In the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Conference of the Dominican Episcopate, who today completed their ad limina visit.
"The fundamental aim of your pastoral ministry," the Pope told the bishops, "must be to ensure that the truth about Christ and the truth about man penetrate still more deeply into the various levels of Dominican society."
This task, said Benedict XVI, "not without difficulties, takes place among a people whose spirit is open and sensitive to the Good News." Despite the fact that in the Dominican Republic there are evident "symptoms of a process of secularization in which, for many people, God does not represent the source, the goal, or the ultimate meaning of life, in the end, as you well know, this people has a profoundly Christian soul."
"Another of the fundamental objectives of new evangelization," he continued, "is the family." In this context, he gave assurances that the Church supports families against "the great challenges they have to face," and "encourages them in their faith, safeguarding their perseverance in a Christian project for life, often subject to so many vicissitudes and dangers."
The Holy Father highlighted how the Church seeks to ensure that "the family remains a real environment in which a person is born, grows up and is educated for life, and in which parents, in their tender love for their children, prepare them for healthy interpersonal relationships that incarnate human and moral values in the midst of a society so marked by hedonism and religious indifference."
After stressing the need for the State authorities "to collaborate still more in the indispensable task of working in favor of families," the Pope affirmed that he was not unaware of "the difficulties facing the institution of the family in the country, especially with the drama of divorce and pressures to legalize abortion, as well as the spread of unions not in accordance with the Creator's design for marriage."
Promoting priestly and religious vocations, said Benedict XVI, "must be a priority for bishops and a commitment for all the faithful. In addition to integral formation, profound discernment of the human and Christian suitability of seminarians is required, so as to as to give the best possible guarantee of the dignified practice of their future ministry."
The Pope noted how in the field of migration the bishops dedicate "much energy to caring for groups of Dominicans abroad," and he called upon them "to accompany with great charity, as you do already, Haitian immigrants who have left their country seeking better living conditions for themselves and their families."
On the subject of the evangelization of culture, the Holy Father pointed out that "in this task we cannot overlook the social communications media: radio, television productions, videos and computer networks can be very useful for a wider diffusion of the Gospel. This task devolves particularly upon the laity."
Benedict XVI underlined the need to ensure that lay people receive "adequate religious formation, so as to enable them to face the numerous challenges of modern society. It is their task to promote human and Christian values that illuminate the political, economic and cultural life of the country, with the aim of instituting a more just and more equitable social order, in accordance with the Social Doctrine of the Church."
"At the same time, in accordance with ethical and moral norms, [the laity] must provide an example of honesty and transparency in the management of public affairs, in the face of the unseen and widespread blight of corruption, which at times even touches areas of political and economic power, as well as other spheres of public and social life."