10.03.2005

Pope Confuses 'Belief' for 'Reality,' Pluralism for Catholicism & Democracy for Theocracy



Religion Is Part of Life Says Pontiff

from Gulf Daily News

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI opened a three-week meeting of over 250 Roman Catholic bishops at the Vatican yesterday, telling the synod it was "hypocritical" to exclude religion from public life.

"A tolerance which allows God as a private opinion but which excludes Him from public life, from the reality of the world and our lives, is not tolerance but hypocrisy," the Pope said in the homily he gave at the synod's opening mass in St Peter's Basilica.

"When man makes himself the only master of the world and master of himself, justice cannot exist," the pontiff added. "Then, arbitrariness, power and interests rule."

Citing the Bible, the German pontiff warned that people who ignored God would be judged by Him and posed a threat to "the Church in Europe, Europe itself and the West."

The synod, which brings together 252 bishops from 118 countries, opened at 9am without the participation of four Chinese bishops whom Benedict XVI had asked to take part.

Bishops will debate how to address falling church attendance in Europe, America and Oceania, where the number of faithful attending Sunday mass has dropped well below that of Africa and Asia.

They will also remind Catholics of their duties regarding receiving Holy Communion at mass, and that people who support "immoral choices in life, such as abortion," cannot participate in the Eucharist.

Means of strenghtening the unity of the church - a stated aim of Benedict XVI's - will also be debated, despite differing conceptions of the Eucharist among the world's Churches.

Catholics believe wafers of unleavened bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ during the ceremony.

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