This year, the coincidences between the calendar and the Proper of Time were very interesting: the week which led to Laetare Sunday was filled with joyous Christmas spirit, from Saint Joseph to Lady Day. The last, most solemn part of Lent, Passiontide, begins next Sunday. The first week of Passiontide will coincide with that Traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart, the First Thursday and First Friday, a wonderful opportunity to prepare one's spirit to the following week, the holiest of weeks -- and to meditate on our own disgraceful responsibility for the vices of our age, when the Christian Latin spirit which created and strengthened the West for so long has deteriorated beyond recognition.
The Holy Father today reminded European politicians of the unwaivering principles which must guide public life:
Among these the following emerge clearly today:
- protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;
- recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;
- the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart.