At 11:30 am, Rome time, Pope Benedict XVI met with the bishops of region IV (Baltimore, Delaware, Virginia, DC and the Military Services) to give his address during their Ad Limina

Below is a selection of the Pope’s text, (emphasis mine):

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
(cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). 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. When a culture attempts to suppress the
dimension of ultimate mystery, and to close the doors to transcendent truth, it
inevitably becomes impoverished and falls prey
, as the late Pope John Paul II
so clearly saw, to reductionist and totalitarian readings of the human person
and the nature of society.

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. Our tradition does not speak from blind faith, but from a rational perspective which links our commitment to building an authentically just, humane and prosperous society to our ultimate assurance that the cosmos is possessed of an inner logic accessible to human reasoning. The Church’s defense of a moral reasoning based on the natural law is grounded on her conviction that this law is not a threat to our freedom, but rather a “language” which enables us to understand ourselves and the truth of our being, and so to shape a more just and humane world. She thus proposes her moral teaching as a message not of constraint but of liberation, and as the basis for building a secure future.

The Church’s witness, then, is of its nature public: she seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. The legitimate separation of Church and State cannot be taken to mean that the Church must be silent on certain issues, nor that the State may choose not to engage, or be engaged by, the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation.