Mr. John L. Allen Jr. summarized that portion of the bishops' meeting. One bishop's intervention reminded them that each of them needs both to pastor and to teach.
“A prophecy of denunciation quickly wears thin,” said Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid Coity, South Dakota. “We need a prophecy of solidarity with the communities we serve and the nation we live in, which needs healing. We must be, and be seen to be, caring pastors as well as faithful teachers.”Bishop Cupich echoed the sentiment of Pope Benedict, when he had earlier visited Spain two years ago. Some of its governments policies are neuralgic to the teaching of the Catholic Church (same-sex marriages; liberalized divorce laws; battles over catechetical training in schools). As Mr. Allen reported then
Benedict also resisted the temptation to "go negative," ducking invitations to specifically excoriate Zapatero's policies. Asked by reporters on the papal plane about the gay marriage law, for example, Benedict said he didn't want to start off with negative things, but preferred to focus on the many healthy and happy families "which give us hope for the future," before going on to restate that marriage is based on an indissoluble bond between a man and a woman."Hope for the future" is to Pope Benedict--with his incisive mind and gracious, pastoral heart--a necessary aim without sacrificing Catholic teaching.