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Call to abide by Church teachings

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope John Paul II has told US bishops they need to remind lay Catholics of their duty to follow authoritative Church teachings, whether in private life or in social roles.

The separation between Church and state should be respected, but there can be no separation between one’s personal faith and one’s political and professional participation, he said.

The Pope addressed the theme of the laity in a talk on December 4 to a group of US bishops making their ad limina visits to the Vatican.

He began his remarks by saying he appreciated the “outstanding contribution” lay Catholics have made to the growth and expansion of the Church in the United States.

But the Pope said “serious pastoral problems” have been created by ambiguity over the relationships among personal conscience, truth and the social order.

He said lay men and women should be encouraged to harmonise their rights and duties as members of the Church and as members of society.

The Pope told the bishops that promoting a clear understanding of doctrinal and moral teachings was an essential part of their ministry as teachers and pastors.

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