Apostolic Nuncio Rugambwa speaks of diminishing Christian identity

Catholic Diocese of Palmerston North

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa spoke out about his concerns regarding Christian identity and mission in today’s world at a recent Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Petone.

The a diminution of the true identity of the Church and her mission, from which distorted or diluted efforts to evangelise can only bring about mediocrity he said in his homily.

“Today — more than ever before — the world is strongly opposed to those who uphold sanctity as the purpose of life,”.

Persecution of Christians happened in ancient times and still happens today in some parts of the world, the Apostolic Nuncio said.

It is “still very frequent in many countries where killing a Christian is sometimes considered as a holy service to Almighty God (John 16:2)”.

He also pointed out in developed countries, the methods some people use “appear in a form of ideology, legislation, deceit, foul propaganda, calumny, bullying, etc. against Christianity, especially against Catholicism”.

He said the weight of these methods make it difficult for baptised Christians – especially in countries where secularist states declare laws against Christianity.

“We are living in an epoch that is telling us not to present in public a religious point of view, even in matters regarding life, culture and morals; that religion must be taken as a mere private matter; not to pray; not to expose any religious sign, such as a cross, in public — in schools and hospitals and squares…

“Consequently, even children at school and in higher education institutes are intentionally induced to regard religion as irrelevant, superstitious and ridiculous. We can say that we — as Christians — are living moments of suffering; moments of both aggressive and non-aggressive persecutions.”

At the same time, these difficulties offer Christians many opportunities — “to bear witness … not to yield or cave in; to persevere, not to despair; to evangelise more and more, not to dilute the doctrine of the Church; to be the salt of the earth, not to be tasteless; to be the light, not darkness.

“Unfortunately, it is becoming frequent, even among Catholics, that some individuals think that many people will be attracted to the faith if we follow the spirit of the world, or if we reduce our belief to mere actions of convenience and nicety!

“There are even people who are happy to see the Church lose her identity, transforming herself into a ‘non-governmental organisation’, thus with nothing to do with conversion of the people and salvation of the souls.”

Rugambwa asked those at the Mass to intensify “permanent formation in the discipleship of Jesus Christ in our families, our schools, our workplaces, and in our parish communities.

“We can bear fruits only if we are truly and fully in Christ, just as the branches remain connected to the vine,” he explained,

Throughout his homily, Rugambwa cited teachings by St José Maria Escriva, whose Feast day he was commemorating. Escriva’s teachings focus on carrying out one’s ordinary daily activities with love, following Jesus, and lovingly embracing sufferings on the path to being saints.


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News category: New Zealand.

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