Thursday 7 July 2011

We run the risk of perverting the identity of the Church - Pope Benedict

Reported by Protect the Pope, the Holy Father has given an address to a synod of an Italian diocese that expands the Holy See’s recent campaign to re-assert Catholic identity among Catholic Development agencies to include Catholic dioceses. I have highlighted some of his words as they struck my ear as having a resonance with his themes of re-enchanting the liturgy and re-evangelising the Western world through emphasising the unique purpose of the Church as a spiritual organism. I was also struck by a resonance with the recent Adoratio Conference whose theme was "From Adoration to Evangelisation". I think it also helps to explain why it is that the young people now exploring a vocation in the Church are seen as too Church focussed and traditional by some of the older generation who have been so dissapointed by the fruits of the "spirit of the Council". Those called to the Priesthood and Religious Life surely are drawn by what is distinctive in the Church, not by what many other social and philanthropic organisations share with it - in other words the love of God in the Church Jesus founded.

Pope Benedict spoke of:

"Being Church has its source and its true meaning in the communion of love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: the Blessed Trinity is not only the model, but generates and moulds the Church as a mystery of communion.

We must begin from this truth, always and anew, in order to achieve a more intense understanding and experience of being Church: 'People of God. 'Body of Christ', 'Communion'. Otherwise we run the risk of reducing things to a horizontal dimension which perverts the identity of the Church and the announcement of the faith. The Church is not a social or philanthropic organisation, like many others that exist: she is the Community of God, she is a community which believes and loves, which adores the Lord Jesus and opens her ‘veils’ at the breath of the Holy Spirit; thus she is a community capable of evangelisation”.

Pope Benedict clearly states that Catholic dioceses, like Catholic development agencies, have a primary duty to proclaim the liberating truth of the Faith:

‘Many men and women of our time need to encounter the Lord, or to rediscover the beauty of the God Who is close, the God Who in Jesus Christ reveals His face as Father and calls us to recognise the meaning and value of life. The current moment of history is marked by lights and shadows. We are witnessing complex forms of behaviour: closure, narcissism, desire to possess and consume, sentiments and affections divorced from responsibility. There are many reasons for this disorientation which finds expression in profound existential unease, but underlying everything is the negation of the transcendent dimension of man and of the basic relationship with God. For this reason it is vital for Christian communities to promote valid and compelling itineraries of faith”.

Sandro Magister has an interesting piece on the progress of Pope Benedict's pontificate and his desire for the New Evangelisation in continuity with Tradition.

Michael Voris has also noticed what the Holy Father said - and as, as usual, has plenty to say about it!

1 comment:

Sixupman said...

Some years ago an Eastern Rite Catholic priest stated, they were not social workers as those in the Western Rite appear to view themselves.