From .............. Catholic International
AD LIMINA VISITS
BISHOPS OF BRAZIL
In his mid-September meeting with the eighth group of Brazilian bishops, Pope John Paul II spoke at length about
"the serious problem of the sects, spreading like an oil slick and threatening to undermine the structure of faith in many nations."
Aside from the
"sometimes malevolent intention of these sects to undermine the foundations of popular faith," to what extent, the Pontiff asked the bishops, is the spread of the sects due to the Church's "failure to manifest the sense of the sacred?"
More specifically, Pope John Paul stressed the Brazilian Church's
"lack of vision," and the "need for better public relations in the acceptance of people."
Emphasizing the importance of communication through images and external signs the Pope reminded the bishops
"how much the Brazilian appreciates the external signs of faith."
He pointed out that the Brazilian
"wishes to see the churches with their religious characteristics, with the authentic expressions of sacred art that awaken piety and lead to prayer, to recollection, and contemplation of the mystery of God.
He wants to hear with joy the sound of your churches' bells, summoning people to liturgical celebrations or prayers in the morning or afternoon.
............. In the music of your churches, the Brazilian wants to hear the invitation to praise God.........Your people want to see in priests authentic ministers of God in their external dress as well as in their external behavior."
The Pontiff joined his message about the importance of images and external signs with his emphasis on being a
"Church which seeks people out, which invites them, nor only through a general appeal of the media, but also by personal invitation, from house to house, from street to street, in an unflagging effort, respectful but present in all places and social environments."
L'Osservatore Romano (English), Sept. 27, 1995
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