Costa Rican bishop calls Catholics to witness to faith in public life

By Cynthia Perez for CNA


Quesada, Costa Rica, Jun 17, 2021 / 16:38 pm (CNA).

The Bishop of Ciudad Quesada on Tuesday called on the faithful not to hide their faith in private, but to live it publicly and to share it with others, following the teaching of the Catholic Church.

On his June 15 “Fermento” program, Bishop José Manuel Garita Herrera recalled that the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the faithful “to confess their baptismal faith before men.”

The bishop explained that “faith is not something to hide in private, since faith is a living experience that impels us and encourages us to share with others the event of Jesus Christ, who died and rose, who gave himself up for us to give us salvation.”

Referring to his second pastoral letter, the bishop said that “the values of faith must permeate the hearts and minds of all the baptized”, because “only in this way will their words and works be credible, worthy of faith, consistent and capable of questioning the current paradigms about one’s personal identity.”

Bishop Garita lamented that “there are not a few so-called Catholics who practice or preach things contrary to the Magisterium.”

The Bishop of Ciudad Quesada said that as Saint John Paul II taught in his 1990 encyclical Redemptoris missio, “all the lay faithful must dedicate part of their time to the Church, living their own faith with coherence.”

Bishop Garita advised the faithful that “when current trends and ideologies of the world move us to extinguish or hide the faith, or to live it only in private, we must remember that we can and must live it and profess it in public.”

He affirmed that Catholics can do so “not only because of the conviction of our beliefs, but because it is a fundamental human right by virtue of religious freedom,” and noted that Pope Francis taught in his 2020 encyclical Fratelli tutti that faith moves the Catholic to be a witness to the love of Christ for all humanity.

“If we consider ourselves witnesses” of the love of Christ, Bishop Garita continued, “we could make great contributions to society, in respect for human dignity, in the search for the common good, in the practice of love in solidarity as did the first Christians who were recognized by their gestures and detachment, because they remained united and witnesses to their faith.”

“Having that correspondence between what we believe and what we do is what will allow us to show ourselves as true witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ; It will allow us to show the Church which he built, in which we, as its members, are called to preach the Good News in words and actions,” he stressed.

Finally, the Costa Rican bishop recalled the words of Benedict XVI in his 2005 encyclical Deus caritas est, explaining that the very decision to be a Christian does not arise from a mere idea, but is born from the encounter with Christ, who is Love, and therefore, He is the origin of our faith confessed in baptism.

“We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.,” Benedict wrote.

“We Catholics do not believe in something, we believe in someone, that someone is Jesus Christ, whom we confess as our Lord and Savior,” Bishop Garita emphasized.

“May the God of life help us to be courageous, determined and consistent in living and witnessing our faith; May we show the option for the Gospel and be true witnesses of the saving teaching that we have received from the moment of baptism,”  he concluded.

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