-minute, off-the-cuff reflection during morning prayer at the synod’s opening session, Pope Benedict spoke of the importance of prayer in the Church’s push for a new evangelisation, the meaning of evangelisation and sharing the Gospel through both proclamation and charity.
The Pope examined the use of the word evangelion, the Greek term that is the root of the English word “evangelisation”, which is itself translated as “Gospel”.
In the Book of Isaiah, he noted, the Hebrew equivalent of the word describes “the voice that announces a victory, that announces goodness, joy and happiness”, transmitting the message that “God has not forgotten his people” and that he intervenes with power in history to save them.
In the New Testament, the Pope said, evangelion is the good news of the Incarnation of Christ, the coming of God’s Son into the world to save humanity.
For the people of Israel suffering under Roman rule it was truly good news that God spoke to his people and came to live among them, the
Bishops and cardinals are seated in St Peter’s Square for the Mass opening the world Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation
Pope said. News of Jesus’s birth was the answer to those who questioned whether there really was a God, whether he knew his people and the circumstances of their lives and whether he had any power to change their situation.
People today have the same questions, the Pope said: “Is God a reality or not? Why is he silent?”
When Christians evangelise, they must remember that their “faith has content”, and that what they believe and seek to share with others is outlined in the Creed, he said. They must use their intelligence to reflect on the tenets of their faith and use their mouths to proclaim it. Because faith isn’t an abstract notion, Christians also must live their faith and share it with the world through acts of charity and love, the Pope said.
The synod formally opened on Sunday with a Mass in St Peter’s Square.
During his homily Pope Benedict said that the “Church exists to evangelise” by strengthening the faith of those who already have been baptised and reaching out to those who “have drifted away from the Church”.
“At various times in history,” he said, “divine providence has given birth to a renewed dynamism in the Church’s evangelising activity ... Even in our own times, the Holy Spirit has nurtured in the
Church a new effort to announce the good news.”
He said the modern effort to proclaim salvation in Christ found “a more universal expression and its most authoritative impulse in the Second Vatican Council”. Reports: Page 5 Editorial Comment: Page 13
Bishop: we aren’t afraid of a debate
POPE BENEDICT XVI has convoked the Synod of Bishops, currently in session in Rome, to debate and discuss the urgent question of how to re-present the Catholic Faith in a manner which is both engaging and meaningful to the people of our time. The term “synod” comes from the Greek and literally means “walking the road together”. It represents a time-honoured ecclesial instrument of Church government and organisation, whether diocesan, regional, national or even international. As the theme of the synod affirms, the Church today needs to discover a “new evangelisation” to transmit afresh the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the answer to the deeper longings and aspirations of the human heart in a rapidly complex and often confusing world. The challenge facing this particular synod is both pastoral and doctrinal: how to reaffirm and deepen the faith of our Catholic people so as to re-awaken their confidence as evangelisers, while remaining firmly in continuity with the “deposit of faith” which has come down to us from the Apostles.
The synod provides a forum for an exchange of views and experiences from bishops and others from every part of the world on what they find are the most effective ways of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel in our time. I would...
Continued on Page 2
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Catholic leaders praise ‘beautiful and ethical’ Nobel Prize research BY SIMON CALDWELL
CATHOLIC leaders in Europe have hailed the decision to give a Nobel Prize to two pioneers of adult stem-cell research as a triumph for ethics.
The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, known as COMECE, said that awarding the Nobel Prize to John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka represented an “important milestone” in recognising the superior potential of adult stem-cell research over destructive experimentation on human embryonic stem cells.
The Anscombe Bioethics Centre, an institute serving the Church in Britain and Ireland, also described the award as an “achievement of great ethical significance”.
David Jones, director of the Anscombe Centre, said: “This technique offers hope of progress in stem-cell research without relying on the unethical destruction of human embryos. This is science at its best: both beautiful and ethical.”
The Nobel committee said Dr Gurdon and Dr Yamanaka had “revolutionised” science through their work. Both scientists were involved in research into changing mature cells into stem cells, which have the potential to become specialist organ cells and be harvested in the potential treatment of a variety of diseases.
Dr Yamanaka has said he was spurred to conduct the research after looking at a human embryo down a microscope. “I suddenly realised there was a small difference between it and my daughters,” he said. “I thought, we can’t keep destroying embryos for our research. There must be another way.”
Lord Alton, meanwhile, said it was a pity that Britain had not followed the example of Dr Yamanaka “instead of going down a scientific blind alley which has industrialised the mass destruction of life”.
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Bishop: put rosary beads in your car BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
ENGLAND’S newest bishop has urged his flock to display rosary beads in their cars during the Year of Faith, which began yesterday.
In a pastoral letter to his diocese, Bishop Egan of Portsmouth encouraged the faithful to “install a rosary or devotional item in your car” to mark the year. He also urged schools to say the Angelus.
The recently consecrated bishop called on congregations to manifest their Catholic faith in various public ways.
He said: “We should also try to make our faith more public, that is, to give witness. For example, why not wear a crucifix or a religious symbol? Or invite a non-practising friend to accompany you to Mass? ... Or make the Sign of the Cross when you are out for a meal, and say ‘grace’ as a family?
“Why not say ‘Thank God’, when someone tells you good news or ‘Please God’, when they tell you their hopes and aspirations?” Editorial Comment: Page 13
Hans Küng has statue of himself in garden BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THEOLOGIAN Fr Hans Küng has a life-size statue of himself in his front garden, it emerged last week.
An interviewer from the Guardian noted that Fr Küng looks out on a “two-metretall” statue of himself from his study window, which he says is a gift from the Foundation for a Global Ethic, which he runs from home.
In the interview, Fr Küng accused Pope Benedict XVI of “peculiar pomposity” and said “such pomposity did not fit the man I and others knew, who once walked around in a Basquestyle cap and was relatively modest”.
He added: “Now he’s frequently to be seen wrapped in golden splendour and swank. By his own volition he wears the crown of a 19thcentury pope, and has even had the garments of the Medici pope Leo
X re-made for him.”
He also described Benedict XVI’s pontificate as a “pontificate of missed opportunities”.
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