Benedict XVI calls for pastoral care for non-believers

In a rare piece of writing published since his retirement, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI pointed to the need for the Church to extend its pastoral care to non-believers.

A letter written by Benedict was published as an introduction to a book by former Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The book was titled “Faith and the Common Good: The Christian Proposal to Contemporary Society”.

In the letter to Cardinal Bertone, Benedict wrote that “the service of a shepherd cannot be only limited only to the Church”.

This is 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”.

The Pope emeritus wrote that 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.

It is also why the Church must “find a way of reasoning” that would also include non-believers.

“Pastoral care does not just deal with the fact that we in the Church provide to the faithful the service of the Sacraments and of the announcement of the Gospel,” Benedict XVI wrote.

Pastoral care, he explained, “definitely includes the intellectual dimension”.

That means that “only if we share the perspective and questions of our times we will be able to understand the Word of God in present times”.

Benedict XVI added that “only if we (shepherds) take part in the opportunity and needs of our times, will the sacraments reach out to men with their actual strength”.


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News category: World.

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