Monday, July 10, 2006

Benedict XVI on Same-Sex marriage legislation

In Spain, Benedict XVI addressed Zapatero's program which has either adopted or discussed legislation in favor of same-sex marriage legislation, fast-track divorce, embryonic stem-cell research, easing abortion laws, etc. His comments can be guiding principles for how we also address these issue in the US: accent the positive:

"Attempts are being made to organize the life of society on the basis of subjective and ephemeral desires alone, with no reference to objective, prior truths such as the dignity of each human being and his inalienable rights and duties, which every social group is called to serve," the pope said in a Sunday morning Mass attended by one and a half million people.

In a similar vein, Benedict exhorted the Spanish bishops to "dauntlessly proclaim that prescinding from God, acting as if he did not exist or relegating faith to the purely private sphere, undermines the truth about man and compromises the future of culture and society."

The pope minced no words in defining the family as "founded on the indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman," drawing strong and sustained applause twice at the Sunday Mass.

Yet Benedict XVI never crossed the line into direct challenge to Zapatero. In fact, he never even mentioned the prime minister, or referred directly to the Spanish situation. When tempted to do so, Benedict shifted to a positive register.

During a brief encounter with the press on the papal plane en route to Valencia, Benedict XVI was asked about the legalization of gay marriage in Spain.

"I would say that we shouldn't begin immediately with the negative things," Benedict XVI replied, "because we also see families that love each other, that are happy, and we want to encourage this reality, which gives us hope for the future."

"It's true that there are problems, things to which Christian life must say 'no,' " the pope said. "We want to make people understand that on the basis of human nature, it's man and woman who are ordained to one another, who are ordained to give humanity a future.

"Let's shine a light on these positive things, so we can try to make people understand why the church cannot accept certain things, but that at the same time it wants to help people and to respect them," he said.

Upon arrival, Benedict again accented the positive.

"Christian faith and ethics are not meant to stifle love, but to make it healthier, stronger and more truly free," he said in front of a million people Saturday night. "Human love needs to be purified and to mature if it is to be fully human and the principle of a true and lasting joy."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Solidarity Key to Globalization

Benedict XVI considers solidarity the key to turn globalization into an ally, not an enemy, in the struggle against poverty.
"It is an opportunity," he continued, "to be weaving a network of understanding and solidarity among peoples, without reducing everything to merely mercantile or pragmatic exchanges, in which there will also be room for the human problems of every place and, in particular, of emigrants forced to leave their land in search of better conditions of life, which sometimes entails serious consequences in the personal, family and social realms.

"The Church, considering the exercise of charity as an essential dimension of her being and mission, develops in an abnegated way valuable care of the needy of any condition or provenance, and collaborates in this task with the different public entities and institutions in order that no one who is in need of support will lack a friendly hand to help him overcome his difficulty."

The Pope added that the Church "offers her personal and material resources, but especially human closeness which tries to rescue from the saddest poverty, loneliness and abandonment, knowing that love, in its purity and gratuitousness, is the best testimony of the God in whom we believe and who impels us to love."

Monday, July 03, 2006

Benedict XVI has the last word in the Synod on the Eucharist

A concluding document for the Synod will be issued this summer by Benedict XVI. Preview: "A correction is necessary. The liturgy must be won back, in the spirit of the Council."

Sandro Magister's article states that the council of 15 men who are preparing the outline for the document has been told by Benedict XVI to move along more quickly. The outline follows from the proposals of the Synod. The surprises will come from Benedict's ideas. According to the secretary for the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Albert Malcolm Patabendige Don, "The reform of Vatican II never got off the ground." And he stated in an interview: "The Church has always been aware that its liturgical life must be oriented toward God, and must bring with it a profoundly mystical atmosphere. Now for a number of years the tendency has been to forget this, and to substitute for it a spirit of complete liberty that leaves everything open to a rootless and depthless creativity."

Read the whole interview. A breath of fresh air.

Orthodox and Catholic Relations

The Orthodox-Catholic dialogue has received new impetus as both religions have studied the developments of the modern world. Both Orthodox and Catholic representatives are beginning today a summit that will precede the G-8 summit of industrial leaders in St. Petersburg, July 15-17. The summit will address burning issues of global development and will offer religious leaders the opportunity to inform political leaders of the world's leading countries about the results of this discussion at the G-8 summit.

According to Metropolitan Krill:

In the countries of Catholic and Orthodox tradition, various negative tendencies have grown. There is also growing aggression and intolerance, the continued low birthrate, growing drug addiction and alcoholism, serious epidemics, the increasingly polluted environment and depleting natural resources.

At the same time, society has overlooked the fact that all this happens because of the lack of a system of people's moral education. Religion has been confined to the private sphere, while the social sphere often supports norms contradicting traditional morality.

In the process of our contacts and monitoring the developments, we have discovered that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have the same vision of the problems facing the world today.

Moreover, our two Churches advocate the same ethical norms. Therefore, we cannot but unite our efforts

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Church still suffers today

Good to remember when we read news reports regarding the Church: from Benedict XVI, June 29th:

The Lord is continually on a journey towards the Cross, towards the lowliness of the suffering and slain servant of God, but at the same time, he is also headed toward the vastness of the world, in which He goes before us as the Risen Lord [...]. For the Church, Good Friday and Easter always go together. [...] The Church – and Christ in it – still suffers today. Christ is relentlessly mocked and stricken over and over again in the figure of the Church; there are always efforts to push it out of the world. The barque of the Church is forever being buffeted by the wind of ideologies that penetrate it with their waters, seemingly condemning it to sink. And yet, precisely in the Church’s suffering, Christ is victorious. [...] He stays on his boat, the ship of the Church. Thus even in the ministry of Peter there is revealed the weakness of what comes from man, but also the strength of God.”