they must not desist from speaking unpopular truths and should stand up for Church teaching, especially the sacredness and permanence of marriage.
The Pope said they had a responsibility to speak the truth "in season and out of season", and to make sure the Christian voice was heard "clearly and unambiguously".
He praised a recent pastoral letter on marriage by the Scandinavian bishops that encourages couples to resist the divorce mentality and the equation of marriage with various forms of cohabitation.
"The institution of marriage, in fact, was willed by God from the very beginning and finds its fullest significance in the teaching of Christ;" the Pope said.
The bishops from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland were in Rome for their five yearly consultative ad limina visit.
Vatican seeks abuse opinions A PANEL of experts on sexual abuse has told the Vatican that dismissing all abusive priests is an ineffective strategy.
Eight internationally recognised psychiatric and medical experts were invited to lead an April 2-5 symposium on paedophilia at the Vatican, organised by the Pontifical Academy for Life.
The eight experts, none of whom were Catholic, came from Germany, the United States and Canada. They criticised "zero tolerance" poli cies for all priests who had sexually abused a minor. Such policies, they said, ignored the difficulty of determining the future risk posed by the offender and may actually increase the risk, The experts said that "by letting them go, you may be unleashing them on the general public" without the supervision and support systems that may have helped them control their negative behaviour.
The conference heard that banning homosexuals from the priesthood would not solve the problem because although homosexuality was one of many "risk factors" it was not the cause of paedophilia.
Turn to Mary, Pope tells youth
POPE JOHN Paul II has entrusted the young people of the world to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking her to bring them closer to Christ and help them be peacemakers in the world,
Addressing Mary as mother means "committing yourself to peace", the Pope told thousands of young people gathered on April 10 in a rain-soaked St Peter's Square.