Rorate Caeli

Mein Freund ist mein, und ich bin dein,
die Liebe soll nichts scheiden.

The Pope's last address in Germany, to the Catholic laity (officially, to "Catholics active in the Church and society gathered in the Konzerthaus", in Freiburg im Breisgau), is certainly the most impressive of his visit to his nation - including on the need that the "reform" of the Church begin by those who truly need reform: each Christian faithful. And, as we had mentioned yesterday regarding the Kirchensteuer, on the absolute necessity of the "organized" and "wealthy" Church to rid itself of all that renders it "worldlike". It is the official response of the Pope to the disgraceful attitude of much of the German-speaking hierarchy, priests, and lay faithful, including those making up or supporting the "Pfarrer-Initiative", in Austria - and one of his most important addresses this year.

For some decades now we have been experiencing a decline in religious practice and we have been seeing substantial numbers of the baptized drifting away from church life. This prompts the question: should the Church not change? Must she not adapt her offices and structures to the present day, in order to reach the searching and doubting people of today?

Blessed Mother Teresa was once asked what in her opinion was the first thing that would have to change in the Church. Her answer was: you and I.


...

In the concrete history of the Church, however, a contrary tendency is also manifested, namely that the Church becomes settled in this world, she becomes self-sufficient and adapts herself to the standards of the world. She gives greater weight to organization and institutionalization than to her vocation to openness.

In order to accomplish her true task adequately, the Church must constantly renew the effort to detach herself from the “worldliness” of the world. In this she follows the words of Jesus: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn 17:16). One could almost say that history comes to the aid of the Church here through the various periods of secularization, which have contributed significantly to her purification and inner reform.

Secularizing trends – whether by expropriation of Church goods, or elimination of privileges or the like – have always meant a profound liberation of the Church from forms of worldliness, for in the process she has set aside her worldly wealth and has once again completely embraced her worldly poverty. In this the Church has shared the destiny of the tribe of Levi, which according to the Old Testament account was the only tribe in Israel with no ancestral land of its own, taking as its portion only God himself, his word and his signs. At those moments in history, the Church shared with that tribe the demands of a poverty that was open to the world, in order to be released from her material ties: and in this way her missionary activity regained credibility.

History has shown that, when the Church becomes less worldly, her missionary witness shines more brightly.
...
It is not a question here of finding a new strategy to relaunch the Church. Rather, it is a question of setting aside mere strategy and seeking total transparency, not bracketing or ignoring anything from the truth of our present situation, but living the faith fully here and now in the utterly sober light of day, appropriating it completely, and stripping away from it anything that only seems to belong to faith, but in truth is mere convention or habit.

To put it another way: for people of every era, not just our own, the Christian faith is a scandal. That the eternal God should know us and care about us, that the intangible should at a particular moment have become tangible, that he who is immortal should have suffered and died on the Cross, that we who are mortal should be given the promise of resurrection and eternal life – to believe all this is to posit something truly remarkable.



21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Holy Father always seems to find exactly the right words to leave the message he means to give. The German Catholics, especially the hierarchy, must let go of the material contributions to save their faith in the Church and Jesus Christ. Today they are still afraid to let go of the Church tax income, but until they do their faith remains in danger. Hard saying, who can bear it?

Anonymous said...

The Holy Father always seems to find exactly the right words to leave the message he means to give. The German Catholics, especially the hierarchy, must let go of the material contributions to save their faith in the Church and Jesus Christ. Today they are still afraid to let go of the Church tax income, but until they do their faith remains in danger. Hard saying, who can bear it?

Matthew said...

This causes me to think of all the conflict in the U.S. between the State and Catholic social service agencies, especially with regard to issues about adoption by homosexual couples, etc. These agencies complain about continued and ridiculous governmental policy towards Catholic agencies and act surprised when local, state, and federal governments forcefully pursue their aggressive anti-Catholic agenda against all reason, but still want to keep taking the money of these evildoers.

The Holy Father is telling us to WAKE UP. We need a recovery of the ethos of the Church Militant.

shane said...

"Secularizing trends – whether by expropriation of Church goods, or elimination of privileges or the like – have always meant a profound liberation of the Church from forms of worldliness"

We may soon be about to find out again...hopefully it works. (Indeed it could be taken as divine retribution.)

Reluctant Pessimist said...

New Catholic: For the benefit of those who don't get the point of your title (for everyone's edification and delight, too, of course), perhaps you could add a link to an audio or video of the duet of the cantata (no. 140) whence come the words. You have done so elsewhere to very positive effect.

I would not be the only one, I suspect, who would be grateful to you.

Anonymous said...

Since the 'resigning' rumour thread is closed, I hope that I may add here that popes don't 'resign', they abdicate. And no, don't quote Vatican sources to the contrary. They are not suthorities in usage. A resignation implies that someone has to receive and accept the act. There is no one on earth who can do that for a Pope. Popes are monarchs and they abdicate; they do not resign. They do not represent the people and they are not responsible to the people's representatives; they are not presidents. They directly represent God.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Monarchs? Goofy notion "in light of" Vatican II!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 19:29, do you consider praise of the heresiarch Martin Luther to be among these "right words?"

Gratias said...

The Holy Father is wise. His speech brought to my mind the loss of the Papal States 150 years ago to Garibaldi and Humberto I. The Church shined after that as the spiritual compass of the world. People look up to the Vatican now more than then. And John Paul II was powerful enough to play an important role in bringing down the evil of Communism.

Anonymous said...

P.K.T.P., thanks for clarifying the difference of resigning and abdication for Popes.

But the idea of Benedict XVI abdicating is something I hope I won't have to see.

Pope Benedict is a bright man no matter how some might disagree with him, and I believe that in his own way and only God knows this, Pope Benedict has done at least according to his heart and mind, all he can to bring about some kind of peace on different areas of the Church.

Yes, I know some of you will disagree with how he is doing it, but he is our Pope, and he deserves respect from his subjects.

I am also going to say that I hope some of the ROMAN CURIA get to read RORATE CAELI, and I hope they realize that they should RELAX the Holy Father busy schedule or at least I hope someone dares to point out, or write an article on how the Holy Father is being overworked.

I mean the work of the Holy Father never stops but he should be able to slow down just a bit.

Don't you think???

Anonymous said...

Anon. 5.28:

I don't think that His Holiness is about to abdicate. I do think that he has signalled his preferred successor. I also think that he would abdicate if he felt that he was losing his mental faculties; however, there is no indication so far that his mental or physical health is seriously impaired.

One possibility is that he is using the abdication signals to warn the S.S.P.X that the opportunity it now has may not come again for a while.

P.K.T.P.

New Catholic said...

P.K.T.P.,

The CIC and the CCEO could not be clearer: the word is "renuntiatio" (CIC, Can. 332, §2; CCEO, Can. 44, §2). You may not like it, or think it is historically deficient, but it is the current legal name of the act. It is not a mere "Vatican source", it is the Law.

NC

Anonymous said...

N.C.

I really don't care what the legal term is (and it would be 'renounce', not resign). The historical and cultural term is abdicate and it is perfectly correct. Monarchs, whether hereditary or elected (like the Sobieskis of Poland) abdicate. The term 'resign' has associations in English which do not fit.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

For 'abdicate', my trusty Chambers has this: "formally to renounce". It is the right English word. Again, resignation, in English usage, implies a process of receving and accepting an act.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Bishops snub the Holy Father, have look :(

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iNqFOvpBho&feature=player_embedded#!

New Catholic said...

This "I don't care" game would last forever, P.K.T.P. Resignation is a perfectly fine translation of "renuntiatio" and, by the way, of all other words derived from from it in the Romance languages and that should also be translated as resignation. A resignation, by the way, does not need to be "accepted", it may be only acknowledged - which is certainly the case with the papal resignation foreseen in the above-mentioned canons. Finally, the very own English translation in the Holy See website (while not authoritative as the typical text, certainly) correctly uses the translation "resignation".

Therefore, between the Codes and canonists-translators and your own linguistic concerns, I will remain with the former.

Anonymous said...

Dear N.C.:

The best English word will respect usage in the English language. As we both know, official Roman translations are sometimes not very useful or helpful; they may even be misleading. Monarchs abdicate in English usage; presidents resign. An abdication, by definition is a “formal renouncement”. The Pope is a Sovereign person and not a president; he is not the first among equals in a republic of the Church. He represents God directly and has plenary supreme power immediately and everywhere. So the proper verb in English usage—the one that conveys the sense of his office best—is abdicate.

P.K.T.P.

New Catholic said...

Actually, the English translation in the Holy See website is the one provided by the Canon Law Society of America - and a quite interesting translation, in fact.

There is a Latin word for that, it is "abdicatio"..., which can also, in fact, in Latin, indicate the act of resigning from a position or of renouncing to something. And, yet, it was not used by the Supreme Legislator. Naturally, you could send a letter to the Holy See to suggest an alteration of those canons and the replacement of the offending words...

NC

Anonymous said...

As for the rumors, kindly remember that the same rumors were spread around regarding his predecessor, John Paul II. If I recall correctly, they began in the early 1990s.

Delphina

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my comment. Had I scrolled down a bit more, I would have seen that this had already been established.

Delphina

Anonymous said...

The bishops of Germany & elsewhere have to speak the truth and if they don't, they're misleading/scandalizing their flocks.