What of the threat to freedom of religion and one's conscience?
U.S. prelates were warned of "radical secularism" threatening core values of the culture in America, according to reports.
Powerful new cultural currents have press ahead, wearing away the country's traditional moral consensus, Pope Benedict the XVI was to have told bishops visiting him Jan. 19.
Militant secularists strive to stifle the Church's proclamation of "unchanging moral truths,"
Bishops told the pontiff of "concerted efforts" against the "right of conscientious objection...to cooperation in intrinsically evilpractices" - an apparent reference to proposals by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, opposed by the U.S. bishops, that all private health insurance plans cover surgical and artificial birth control.
New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference, addressed this and other matters in an op/ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this week.
An "engaged, articluate and well-formed Catholic laity" with the courage and critical skills to articulate the "Christian vision of man and society" is the proposed response to such threats, the pope stated.
Education of Catholics is essential to the "new evangelization," a highlight of Benedict's pontificate.