Pope Benedict told about 10,000 attendees at Mass in Vatican City on Sunday that Roman Catholic leaders must have the courage to stand up to attacks by “intolerant agnosticism” that is widespread in many countries.
In the wake of attacks against the Pope and the Church because of opposition to gay marriage and the ordination of women, the Pontiff has repeatedly condemned what he says are attempts to push religion out of public conversation.
Celebrating the Mass of the Feast of the Epiphany, which marks the wise men’s gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus, the Pope said in his homily that he firmly rejects the notion that the Church should change to suit public opinion.
“Anyone who lives and proclaims the faith of the Church is on many points out of step with the prevalent way of thinking,” Pope Benedict said. “The approval of the prevailing wisdom, however, is not the criterion to which we submit.”
“Today’s regnant agnosticism has its own dogmas and is extremely intolerant regarding anything that would question it and the criteria it employs,” the pope said. “Therefore the courage to contradict the prevailing mindset is particularly urgent for a bishop today. He must be courageous,” he added.