Extend pastoral care to non-believers; Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict/Reuters

In a letter to his former Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has underscored the need for the Church to extend its pastoral care to non-believers, The Boston Pilot reports.

The Pope Emeritus also emphasised the need to share "the questions of the times" in its continuing efforts to announce the gospel to the world.

Benedict XVI's new reflections came in a letter to Cardinal Bertone, a summary of which was published in the May 10 edition of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

The Pope Emeritus wrote that "the service of a shepherd cannot be only limited only to the Church," even though "in the first place, we are entrusted with the care of the faithful and of those who are directly seeking faith."

The Church, he maintained, "is part of the world, and therefore it can properly play its service only if it takes care of the world in its entirety."

According to Benedict XVI, the "Word of God concerns the totality of reality, and this actuality places on the Church a general responsibility." This is the reason why the Church "must be involved in the efforts that humanity and society put into action" for a path toward justice and why the Church must "find a way of reasoning" that would also include non-believers, he contended.

The full letter was published in the German original and in an Italian-language translation as an introduction to a new book by Cardinal Bertone.

Benedict XVI's letter stressed that the Cardinal's book reflects a multilayered approach to faith. He said this approach "will be food for thought also for readers who are not part of the Church."

The book, published by Vatican Publishing House, collects Cardinal Bertone's speeches and remarks on Catholic social teaching.

In his letter, the Pope emeritus said the book reminded him of "the years of work together" and showed him once again that there are multiple dimensions in being a "shepherd of the Church."

SOURCE In rare new letter, Pope Benedict XVI seeks shepherds for the whole world (The Boston Pilot)

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