Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A word from the Pope

Pope says Catholics can't choose which teachings to follow or ignore

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholics, whether laypeople or priests, cannot choose which teachings of the church are important to follow and which can be ignored, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"The basic duty of the bishop -- pastor and teacher of the faith -- is to invite the faithful to accept fully the teaching of the church," said the pope in a Nov. 7 address to the bishops of Switzerland.

The bishops were in Rome for meetings with Vatican officials and the pope as a delayed conclusion to their February 2005 "ad limina" visits. Those visits, which bishops make every five years, were interrupted by the illness and death of Pope John Paul II.

Pope Benedict said he knows that it is a "painful experience" for the bishops to see practicing Catholics and "sometimes even priests" question some of the doctrines and disciplines taught by the church.

"Some have assumed a right to choose, in matters of faith, those teachings that, according to them, should be accepted and those that can be refused," he said.