Friday, September 03, 2010

A pontificate under attack

Sandro Magister, "'Why They Are Attacking Me.' Autobiography of a Pontificate" (www.chiesa, September 3, 2010): "Ever since he was elected, Joseph Ratzinger has been the target of a crescendo of assaults, from inside and outside of the Church. Is an "invisible hand" moving them? Here's how the pope sees and explains it."


Anonymous one said...

Jesus Christ is the model of perfect virtue and every disciple should receive strength from knowing he is with you always. To follow Jesus will mean for the disciple that as Jesus was rejected, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, and spat upon, so too will you be. Yes, this includes the pope too. The disciple of Christ can expect these things from the world and should not be disheartened when these things are directed upon them from those who call themselves Christians, but do not have charity. Yes even people in the Church are sinners. The biggest detraction, I believe, of building the Church of Christ comes from people who claim to be Christian yet act without charity. To be a disciple of Christ is a calling of love from God. Disciples of Christ should always fix their gaze on God, who acts for the good and put their faith in God not in mankind,

"When Peter saw the people he addressed them, 'Men of Israel, why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after he had given his verdict to release him. It was you who accused the Holy and Upright One, you who demanded that a murderer should be released to you." (Acts 3:12-14)

It's a mistake for the disciple of Jesus Christ to make idols of people or things. All glory honor and praise belong to God alone. Many people today and in every generation fall into this trap when they hold up sports figures as heroes that would seem supernatural or ministers in the Church who give a spirit filled sermon. Disciples of Christ recognize the gifts that God has given to these people and give the glory to God without turning these human beings into idols. Often I have listened to sporting "heroes" say, "I don't want to be held up as someone to be emulated" well the truth is many children do hold these people up as greater in virtue than they are. To these I would say get used to it that's the way it is. The same thing happens with a priest who is held, so it would seem, higher than God. Some priests have this same attitude as the sports hero; "don't hold me in such high esteem." Well the fact is people do and for those who have been given much, much more is expected; if you can't manage it maybe it's not your calling. The pope said, "the rejection of God coincides so often with an attack on the priesthood and what publicly distinguishes it, celibacy." What I find that is so true in this statement is the word attack, an attack that lacks charity. What the pope does say and is very heartening in his acknowledgement is this, "But the priest "can do this only if he himself comes from God, if he lives with and from God." What is most needed is charity extended first from the leader and if peace is returned there is nothing much you can do but continue with love and prayer for all.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

America has always had a civil religion. Its public face is one of platitudes – mostly empty ones now. The muscle beneath the skin has always been the majority consensus that the Christian spirit and the democratic spirit were bound together inextricably, and politicians ought not forget it. That old gray mare of a “consensus” plainly ain’t what it used to be, and the fact of its demise – indeed of its very existence – can be explained largely by the facts that, in America, the adjectives “Christian” and “protestant” are virtually synonymous, (a) with one another, and (b) with a third adjective, “utilitarian.”

That’s the rub, I’m afraid. The bond of “Christianity” and “democracy” is only imaginable because of the essentially protestant and utilitarian nature of Christianity in America. Protestant utilitarian Christianity (PUC, to be brief) made that bond possible, and is also largely responsible for its dissolution.

Utilitarianism is the belief that, in the words of Helvetius (quoted in Halevy, The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism), “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.” Helvetius was himself an atheist, but there have been many attempts at Christian utilitarianism over the years. Capitalism is inconceivable without an utilitarian foundation, and Pat Robertson’s enthusiasm for Wall Street at times eclipses his enthusiasm for dimestore expressions of Christian fervor. Unfortunately for Parson Robertson, however, God (much less Christ) is a dispensible concept within the basic utilitarian framework -- and protestantism, as well as uniquely American aberrations such as mormonism -- can be thought of, from one point of view – as convenient, handy-dandy, and ultimately futile attempts to deny all that.

Protestantism is “feel good” Christianity. It is rooted in a superficial concept of freedom: freedom to derive from scripture whatever one wishes; freedom to “vote with your feet” by moving from one denomination to another as one moves from one store to another in a shopping mall; freedom to participate in “services” on a Sunday, or to sleep off one’s hangover with a clear conscience; freedom to let one’s sins go on one’s own authority, because of a self-induced “feeling” of renewal, or because faith has rendered sin an empty concept to begin with. PUC is religion that falls in naturally with capitalism, commerce, and individualism. It is as American as apple pie.

As a matter of fact, PUC fits in so well that, when the cultural climate grows hostile to Christianity, when the abovementioned “bond” between Christianity and American democracy begins to dissolve, it obligingly denies itself, falls on whatever doctrinal sword it as, and defers to the utilitarian priority. The shame of American Catholicism is that it has in most respects aped PUC. It was an American hand that was largely responsible for the American idolatry at the core of Dignitatis Humanae. And the mindless ecumenism of V2 threatens to finish the job of transforming the Catholic Church in America into yet another PUC denomination.

Lutheran said...

There's no crying in door-to-door pastoral work--and yes, the pope IS certainly walking door-to-door though this might not appear obvious. His words are listened to and read over the internet which makes his the world's most plugged-in papacy in reagrds to taking the Word to the streets. Sure there's tears, but one MUST not allow a meltdown in morale--as that happens the devil is surely playing with one's soul. That goes for ALL believers whether lay or clergyman. And that is, in part, why the church consists of all believers. All are called on to support their brothers and sisters--and this includes the pope. Benedict XVI is surely not beyond calling out for a hand. Give it, say I. Pray for his well-being physically, mentally, spiritually. He's too easy a target by the devils' minions, and it is they who push him into the deepest fire. As we pray for him, we give him strength and though he may never know our names individually, he will know that Christ is present for him and for all believers. He will know that Christians continue to live in Him and share this blessing for him. Keep the faith all! :)