Rorate Caeli

"Let your deepest feelings rise towards the Unknown God" -- Benedict XVI on the "Court of the Gentiles"

...Nowadays many people acknowledge that they are not part of any religion, yet they long for a new world, a world that is freer, more just and united, more peaceful and happy. In speaking to you tonight, I think of all the things you have to say to each other. Those of you who are non-believers challenge believers in a particular way to live in a way consistent with the faith they profess and by your rejection of any distortion of religion which would make it unworthy of man. Those of you who are believers long to tell your friends that the treasure dwelling within you is meant to be shared, it raises questions, it calls for reflection. The question of God is not a menace to society, it does not threaten a truly human life! The question of God must not be absent from the other great questions of our time.


Dear friends, you are challenged to build bridges between one another. Take advantage of this opportunity to discover, deep within your hearts and with serious arguments, the ways which lead to profound dialogue. You have so much to say to one another! Do not turn away from the challenges and issues before you!

I believe deeply that the encounter of faith and reason enables us to find ourselves. But all too often reason falters in the face of self-interest and the lure of profit, and is forced to regard the latter as the ultimate criterion. Striving for truth is not easy. But each of us is called to make a courageous decision to seek the truth, precisely because there can be no shortcut to the happiness and beauty of a life of genuine fulfilment. Jesus says as much in the Gospel: "The truth will make you free".

Dear young people, it is up to you, in your own countries and in Europe as a whole, to help believers and non-believers to rediscover the path of dialogue. Religions have nothing to fear from a just secularity, one that is open and allows individuals to live in accordance with what they believe in their own consciences. (the English translation on the Vatican website has "hear" rather than "fear", but the latter is the correct reading: the French text says "Les religions ne peuvent avoir peur d’une juste laïcité" and the Italian text says "Le religioni non possono aver paura di una laicità giusta" -- Pascal) If we are to build a world of liberty, equality and fraternity, then believers and non-believers must feel free to be just that, equal in their right to live as individuals and in community in accord with their convictions; and fraternal in their relations with one another. One of the reasons for this Court of the Gentiles is to encourage such feelings of fraternity, over and above our individual convictions yet not denying our differences. And on an even deeper level, to recognize that God alone, in Christ, grants us inner freedom and the possibility of truly encountering one another as brothers and sisters.

***

Dear young people, what you can share is not only your experience of life, but also your approach to prayer. Believers and non-believers, as you stand in this court of the Unknown, you are also invited to approach the sacred space, to pass through the magnificent portal of Notre Dame and to enter the cathedral for a moment of prayer. For some of you this will be a prayer to a God you already know by faith, but for others it may be a prayer to the Unknown God. Dear young friends who are non-believers, as you join those who pray in Notre Dame on this day of the Annunciation of the Lord, open your hearts to the sacred texts, let yourselves be challenged by the beauty of the music and, if you truly desire it, let your deepest feelings rise towards the Unknown God.

Benedict XVI
VIDEO MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
"COURTS OF THE GENTILES", PARIS
March 25, 2011

Photo from Daylife

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh help...! Coming from the Holy Father this disconcerts me...

Barbara

Anonymous said...

The difference between Hilarion and Benedict XVI couldn't be any greater

Anonymous said...

The difference to me seems to be that the Holy Father longs for unity, as did Christ, not only amongst Catholics and Orthodox but for non-believers as well; conversion.

Hilarion seems content with essentially a political alliance to combat modernism but nothing more.

Am I reading that wrong?

Jason

Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem. Mind explaining?

Anonymous said...

The Holy Father states:
"Dear young friends who are non-believers, as you join those who pray in Notre Dame on this day of the Annunciation of the Lord, open your hearts to the sacred texts, let yourselves be challenged by the beauty of the music and, if you truly desire it, let your deepest feelings rise towards the Unknown God."
Let the Holy Father then ensure that we have holy music and sound interpretations of Scripture presented in dignified liturgies.

Anonymous said...

Oh help is right, Barbara.

"Liberty, equality and fraternity"?

Well, this speech is a good prep for Assisi III. Count me out though.

Delphina

Anonymous said...

"If we are to build a world of liberty, equality and fraternity, then believers and non-believers must feel free to be just that, equal in their right to live as individuals and in community in accord with their convictions; and fraternal in their relations with one another. One of the reasons for this Court of the Gentiles is to encourage such feelings of fraternity, over and above our individual convictions yet not denying our differences. And on an even deeper level, to recognize that God alone, in Christ, grants us inner freedom and the possibility of truly encountering one another as brothers and sisters."

This, for me, is a problem.It is ambiguous. Maybe someone can clarify for me?

Barbara

Blayne Riley said...

Great words from the Pope, he is a true pastor.

Mike B. said...

Pope Benedict XVI has the voice of one in love with Jesus Christ, and preaches that the message of Catholic Christianity is an embrace of love inside a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Pope consistently points us in that direction. He mirrors the voice of the Apostolic Age in the Court of the Gentiles.

Michael F Brennan
St Petersburg, Florida USA

Mike B. said...

I first read this dissertation from another source and immediately knew that 'fear' was the correct word while reading the line. To allow the insertion of 'hear' goes beyond the pale of proof-reading error. Call me paranoid but that is very suspicious.

Michael F Brennan
St Petersburg, Florida

Anonymous said...

Those of you who are non-believers challenge believers in a particular way to live in a way consistent with the faith they profess and by your rejection of any distortion of religion which would make it unworthy of man.

There's that word again. Should it not read "unworthy of God"? Isn't the purpose of religion to worship God? Isn't man merely a creature whose responsibility it is to worship the One, true God?

Alan Aversa said...

Yes, as I suspected, I read too much into what you quoted here. The conclusion you didn't quote is a very good invitation to unbelievers to learn to know God:

The God whom believers learn to know invites you to discover him and to find ever greater life in him. Do not be afraid! As you walk together towards a new world, seek the Absolute, seek God, even if for you he is [currently] the Unknown God.

ATW said...

"Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword." (Matthew 10:34)

Liberty, equality and fraternity? What ever happened to warring against the world, the flesh, and the devil?

Jordanes551 said...

Should it not read "unworthy of God"?

No. Religion has to do with man's relation to the Divine. Man worships God -- God does not worship man. To say that a religion is unworthy of God is to suggest that God needs to worship His creatures.

Neal said...

Atheists are attacking the Church. The Church has to fight back, or it will lose. I can't see this going any other way. Most of the young people I know are atheists. Pope Benedict envisions a Christian minority that will positively affect the public sphere, but he will be left with such a minority that no one will care.

Pascendi said...

The Holy Father's powerful words is a challenge to true believers to truly put their faith in God; to make faith not ritualistic actions, but true worship which is manifested through the living of the Gospel. The tragedy is that most unbelievers have never met a real believer...

Anonymous said...

"Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matt 28:19

I know this has probably been brought up countless times, but can anyone tell us how "dialoguing" with non-believers has any basis in the New Testament or the tradition of the Church? In fact, can anyone show us when the Church "dialogued" with world prior to Vatican II?

John M.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes551 said...

Should it not read "unworthy of God"?

No. Religion has to do with man's relation to the Divine. Man worships God -- God does not worship man. To say that a religion is unworthy of God is to suggest that God needs to worship His creatures.


That is precisely the point I was trying to make. It seems as if the new religion in our times is more about man that it is about God. Look at the NO and the TLM. One obviously is directed to the worship of God with the emphasis on kneeling, genuflections, and overall reverence and the other, it seems, is more about putting man on center stage.

Gratias said...

The Holy Father wants Christianity to be discussed openly. Young Europeans that lost their hiding light are like the prodigal son to be welcomed. B-16 wants Catholicism discussed in the public square, and so should we.

Gratias said...

That was guiding light. Sorry.

Tradster said...

And when the educated atheists point out the multiple doctrinal points of departure that the past 50 years have brought us in comparison to what was taught and held before 1960, what will I say to them then?

Joe B said...

John M., like you, I wouldn't exactly describe Saint Paul's interaction with his world as "dialoguing", either. It does seem to be a very weak and poor choice for renaming the traditional concept of converting people. But weak and vague generally describes the church since Vatican II, and I think deliberately so. It gives them wider room for mischief.