VATICAN CITY, January 19, 2012 ( – In a meeting with various U.S. Bishops today, Pope Benedict XVI said that the consensus which once existed in America supporting “ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God,” has faded.  “Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such,” he said.

The Pope was emphatic in insisting that the threat posed by current trends threatens not only Christianity but “humanity itself.” He said: “To the extent that some current cultural trends contain elements that would curtail the proclamation of these truths, whether constricting it within the limits of a merely scientific rationality, or suppressing it in the name of political power or majority rule, they represent a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself and to the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation, our relationship to God.”


The Pope used strong language to describe the grave situation he perceives in America. “(I)t is imperative,” he said, “that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realise the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.”  He continued, “The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life.”

Pope Benedict pointed specifically to attempts to limit freedom of religion, and to “deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices.“

The reference to “evil practices” would include Catholic adoption agencies being forced to allow homosexual adoptions, the Obama contraceptive mandate, and similar measures.

Pope Benedict, in sounding the alarm, called not for retreat, but for the leaders of the Catholic Church to press on with preaching the truth however unpopular. “For her part, the Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering,” he said.  “With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth.”

The Pope’s full address can be read here.