Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Carmel, Indiana: Latin Mass surges in the Diocese

Similar results were achieved in 2007 at St. Boniface in Lafayette with attendance over 600.  The Christmas and NewYears Masses at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel the attendance surged around 300 souls per Mass.  Many of these souls came to experience the extraordinary Latin Rite out of interest and curiosity for the first time.  However, many souls are part of our growing St. John Bosco’s Latin Community that are attending this traditional (extraordinary) rite every Sunday at St. Elizabeth Seton 3pm. 

We are urging all attending the Latin Mass to write a “Thank-you” letter to the Holy Father.  This letter will help our Holy Father know how much each of us appreciates the opportunity to know this ancient rite which forged the holy souls in our Communion of Saints.

If you have any questions or would like to become part of our apostolate of promoting the Latin Mass, please contact Fr. Roberts at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel via email at robertsc@olmc1.org.

Did you know?:  The Traditional Latin Mass is known as the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

**UPDATE**Pope Benedict offers Mass Ad Orientum in 2008

UPDATE:  The Vatican announced that HH Benedict XVI will offer this Mass again (ad orientem) on Sunday, January 11th, Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. The Pope will offer Mass in the Sistine Chapel at 10:00 a.m., followed by the Baptism of several children.
EWTN will broadcast live at 4am EDT with encore presentations at 12 pm EDT and 12 am (January 12th)

 Click here for EWTN schedule2008-01_papal-mass-ad-orientem

It was the will of the Eternal Father that one universal language be used along with, in comparison with, together with the language of the land. This universal language, Latin, befit and was chosen by the Eternal Father as a universal language for the universal Church, the Roman Catholic Church….” Our Lady of the Roses, April 10, 1976

Catholic World News 2008:

 

 

Pope Benedict XVI baptized 13 infants, the children of Vatican employees, in keeping with a Vatican tradition on the feast of the Baptism of Christ.

The Holy Father used the ad orientem posture, facing in the same direction as the congregation, using the magnificent altar of the Sistine Chapel rather than portable altar that had been set up in previous years. This provoked widespread comment, with many journalists reporting that the Pope had revived an old liturgical tradition. (In fact, the ad orientem posture was never abolished.)

Msgr. Guido Marini, the new master of ceremonies for papal liturgies, said that the traditional posture was used to emphasize the “beauty and harmony of this architectural masterpiece,” as it was originally designed for liturgical ceremonies. He noted in a public statement that in celebrating ad orientem, the Pope was not breaking with existing practice but “making use of a possibility contemplated by liturgical norms.” Still the Pontiff’s return to a traditional practice revived rumors that Pope Benedict will soon celebrate a public Mass using the “extraordinary form”– the traditional Latin Mass.

The Pope baptized 8 girls and 5 boys at the January 13 ceremony. (One of the boys was named John Paul) In his homily he reminded the parents and godparents that in Baptism the child enters “into a personal relationship with the Creator, and this lasts forever.”

“It is for this reason that Christian parents bring their children to the baptismal font as soon as possible,” the Holy Father continued; “knowing that the life they have communicated to them invokes a fullness, a salvation, that only God can give.” By having their children baptized promptly, he said, “the parents become God’s collaborators, transmitting to their children not only physical but also spiritual life.”

“Unfortunately,” the Pontiff continued, “man is capable of extinguishing this new life through sin.” For other animals, death means only the end of life, the Pope observed. But for humans “sin creates an abyss which risks swallowing us up forever.” Christ went into that abyss himself, he said, to give mankind the opportunity to escape it.

Later on Sunday, at his midday Angelus audience, Pope Benedict reflected on the Baptism of Christ, noting that the event marked the beginning of Christ’s public life. “By having Himself baptized by John together with sinners, Jesus began to take upon Himself the burden of sin of all humanity,” he said.

The Pope continued: “The whole of Christ’s mission may be summed up in this way: Baptism in the Holy Spirit to free us from the slavery of death and open us to heaven– in other words … to true and full life.”

Latin Mass to return to England and Wales

In addition, all seminaries will be required to teach trainee priests how to say the old Mass so that they can celebrate it in all parishes.

Catholic congregations throughout the world will receive special instruction on how to appreciate the old services, formerly known as the Tridentine Rite.

Yesterday’s announcement by the senior Vatican cardinal in charge of Latin liturgy, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, speaking on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, will horrify Catholic liberals, including many bishops of England and Wales.

The Pope upset the liberals last year when he issued a decree removing their power to block the celebration of the old Mass. Yesterday’s move demonstrates that the Vatican intends to go much further in promoting the ancient liturgy.

Asked whether the Latin Mass would be celebrated in many ordinary parishes in future, Cardinal Castrillon said: “Not many parishes – all parishes. The Holy Father is offering this not only for the few groups who demand it, but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist.”

The Cardinal, who heads the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, made his comments as he was preparing to celebrate a traditional Latin Mass at Westminster Cathedral yesterday, the first time a cardinal has done so there for 40 years.

In the traditional rite, the priest faces in the same direction as the people and reads the main prayer of the Mass in Latin, in a voice so low as to be virtually silent. By contrast, in the new rite the priest faces the people and speaks audibly in the local language.

Cardinal Castrillon said that the reverent silence of the traditional rite was one of the “treasures” that Catholics would rediscover, and young worshippers would encounter for the first time.

Pope Benedict will reintroduce the old rite – which will be known as the “Gregorian Rite” – even where the congregation has not asked for it. “People don’t know about it, and therefore they don’t ask for it,” the Cardinal explained.

The revised Mass, adopted in 1970 after the Second Vatican Council, had given rise to “many, many, many abuses”, the Cardinal said. He added: “The experience of the last 40 years has not always been so good. Many people have lost their sense of adoration for God, and these abuses mean that many children do not know how to be in the presence of God.”

However, the new rite will not disappear; the Pope wishes to see the two forms of Mass existing side by side.

Such sweeping liturgical changes are certain to cause intense controversy. At a press conference, a journalist from the liberal Tablet magazine, which is close to the English bishops, told the Cardinal that the new liturgical changes amounted to “going backwards”.

Following last year’s papal decree, liberal bishops in England and America have attempted to limit the takeup of the old Mass by arguing that the rules say it should only be reintroduced when a “stable group” of the faithful request it. But Cardinal Castrillon said that a stable group could consist of as few as three people, and they need not come from the same parish.

The changes will take a few years to implement fully, he added, just as the Second Vatican Council had taken a long time to absorb. He insisted that the widespread reintroduction of the old Mass did not contradict the teachings of the Council.

Papal visit results in big jump in positive view of Benedict and Church, poll shows

One third now more likely to vote and be more active in community and church

(NEW HAVEN, CT) – A poll taken immediately following the conclusion of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States shows that it had a powerful impact on public attitudes toward the pope, the church, and a willingness to live their faith more fully. The nationwide poll of 1,013 adults was commissioned by the Knights of Columbus and conducted by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion between April 22 and April 24, 2008. Marist conducted a similar poll prior to the pope’s visit, allowing before-and-after comparisons.

Among the highlights of the poll results:

  1. 65% of Americans have a more positive view of Pope Benedict as a result of what they saw and heard during his visit
  2. 52% have a more positive view of the Catholic Church
  3. The proportion of Americans with a favorable view of Pope Benedict jumped from 58% prior to his visit to 71% afterward
  4. The proportion describing the pope positively as a spiritual leader went from 53% to 62%
  5. The proportion describing him as a good or excellent world leader went from 41% to 51%
  6. 56% see his ability to promote good relations between the Catholic Church and other religions as good or excellent, up from 40% prior to his visit
  7. More than a third (35%) say they are now more in touch with their own spiritual values as the result of the pope’s visit
  8. Even more importantly, nearly half (49%) now have a better understanding of the Catholic Church’s positions on important issues, and a significant proportion of Americans are prepared to change their personal involvement as a result:
  9. About four in ten say they are more likely to lead a moral life and make family a bigger part of their lives
  10. One in three are more likely to participate in elections, community activities and their churches as a result of the papal visit

Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus said that the poll results “show clearly that Pope Benedict has presented the Catholics of the United States with a tremendous opportunity. Americans are a religious people, and they responded very positively to the message of faith, hope and love that the Holy Father delivered throughout his visit. It is now up to all of us in the Catholic community to walk through the door he has opened for us, and work together to build a civilization of love.”

The complete poll results can be found at:

http://www.kofc.org/cmf/resources/Communications/documents/americans_reflect.pdf

POPE BENEDICT’S TRIUMPH

by Raymond Arroyo

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Before the Pope arrived I wrote a long preview piece that concluded this way:

“A number of Vatican officials have told me that the Pope will assiduously avoid politics throughout his American pilgrimage and focus instead on inspiring the faithful to reform their lives and society at large. It could be thought of as trickle down spirituality. This summary by Benedict of his visit to Brazil in 2007 nicely encapsulates what I think he will offer America:

‘I encouraged them to recover everywhere the style of the first Christian community described in the Acts of the Apostles: assiduous in catechesis, the sacramental life and charitable works. I know the dedication of these faithful servants of the Gospel who want to present it fully without confusion, watching over the deposit of the faith with discernment; it is also their constant duty to promote social development, principally through the formation of the laity, called to assume responsibility in the field of politics and economics…. Only the one who meets the love of God in Jesus and sets himself upon this way to practice it among men, becomes his disciple and missionary.’

Benedict will do what all Popes do on these shores: call new disciples and missionaries into the hopeful vineyard that is America. At a moment when the country is confronted by economic downturns, terrorism, political instability, and a leadership vacuum, the Pope will offer hope.

The measure of this trip’s success will not be found so much as in what the Pope does, as in the echo that remains after he does it. The response of those who hear him will tell the tale.”

Journalists are now calling inquiring about whether the Pope’s trip was successful and what impact it has had. I stand by the last two sentences I wrote weeks ago. This papal visit will play out in big and small ways, in the hearts and minds of those who have heard Benedict’s call.

From a purely external perspective (the media perspective if you will), the trip has been a triumph. Pope Benedict’s “theatre of substantive acts”: his meeting with victims of clerical sexual abuse; the visit with religious leaders at the John Paul II Cultural Center; his warm, “impromptu” stop at the Park East Synagogue in New York, and the solemn prayer service at Ground Zero all brilliantly revealed a man of faith willing to engage the world with hope and love.

I have been struck by the number of non-Catholics who have stopped me in the streets of New York or written to share how touched they have been by the events of this week. Many say they are strangely drawn to this “new pope.”

I think we have all found ourselves fascinated and drawn to this Pontiff– not due to his dazzling oratory or ability to entertain, but for his willingness to challenge and risk for the sake of the Gospel message. It has been quite a week. Quiet, bold Benedict has left his mark.

 

Pope praises Fr. McGivney as an “exemplary American priest”

Homily at St. Patrick’s Cathedral cites his “vision and zeal”

(NEW YORK, NY) – During his homily at this morning’s Mass for Clergy and Religious at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Pope Benedict XVI made special mention of

“the remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.”

McGivney’s cause for sainthood is being considered at the Vatican, and the Pope declared him a venerable servant of God in mid-March.

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson made the following statement regarding the Pope’s remarks:

“This morning, Pope Benedict reminded America’s clergy that the ‘secret of the impressive growth of the Church’ in the U.S. was a ‘unity of vision and purpose – rooted in faith and a spirit of constant conversion and self-sacrifice,’ and held up as a prime example our founder, Fr. McGivney.

“The Pope’s selection of Fr. McGivney as a role model for today’s priests and religious is very important for us. Thousands of priests are among the 1.7 million members of the Knights of Columbus, including Cardinal Egan and hundreds of others in the Archdiocese of New York. Each and every day, all of us in the Knights of Columbus look to Fr. McGivney’s vision and example as a guide to our work of charity and evangelization. At a time when our priests are in need of our support more than ever, the Pope’s promotion of Fr. McGivney as a role model for clergy everywhere is both timely and enormously appreciated. We pledge our fervent support for his call to revitalize and renew the Catholic Church here and around the world.”

Pope Benedict XVI turns to global audience

Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by members of the Catholic clergy, including Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, third from right, as he arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Friday, April 18, 2008. The other clergy members are unidentified.

UNITED NATIONS – Pope Benedict XVI told diplomats at the United Nations on Friday that respect for human rights was the key to solving many of the world’s problems, while cautioning that international cooperation was threatened by “the decisions of a small number.”

The pontiff, addressing the U.N. General Assembly on his first papal trip to the U.S., said the organization’s work is vital. But he raised concerns that power is concentrated in just a handful of nations.

“Multilateral consensus,” he said, speaking in French, “continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a small number.”

The world’s problems call for collective interventions by the international community, he said.

Benedict, only the third pope to address the United Nations, made the remarks after three dramatic days in which he repeatedly discussed America’s clergy sexual abuse scandal.

 

Sermon of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

Washington Nationals Stadium
Thursday, 17 April 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19). With these, the first words of the Risen Lord to his disciples, I greet all of you in the joy of this Easter season. Before all else, I thank God for the blessing of being in your midst. I am particularly grateful to Archbishop Wuerl for his kind words of welcome.

Our Mass today brings the Church in the United States back to its roots in nearby Maryland, and commemorates the bicentennial of the first chapter of its remarkable growth – the division by my predecessor, Pope Pius VII, of the original Diocese of Baltimore and the establishment of the Dioceses of Boston, Bardstown (now Louisville), New York and Philadelphia. Two hundred years later, the Church in America can rightfully praise the accomplishment of past generations in bringing together widely differing immigrant groups within the unity of the Catholic faith and in a common commitment to the spread of the Gospel. At the same time, conscious of its rich diversity, the Catholic community in this country has come to appreciate ever more fully the importance of each individual and group offering its own particular gifts to the whole. The Church in the United States is now called to look to the future, firmly grounded in the faith passed on by previous generations, and ready to meet new challenges – challenges no less demanding than those faced by your forebears – with the hope born of God’s love, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5).

In the exercise of my ministry as the Successor of Peter, I have come to America to confirm you, my brothers and sisters, in the faith of the Apostles (cf. Lk 22:32). I have come to proclaim anew, as Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, that Jesus Christ is Lord and Messiah, risen from the dead, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, and established as judge of the living and the dead (cf. Acts 2:14ff.). I have come to repeat the Apostle’s urgent call to conversion and the forgiveness of sins, and to implore from the Lord a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in this country. As we have heard throughout this Easter season, the Church was born of the Spirit’s gift of repentance and faith in the risen Lord. In every age she is impelled by the same Spirit to bring to men and women of every race, language and people (cf. Rev 5:9) the good news of our reconciliation with God in Christ.

The readings of today’s Mass invite us to consider the growth of the Church in America as one chapter in the greater story of the Church’s expansion following the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In those readings we see the inseparable link between the risen Lord, the gift of the Spirit for the forgiveness of sins, and the mystery of the Church. Christ established his Church on the foundation of the Apostles (cf. Rev 21:14) as a visible, structured community which is at the same time a spiritual communion, a mystical body enlivened by the Spirit’s manifold gifts, and the sacrament of salvation for all humanity (cf. Lumen Gentium, 8). In every time and place, the Church is called to grow in unity through constant conversion to Christ, whose saving work is proclaimed by the Successors of the Apostles and celebrated in the sacraments. This unity, in turn, gives rise to an unceasing missionary outreach, as the Spirit spurs believers to proclaim “the great works of God” and to invite all people to enter the community of those saved by the blood of Christ and granted new life in his Spirit.

I pray, then, that this significant anniversary in the life of the Church in the United States, and the presence of the Successor of Peter in your midst, will be an occasion for all Catholics to reaffirm their unity in the apostolic faith, to offer their contemporaries a convincing account of the hope which inspires them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15), and to be renewed in missionary zeal for the extension of God’s Kingdom.

The world needs this witness! Who can deny that the present moment is a crossroads, not only for the Church in America but also for society as a whole? It is a time of great promise, as we see the human family in many ways drawing closer together and becoming ever more interdependent. Yet at the same time we see clear signs of a disturbing breakdown in the very foundations of society: signs of alienation, anger and polarization on the part of many of our contemporaries; increased violence; a weakening of the moral sense; a coarsening of social relations; and a growing forgetfulness of Christ and God. The Church, too, sees signs of immense promise in her many strong parishes and vital movements, in the enthusiasm for the faith shown by so many young people, in the number of those who each year embrace the Catholic faith, and in a greater interest in prayer and catechesis. At the same time she senses, often painfully, the presence of division and polarization in her midst, as well as the troubling realization that many of the baptized, rather than acting as a spiritual leaven in the world, are inclined to embrace attitudes contrary to the truth of the Gospel.

“Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth!” (cf. Ps 104:30). The words of today’s Responsorial Psalm are a prayer which rises up from the heart of the Church in every time and place. They remind us that the Holy Spirit has been poured out as the first fruits of a new creation, “new heavens and a new earth” (cf. 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1), in which God’s peace will reign and the human family will be reconciled in justice and love. We have heard Saint Paul tell us that all creation is even now “groaning” in expectation of that true freedom which is God’s gift to his children (Rom 8:21-22), a freedom which enables us to live in conformity to his will. Today let us pray fervently that the Church in America will be renewed in that same Spirit, and sustained in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel to a world that longs for genuine freedom (cf. Jn 8:32), authentic happiness, and the fulfillment of its deepest aspirations!

Here I wish to offer a special word of gratitude and encouragement to all those who have taken up the challenge of the Second Vatican Council, so often reiterated by Pope John Paul II, and committed their lives to the new evangelization. I thank my brother Bishops, priests and deacons, men and women religious, parents, teachers and catechists. The fidelity and courage with which the Church in this country will respond to the challenges raised by an increasingly secular and materialistic culture will depend in large part upon your own fidelity in handing on the treasure of our Catholic faith. Young people need to be helped to discern the path that leads to true freedom: the path of a sincere and generous imitation of Christ, the path of commitment to justice and peace. Much progress has been made in developing solid programs of catechesis, yet so much more remains to be done in forming the hearts and minds of the young in knowledge and love of the Lord. The challenges confronting us require a comprehensive and sound instruction in the truths of the faith. But they also call for cultivating a mindset, an intellectual “culture”, which is genuinely Catholic, confident in the profound harmony of faith and reason, and prepared to bring the richness of faith’s vision to bear on the urgent issues which affect the future of American society.

Dear friends, my visit to the United States is meant to be a witness to “Christ our Hope”. Americans have always been a people of hope: your ancestors came to this country with the expectation of finding new freedom and opportunity, while the vastness of the unexplored wilderness inspired in them the hope of being able to start completely anew, building a new nation on new foundations. To be sure, this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land; one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves. Yet hope, hope for the future, is very much a part of the American character. And the Christian virtue of hope – the hope poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, the hope which supernaturally purifies and corrects our aspirations by focusing them on the Lord and his saving plan – that hope has also marked, and continues to mark, the life of the Catholic community in this country.

It is in the context of this hope born of God’s love and fidelity that I acknowledge the pain which the Church in America has experienced as a result of the sexual abuse of minors. No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse. It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention. Nor can I adequately describe the damage that has occurred within the community of the Church. Great efforts have already been made to deal honestly and fairly with this tragic situation, and to ensure that children – whom our Lord loves so deeply (cf. Mk 10:14), and who are our greatest treasure – can grow up in a safe environment. These efforts to protect children must continue. Yesterday I spoke with your Bishops about this. Today I encourage each of you to do what you can to foster healing and reconciliation, and to assist those who have been hurt. Also, I ask you to love your priests, and to affirm them in the excellent work that they do. And above all, pray that the Holy Spirit will pour out his gifts upon the Church, the gifts that lead to conversion, forgiveness and growth in holiness.

Saint Paul speaks, as we heard in the second reading, of a kind of prayer which arises from the depths of our hearts in sighs too deep for words, in “groanings” (Rom 8:26) inspired by the Spirit. This is a prayer which yearns, in the midst of chastisement, for the fulfillment of God’s promises. It is a prayer of unfailing hope, but also one of patient endurance and, often, accompanied by suffering for the truth. Through this prayer, we share in the mystery of Christ’s own weakness and suffering, while trusting firmly in the victory of his Cross. With this prayer, may the Church in America embrace ever more fully the way of conversion and fidelity to the demands of the Gospel. And may all Catholics experience the consolation of hope, and the Spirit’s gifts of joy and strength.

In today’s Gospel, the risen Lord bestows the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and grants them the authority to forgive sins. Through the surpassing power of Christ’s grace, entrusted to frail human ministers, the Church is constantly reborn and each of us is given the hope of a new beginning. Let us trust in the Spirit’s power to inspire conversion, to heal every wound, to overcome every division, and to inspire new life and freedom. How much we need these gifts! And how close at hand they are, particularly in the sacrament of Penance! The liberating power of this sacrament, in which our honest confession of sin is met by God’s merciful word of pardon and peace, needs to be rediscovered and reappropriated by every Catholic. To a great extent, the renewal of the Church in America and throughout the world depends on the renewal of the practice of Penance and the growth in holiness which that sacrament both inspires and accomplishes.

“In hope we were saved!” (Rom 8:24).” As the Church in the United States gives thanks for the blessings of the past two hundred years, I invite you, your families, and every parish and religious community, to trust in the power of grace to create a future of promise for God’s people in this country. I ask you, in the Lord Jesus, to set aside all division and to work with joy to prepare a way for him, in fidelity to his word and in constant conversion to his will. Above all, I urge you to continue to be a leaven of evangelical hope in American society, striving to bring the light and truth of the Gospel to the task of building an ever more just and free world for generations yet to come.

Those who have hope must live different lives! (cf. Spe Salvi, 2). By your prayers, by the witness of your faith, by the fruitfulness of your charity, may you point the way towards that vast horizon of hope which God is even now opening up to his Church, and indeed to all humanity: the vision of a world reconciled and renewed in Christ Jesus, our Savior. To him be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen!

Papal Itinerary: Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008 

  • 10:00 a.m. – The pope will offer Mass at the new Nationals Park in Washington.
  • 5 p.m. – Pope Benedict XVI will give an address on the importance of Catholic education on the campus of The Catholic University of America.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and representatives of other religions will meet the Holy Father at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, next door to Catholic University.

Pope Benedict XVI’s speech at the White House

April 16, 2008 – By Benedict XVI

Mr. President,

Thank you for your gracious words of welcome on behalf of the people of the United States of America. I deeply appreciate your invitation to visit this great country. My visit coincides with an important moment in the life of the Catholic community in America: the celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the elevation of the country’s first Diocese – Baltimore – to a metropolitan Archdiocese, and the establishment of the Sees of New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville. Yet I am happy to be here as a guest of all Americans. I come as a friend, a preacher of the Gospel and one with great respect for this vast pluralistic society. America’s Catholics have made, and continue to make, an excellent contribution to the life of their country. As I begin my visit, I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States, and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibly to the life of this nation, of which they are proud to be citizens.

From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the “self-evident truth” that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations.

In the next few days, I look forward to meeting not only with America’s Catholic community, but with other Christian communities and representatives of the many religious traditions present in this country. Historically, not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual and group can make its voice heard. As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more humane and free society.

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good (cf. Spe Salvi, 24). Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism in his native Poland and in eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows, time and again, that “in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation”, and a democracy without values can lose its very soul (cf. Centesimus Annus, 46). Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality represent “indispensable supports” of political prosperity.

The Church, for her part, wishes to contribute to building a world ever more worthy of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26-27). She is convinced that faith sheds new light on all things, and that the Gospel reveals the noble vocation and sublime destiny of every man and woman (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). Faith also gives us the strength to respond to our high calling, and the hope that inspires us to work for an ever more just and fraternal society. Democracy can only flourish, as your founding fathers realized, when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.

For well over a century, the United States of America has played an important role in the international community. On Friday, God willing, I will have the honor of addressing the United Nations Organization, where I hope to encourage the efforts under way to make that institution an ever more effective voice for the legitimate aspirations of all the world’s peoples. On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity – as brothers and sisters dwelling in the same house and around that table which God’s bounty has set for all his children. America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress. In this way, coming generations will be able to live in a world where truth, freedom and justice can flourish – a world where the God-given dignity and rights of every man, woman and child are cherished, protected and effectively advanced.

Mr. President, dear friends: as I begin my visit to the United States, I express once more my gratitude for your invitation, my joy to be in your midst, and my fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace. God bless America!