Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pope Benedict speaks: on that which is "lethal to faith"


In the light of the movement of the Church to a position of dialogue, or maybe chatter, in the last 18 months these words of the Pope Emeritus have particularly poignant relevance.

They were made on Tuesday to faculty members and students at Rome's Pontifical Urbanian University, which belongs to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict, read the 1,800-word message aloud at a ceremony dedicating the university's renovated main lecture hall to the retired pope.
The risen Lord instructed his apostles, and through them his disciples in all ages, to take his word to the ends of the earth and to make disciples of all people," retired Pope Benedict wrote. " 'But does that still apply?' many inside and outside the church ask themselves today. 'Is mission still something for today? Would it not be more appropriate to meet in dialogue among religions and serve together the cause of world peace?' The counter-question is: 'Can dialogue substitute for mission?'

"In fact, many today think religions should respect each other and, in their dialogue, become a common force for peace. According to this way of thinking, it is usually taken for granted that different religions are variants of one and the same reality," the retired pope wrote. "The question of truth, that which originally motivated Christians more than any other, is here put inside parentheses. It is assumed that the authentic truth about God is in the last analysis unreachable and that at best one can represent the ineffable with a variety of symbols. This renunciation of truth seems realistic and useful for peace among religions in the world.
"It is nevertheless lethal to faith. In fact, faith loses its binding character and its seriousness, everything is reduced to interchangeable symbols, capable of referring only distantly to the inaccessible mystery of the divine," he wrote.
Pope Benedict wrote that some religions, particularly "tribal religions," are "waiting for the encounter with Jesus Christ," but that this "encounter is always reciprocal. Christ is waiting for their history, their wisdom, their vision of the things." This encounter can also give new life to Christianity, which has grown tired in its historical heartlands, he wrote.
"We proclaim Jesus Christ not to procure as many members as possible for our community, and still less in order to gain power," the retired pope wrote. "We speak of him because we feel the duty to transmit that joy which has been given to us."

Unfortunatelt the whole speech has not yet appeared anywhere on-line.
Oh, for the days of clear thought and clear words!


Православный физик said...

Those were the days

Anonymous said...

I find Pope Francis disconcerting and damaging to the faith. He criticises 'doctrinal security' yet that is what makes the Catholic Faith a safe refuge. He criticises those who feel safe, yet why shouldn't we be safe inside the sheepfold, where we are supposed to be protected from the wolves? I find it best to just ignore Pope Francis, of course pray for him, but just try to be a good Catholic despite it all, which includes defending true doctrine against the errors.

Marie said...

Here's the link to Pope Emeritus message to students at Pontifical Urban University. It's in Italian but the English translation isn't too bad.


Sadie Vacantist said...

Anyone got more details? If some of these stories are true, is the issue homosexuality or the tradionalist tendencies of the diocese? We all know what conclusion 'relatio' Catholics will reach ... If relatio Catholicism were implemented fully then neither O'Brien nor Conry would have needed to resign. Similarly, why bother to investigate this diocese?

GOR said...

It seems that one of Pope Francis’ intentions is to shake people up, viewing certainties about the Faith, Liturgy or practice as complacency. In a sense it is very 1960s – question everything, don’t take anything for granted, especially if it is ‘old’ or entrenched. There is merit in not being too rigid, in being open to ‘new things’ and willing to change – up to a point.

As we age we’re less inclined to new things. We’ve been through a lot. We’ve experienced the ups and downs of life. We have weathered many storms. We’re comfortable with the ‘tried and true’ – the familiar - and just want to be left in peace.

There’s merit in that too – especially if founded on unchanging truth, on the certainties of a solid, immutable Faith – with the humility to realize that our Faith is not of our own doing, but a gift we were given.

Pope Benedict reinforced that, confirming us in our Faith. Pope Francis’ approach is more about uncertainty and being ‘surprised’. It remains to be seen which approach will endure. But there is certainty that the Faith and the Church will endure – we have Our Lord’s words for that – either with, or in spite of, the Pope pro tem of every age.

Pelerin said...

What a treat to be able to read and understand the words of a Pope albeit retired Pope Benedict. No puzzlement here, no furrowed brow wondering what the words meant to say.

I do not know what language Pope Benedict spoke in but the English translation seems so clear and understandable - I do hope the whole speech appears on line soon.

I agree with GOR about being comfortable with the tried and tested as we grow older and that Pope Benedict reinforced this. I felt 'safe and secure' under his pontificate - now I feel at sea and at times tossed by the waves.

Sadie Vacantist's link appears horrifying - I do hope it was not the A&B diocese - the mind boggles!

TLMWx said...

The missionaries spread the Gospel to win souls for Christ. Yes, The Faith is a joy but primarily it is a necessity. How broken hearted was St Dominic when he cried to our Lady for assistance as his work was proving so fruitless in converting the carthars?
"Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?" ... "I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter" .

How persistent the American Martyrs to win souls? St Patrick frightened the living daylights out of the Irish pagans. It was God's almighty power that bent their stiff necks not the joy of the faith. That joy came later of course.

Furthermore, Catholicism is always new and exciting wherever it is. Europe is not tired of the Faith, spiritual perverts and destroyers have refused to teach it. My generation were never taught the Faith so let's not say we've grown tired of it. Let us stick to the facts - we have been led astray by false and neglectful hirelings.

Mr Grumpy said...

I was in Leeds on Sunday afternoon with a couple of hours to spend between trains. En route to the cathedral (where I encountered locked doors at 4 o'clock - WHY?) I passed the Unitarian chapel. The mission statement displayed outside was almost word for word the position critiqued here by the Pope Emeritus. That's where it belongs.

pattif said...

All we need is the final sentence: it sums up his entire pontificate.

pattif said...

All we need is the final sentence: it sums up his entire pontificate.

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