2014-10-02 13:20:00

Pope to Chadian Bishops: Formation, family and inter-religious dialogue are key issues

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis stressed the importance of good formation for clergy, seminarians and lay people, protecting  the family and promoting inter-religious dialogue with the Muslim community.  These were the key issues that he reflected on in an address which he handed to the Catholic Bishops of Chad who are in Rome on their ad-limina visits. 

In his address, the Pope paid tribute to the growth of the Catholic Church in Chad  and praised its social work on behalf of the poor and most needy.  At the same time he stressed that a deepening of the faith within the hearts of the faithful is necessary to withstand "the numerous challenges present nowadays" and ensure that the behaviour of the faithful is more fully in line with the demands of the Gospel. This is particularly the case, he continued, in a country where "the weight of certain cultural traditions is very strong." 

In this context, Pope Francis went on to reflect on the key role of good formation for the faithful and catechists and the need for "an updated catechetical teaching method." He suggested that each diocese should set up a Formation Centre  for this purpose.  

Turning to the role of the family, the Pope encouraged the bishops to pay particular attention to protecting the family unit and ensuring that within each family the dignity and status of women is promoted. 

When it comes to an effective evangelization, he said the formation of the clergy, seminary teachers and the seminarians was of great importance and urged the bishops to put time and effort into visiting the seminaries themselves to discover and address any weaknesses that may exist. 

Pope Francis concluded his address by stressing the importance of supporting and promoting inter-religious dialogue, especially in Chad, a Muslim-majority country where Christians form only a small percentage of  the population.  This must be done, he said, in order to discourage "the outbreak of sectarian violence" such as in "neighbouring countries of Chad where Christians have become the victims." (of such violence)

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