Pope Benedict said on Sunday that Roman Catholic leaders must have the courage to stand up to attacks by “intolerant agnosticism” prevalent in many countries.
The pope and the Church have come under increased attack because of
their opposition to homosexual marriage and women priests.
The pope has
repeatedly denounced what he says are attempts to push religion out of
The 85-year-old pontiff celebrated Mass on the day Christians in the
West mark the Epiphany, and ordained four new archbishops including his
In a homily to about 10,000 people in St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican
City, he firmly rejected suggestions the Church should change to suit
“Anyone who lives and proclaims the faith of the Church is on many
points out of step with the prevalent way of thinking,” he said. “The
approval of the prevailing wisdom, however, is not the criterion to
which we submit.”
In the United States, a group last month started a petition on the
White House website asking the administration of President Barack Obama
to list the Catholic Church as a “hate group” because of its opposition
to gay marriage.
And in France, the Socialist government stepped up its
war of words with the Church over same-sex marriage, saying that
Catholic schools should not hold discussions on the issue with their
pupils and regional education authorities should report to Paris any
Catholic schools where discussions include statements against