See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Pope of Christmas Past: "The Church's Garment is Torn".


Ghost of Christmas Past.

Pope Benedict in his Christmas address to the Roman Curia might be compared to the Dickens' Christmas Carol character, the "ghost of Christmas past".  In his extensive greeting, the Holy Father laments that amongst the great tribulations of the past year the worst seems to have been when the priestly sexual abuse scandal went global - right in the middle of the Year of the Priest. 
.
Under the mantle of the sacred.
.
"We were all the more dismayed, then, when in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime."
.
The torn garment.
.
The Holy Father likens the Church to a vision of St. Hildegarde, wherein she saw the garment of the Church torn and her feet all muddied by the crimes of her ministers.  Pope Benedict asks where these sins came from, and what must be done to avoid them.  He cites the decadence of culture saying:
.
We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again.

.
"In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again.
.
... trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities...
.
We are well aware of the particular gravity of this sin committed by priests and of our corresponding responsibility. But neither can we remain silent regarding the context of these times in which these events have come to light. There is a market in child pornography that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society. The psychological destruction of children, in which human persons are reduced to articles of merchandise, is a terrifying sign of the times. From Bishops of developing countries I hear again and again how sexual tourism threatens an entire generation and damages its freedom and its human dignity.
.
The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon – the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities – the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus tentacles around the entire world – an eloquent expression of the tyranny of mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart – and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it.
.
Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist.
.
In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children. This, however, was part of a fundamental perversion of the concept of ethos. It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a "better than" and a "worse than". Nothing is good or bad in itself. Everything depends on the circumstances and on the end in view. Anything can be good or also bad, depending upon purposes and circumstances. Morality is replaced by a calculus of consequences, and in the process it ceases to exist. The effects of such theories are evident today." - Source
.
One of the miseries of the Church.
.
So what about those priests who didn't get caught, didn't get sued?  What about those who comprise that segment in the Church the Holy Father refers to in Light of the World, as "one of those miseries of the Church"?    
.
h/t to Whispers in the Loggia

9 comments:

  1. Just thought I would give you a head's up, Terry. My post for Vox Nova tomorrow is ready and scheduled -- and it is a theme which I think you will appreciate: the arts. Christmas is invoked in it (in a few ways), and your complaints against the Puritanesque side of society are, I hope, complemented by it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Also, if you want a preview, the opening poem is one which I wrote before, and can be read here:

    http://houseoftheinklings.blogspot.com/2006/09/art-is-prophecy.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. S.MichaelArchangel commenter - I took your comment down - I can't permit that type of comment. This post is not intended as an attck on the Pope - I was directing attention to those who bend the rules to suit their orientation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Henry - I look forward to the posr and I am pondering the poem - thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad the poem has made you think, and yes, a post on the arts I think fits much of what I find with what I like in many of your own posts -- not only your work as an artist, but the spirit of art, which is one that must embrace joy and not renounce it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Terry-
    Veering off-topic again-(Sorry, it's a habit with me--ask my poor husband)-let's remember to pray for Michael R, as I believe his surgery is tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  7. elisabeta6:02 PM

    The Pope is referring to Scivias, Book Three, which can be gotten through The Classics of Western Spirituality, Paulist Press. The same message is found in the Third Secret of La Salette and the Third Secret of Fatima. I guess we need to heed Our Lord's and Lady's warnings. Interesting coincidence, all three are three.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Julie - yes - of course. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Henry - I read your post but didn't take time to register in order to comment - I'll do so later after I read the post again. It is a very dense reflection - and I'm a pretty dense guy. It is beautifully written to be sure and I need to read it again to absorb it. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.