Rorate Caeli

The truth of Europe's roots

For Christians, truth has a name: God. And goodness has a face: Jesus Christ. The faith of Christians, from the time of Saints Cyril and Methodius and the early missionaries, has in fact played a decisive role in shaping the spiritual and cultural heritage of this country. It must do likewise in the present and into the future.

The rich patrimony of spiritual and cultural values, each finding expression in the other, has not only given shape to the nation’s identity but has also furnished it with the vision necessary to exercise a role of cohesion at the heart of Europe. For centuries this territory has been a meeting point between various peoples, traditions, and cultures. As we are all aware, it has known painful chapters and carries the scars of tragic events born of misunderstanding, war and persecution.

Yet it is also true, that its Christian roots have nourished a remarkable spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation and cooperation which has enabled the people of these lands to find freedom and to usher in a new beginning, a new synthesis, a renewal of hope. Is it not precisely this spirit that contemporary Europe requires?

Europe is more than a continent. It is a home! And freedom finds its deepest meaning in a spiritual homeland. With full respect for the distinction between the political realm and that of religion – which indeed preserves the freedom of citizens to express religious belief and live accordingly – I wish to underline the irreplaceable role of Christianity for the formation of the conscience of each generation and the promotion of a basic ethical consensus that serves every person who calls this continent, “home”! In this spirit, I acknowledge the voice of those who today, across this country and continent, seek to apply their faith respectfully yet decisively in the public arena, in the expectation that social norms and policies be informed by the desire to live by the truth that sets every man and woman free (cf. Caritas in Veritate, 9).
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Dear friends, our presence in this magnificent capital, which is often spoken of as the heart of Europe, prompts us to ask in what that “heart” consists. While there is no simple answer to that question, surely a clue is found in the architectural jewels that adorn this city. The arresting beauty of its churches, castle, squares and bridges cannot but draw our minds to God. Their beauty expresses faith; they are epiphanies of God that rightly leave us pondering the glorious marvels to which we creatures can aspire when we give expression to the aesthetic and the noetic aspects of our innermost being. How tragic it would be if someone were to behold such examples of beauty, yet ignore the transcendent mystery to which they point. The creative encounter of the classical tradition and the Gospel gave birth to a vision of man and society attentive to God’s presence among us. In shaping the cultural patrimony of this continent it insisted that reason does not end with what the eye sees but rather is drawn to what lies beyond, that for which we deeply yearn: the Spirit, we might say, of Creation.

At the present crossroads of civilization, so often marked by a disturbing sundering of the unity of goodness, truth and beauty and the consequent difficulty in finding an acceptance of common values, every effort for human progress must draw inspiration from that living heritage. Europe, in fidelity to her Christian roots, has a particular vocation to uphold this transcendent vision in her initiatives to serve the common good of individuals, communities, and nations. ...

“Veritas vincit”. This is the motto that the flag of the President of the Czech Republic bears: In the end, truth does conquer, not by force, but by persuasion, by the heroic witness of men and women of firm principle, by sincere dialogue which looks beyond self-interest to the demands of the common good. The thirst for truth, beauty and goodness, implanted in all men and women by the Creator, is meant to draw people together in the quest for justice, freedom and peace. History has amply shown that truth can be betrayed and manipulated in the service of false ideologies, oppression and injustice. ... [W]ith these sentiments I offer prayerful good wishes that your service be inspired and sustained by the light of that truth which is a reflection of the eternal Wisdom of God the Creator.
Benedict XVI
Spanish Hall, Prague Castle, September 26, 2009

11 comments:

John McFarland said...

In sum: the Catholic religion exists to make the world better.

Can anyone point me to the place in the scriptures where it says this?

Jordanes said...

No, of course we can't, just as you can't point to a place in the Holy Father's talk where he says or even implies that "the Catholic religion exists to make the world better."

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

What else DOES he talk about?

Nor is this address in any way unusual. Can you find me any evidence in the Pope's magisterium of the primacy of the love of God? And if you can, could you give me an estimate of the percentage of his magisterium in which God is given his rightful primacy?

You are as I was until I read Amerio's Iota Unum seven or eight years ago. The difference was that when I saw the evidence, I accepted it and sought to act accordingly.

You, on the other hand, determinedly, unrelentlingly, ceaselessly refuse to see what is right in front of our noses virtually every time the Pope puts pen to paper.

He does not deny God's primacy, but he virtually never affirms it. For all practical purposes, God exists for the perfection (or at least the improvement) of man.

In the gospels, even some of the Pharisees gave lip service to the two great commandments; would that the Pope did even that.

Mother of God, seat of wisdom, pray for us.

Jordanes said...

What else DOES he talk about?

You'll find out if you would read his writings with docility and an open mind.

Can you find me any evidence in the Pope's magisterium of the primacy of the love of God?

He talks about it at great length in his first encyclical, Deus caritas est.

And if you can, could you give me an estimate of the percentage of his magisterium in which God is given his rightful primacy?

100 percent.

You are as I was until I read Amerio's Iota Unum seven or eight years ago. The difference was that when I saw the evidence, I accepted it and sought to act accordingly. You, on the other hand, determinedly, unrelentlingly, ceaselessly refuse to see what is right in front of our noses virtually every time the Pope puts pen to paper.

No, the difference is that I don't think I am the Pope's Pope. You, on the other hand, never have anything to say here about Pope Benedict's teaching except for criticism and fault-finding. The Pope gives you fish and you complain that he didn't give you steak. The Pope gives you steak and you complain that he didn't give you a baked potato too. The Pope gives you a baked potato and you complain that he didn't give you sour cream. It's all so tiresome.

He does not deny God's primacy, but he virtually never affirms it. For all practical purposes, God exists for the perfection (or at least the improvement) of man.

On the contrary, his address in the Spanish Hall of Prague Castle today would be unintelligible if he didn't affirm God's primacy. It's as if you didn't read his address at all, but once again did you reflexive, "Oh, Pope Benedict said something again. I'd better start my habitual complaining that he didn't say things exactly the way I think he should say things."

In the gospels, even some of the Pharisees gave lip service to the two great commandments; would that the Pope did even that.

You REALLY need to stop expressing your off-kilter opinions about the Holy Father. It's bad enough to hear such offensive, erroneous assaults on the Vicar of Christ from enemies of the Church, far worse when it's a Catholic saying it.

Mother of God, seat of wisdom, pray for us.

Amen.

Anonymous said...

To John McFarland :

The Church has repeatedly said all along centuries and especially during the XIXth-XXth that when states and societies are conforming themselves to Catholic doctrine ... the world is going better.
That clinging closer to the faith is the best way to peace, justice and prosperity.

Post-Vatican II popes are also repeating the same. Why are you so upset and surprised ?
You could be "bored" to hear the same tune for over 200 years but popes cannot do otherwise than repeating this permanent truth.

Alsaticus

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

I've asked the question several times in several ways:

Why doesn't His Holiness say clearly what you think he's saying?

I've noticed that you haven't answered it. Rather, you've accused me of captiousness and questioned by manners.

The reason, I suspect, is either
(1) you don't recognize how (to put the matter as kindly as I can) equivocal the Holy Father's statements are, or
(2) you have no answer, but for whatever reason refuse to admit that this constitutes a big problem; for if the trumpet sounds an uncertain note, how can the Church Militant prepare for battle?

If the answer is (1), you should really find yourself another hobby.
You don't have the intellectual firepower for this one.

If the answer is (2), you should really find yourself another hobby. You don't have the courage for this one.

If, of course, there's a third reason, I'll be glad to hear about it.

John McFarland said...

Alsaticus,

The pre-Vatican II Church does indeed say that the Church does good for the world, which is a good thing, since both the elect and the reprobate have to live here for a while.

But the pre-Vatican II Church also teaches that the elect will spend eternity in Heaven, and the reprobate will spend eternity in Hell. So the positive effect of the Church on earthly things was not a high-priority item.

But in and since Vatican II, one can fairly read the Magisterium as teaching that earthly good is at least a very important part of what the Church should be doing; and arguably THE most important thing that the Church should be doing. The good of the world certainly gets a lot more space than (say) death, judgment, heaven and hell in the conciliar magisterium. (Indeed, the four last things get practically no space at all. Compare (say) the Sermon on the Mount.)

There is not a line in the New Testament that explicitly or implicitly supports either the "moderate" or the "extreme" versions of the conciliar "turn to the world." One of Father Faber's books gathers together all the pronouncements of the NT on the world; they are not positive, to say the least. To note the most hair-raising, in the "priestly prayer" to his Father in John 17, Jesus says (v. 4) that he does not pray for the world, but for those that the Father has given him -- the Apostles, and those who will come to believe through him.

Any questions?

Jordanes said...

Why doesn't His Holiness say clearly what you think he's saying?

He did. I understood exactly what he said as soon as I read it. It is you who have repeatedly expressed bewilderment at the Holy Father's words.

I've noticed that you haven't answered it. Rather, you've accused me of captiousness and questioned by manners.

I've not "accused" you of captiousness, I've merely noticed that when it comes to Pope Benedict (and the post-Vatican II magisterium of Holy Mother Church), you ARE captious. Also, it's not merely your manners that I've questioned.

Seriously, have you ever had anything to say in response to a Rorate Caeli post on a talk or a document of the Holy Father's that didn't find fault?

The reason, I suspect, is either
(1) you don't recognize how (to put the matter as kindly as I can) equivocal the Holy Father's statements are


They're not that much more equivocal than Our Lord's or St. Paul's words can be. You find fault with Pope Benedict, but thankfully you avoid turning your faultfinding magnifying glass upon Holy Writ.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McFarland: Leave aside the spirit of criticism, division and condemnation long enough to realize that just as the saints tell us that devotion to the Our Lady and her holy rosary is a sign of predetination, the inability to hear the Holy Father, our chief sheperd, is also sign...a very ominous sign. Pray for the grace to be in union with Peter.

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 13:14:

The only shepherd that can be trusted absolutely is the Good Shepherd. His vicars, except when they teach what the Church has always taught, or teach ex cathedra (which in practice means some refinement or solemn pronouncement of what the Church has always taught), can err -- and, inexpressibly sad and scandalous as it is to have to say so, his vicars in recent times have erred in more case than one.

I'm just a sheep who often cannot hear the voice of the shepherd in the magisterium of the conciliar Church; and I cannot follow what does not come to me in the shepherd's voice.

It is not I, and those from whom I have learned the terrible truth, who are the perpetrators of division. It is those who have sought to teach us a different gospel from the one taught to the Church from the beginning.

Jordanes said...

You still have not demostrated that anything in the Vicar of Christ's Sept. 26 address in Prague is "a different gospel from the one taught to the Church from the beginning." But that's not surprising, since it is impossible to do that -- because it is not a different gospel. It contradicts the Gospel in no way whatsoever.