Friday, September 08, 2006

The Pope Speaks

The Pope's address to the Canadian bishops is full of wonderful insights.

He talks about the danger of reducing the Kingdom of God to "Kingdom values."
In helping individuals to recognize and experience the love of Christ, you will awaken in them the desire to dwell in the house of the Lord, embracing the life of the Church. This is our mission. It expresses our ecclesial nature and ensures that every initiative of evangelization concurrently strengthens Christian identity. In this regard, we must acknowledge that any reduction of the core message of Jesus, that is, the ‘Kingdom of God’, to indefinite talk of ‘kingdom values’ weakens Christian identity and debilitates the Church’s contribution to the regeneration of society. When believing is replaced by ‘doing’ and witness by talk of ‘issues’, there is an urgent need to recapture the profound joy and awe of the first disciples whose hearts, in the Lord’s presence, "burned within them" impelling them to "tell their story" (cf. Lk 24:32; 35).
After mentioning Canada's reputation for seeking justice and peace, the Pope went on to issue a warning.

Canada has a well-earned reputation for a generous and practical commitment to justice and peace, and there is an enticing sense of vibrancy and opportunity in your multicultural cities. At the same time, however, certain values detached from their moral roots and full significance found in Christ have evolved in the most disturbing of ways. In the name of ‘tolerance’ your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of ‘freedom of choice’ it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children. When the Creator’s divine plan is ignored the truth of human nature is lost.
He then went on to make some remarks about democracy that we Americans would do well to take heed of.
False dichotomies are not unknown within the Christian community itself. They are particularly damaging when Christian civic leaders sacrifice the unity of faith and sanction the disintegration of reason and the principles of natural ethics, by yielding to ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls. Democracy succeeds only to the extent that it is based on truth and a correct understanding of the human person. Catholic involvement in political life cannot compromise on this principle; otherwise Christian witness to the splendour of truth in the public sphere would be silenced and an autonomy from morality proclaimed (cf. Doctrinal Note The Participation of Catholics in Political Life, 2-3; 6). In your discussions with politicians and civic leaders I encourage you to demonstrate that our Christian faith, far from being an impediment to dialogue, is a bridge, precisely because it brings together reason and culture.
The Pope also discussed the "particularly insidious obstacle" of relativism.
A particularly insidious obstacle to education today, which your own reports attest, is the marked presence in society of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. Within such a relativistic horizon an eclipse of the sublime goals of life occurs with a lowering of the standards of excellence, a timidity before the category of the good, and a relentless but senseless pursuit of novelty parading as the realization of freedom. Such detrimental trends point to the particular urgency of the apostolate of ‘intellectual charity’ which upholds the essential unity of knowledge, guides the young towards the sublime satisfaction
of exercising their freedom in relation to truth, and articulates the relationship between faith and all aspects of family and civic life. Introduced to a love of truth, I am confident that young Canadians will relish exploring the house of the Lord who "enlightens every person who comes into the world" (Jn 1:9) and satisfies every desire of humanity.

I love this Pope!

The full text of the address is here, and a bit of it can now be heard on-line here.

3 comments:

Diane said...

I love that last paragraph on relativism. He can't smack that one down enough these days.

Can you imagine what relativism would look like in Scripture?

"Jesus said to the pharisees: 'I'm ok, your ok'"

Yes, Pope Benedict XVI speaks very clearly. His ad limina visit with the Austrians was by far the most scathing. I mean, he took them to the woodshed, yet everything he said could have applied to many countries, especially the US.

Sandro Magister leads us into this one segment with a one-liner that sums it up:

After that, he read them the riot act:

“As you well know, the confession of the faith is one of the bishop’s primary duties. ‘I did not draw back’, St. Paul says in Miletus to the pastors of the Church of Ephesus, ‘from the task of proclaiming to you the whole counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27). It is true that we bishops must act with discretion. Nevertheless, this prudence must not prevent us from presenting the Word of God in all its clarity, including those things that are heard less willingly or that consistently provoke reactions of protest and derision. You, dear brothers in the episcopacy, know this well: there are some topics relating to the truth of the faith, and above all to moral doctrine, which are not present in the catechesis and preaching of your dioceses to a sufficient extent, and which sometimes, for example in pastoral outreach to youth in the parishes or groups, are either not confronted at all or are not addressed in the clear sense understood by the Church. Thanks be to God, it is not like this everywhere. Perhaps those who are responsible for the proclamation [of the Gospel] are afraid that people may draw back if they speak too clearly. However, experience in general demonstrates that it is precisely the opposite that happens. Don’t deceive yourselves! Catholic teaching offered in an incomplete manner is a contradiction of itself and cannot be fruitful in the long term. The proclamation of the Kingdom of God goes hand in hand with the demand for conversion and with the love that encourages, that knows the way, that teaches that with the grace of God even that which seemed impossible becomes possible. Think of how, little by little, religious instruction, catechesis on various levels, and preaching can be improved, deepened, and, so to speak, completed! Please, make zealous use of the ‘Compendium’ and the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’! Have the priests and catechists adopt these tools, have them explained in the parishes, have them used in families as important reading material! Amid the uncertainty of this period of history and this society, offer to men the certainty of the fullness of the Church‘s faith! The clarity and the beauty of the Catholic faith are what make man’s life shine, even today! This is especially the case when it is presented by enthusiastic and exciting witnesses.”


Oy vey! This paragraph will be hard to top in any forthcoming ad limina visit.

guilty bystander said...

Seems clear enough to me!

It would be too easy to apply this only to Canada and ignore aoolying it to our country. It would be even easier to apply it to liberal American dioceses who are traditionally "un-traditional" and fail to see where it might fit in my conservative one.

But the easiest of all to do is to fail to appply it to my own heart. For when the Holy Father looks at men's hearts in the Church, he also looks at my heart. And I am guiltier than anyone else knows of what he says.

Lord help me as well as "them" repent and amend my ways

guilty bystander said...

Upon reading the above, I note I didn't spel everything as wel as I should have.