Rorate Caeli

Assisi III: Papal address

Dear Brothers and Sisters,


Distinguished Heads and Representatives of Churches, Ecclesial Communities and World Religions,

Dear Friends,


Twenty-five years have passed since Blessed Pope John Paul II first invited representatives of the world’s religions to Assisi to pray for peace. What has happened in the meantime? What is the state of play with regard to peace today? At that time the great threat to world peace came from the division of the earth into two mutually opposed blocs. A conspicuous symbol of this division was the Berlin Wall which traced the border between two worlds right through the heart of the city. In 1989, three years after Assisi, the wall came down, without bloodshed. Suddenly the vast arsenals that stood behind the wall were no longer significant. They had lost their terror. The peoples’ will to freedom was stronger than the arsenals of violence. The question as to the causes of this dramatic change is complex and cannot be answered with simple formulae. But in addition to economic and political factors, the deepest reason for the event is a spiritual one: behind material might there were no longer any spiritual convictions. The will to freedom was ultimately stronger than the fear of violence, which now lacked any spiritual veneer. For this victory of freedom, which was also, above all, a victory of peace, we give thanks. What is more, this was not merely, nor even primarily, about the freedom to believe, although it did include this. To that extent we may in some way link all this to our prayer for peace.

But what happened next? Unfortunately, we cannot say that freedom and peace have characterized the situation ever since.


Even if there is no threat of a great war hanging over us at present, nevertheless the world is unfortunately full of discord. It is not only that sporadic wars are continually being fought – violence as such is potentially ever present and it is a characteristic feature of our world. Freedom is a great good. But the world of freedom has proved to be largely directionless, and not a few have misinterpreted freedom as somehow including freedom for violence. Discord has taken on new and frightening guises, and the struggle for freedom must engage us all in a new way.

Let us try to identify the new faces of violence and discord more closely. It seems to me that, in broad strokes, we may distinguish two types of the new forms of violence, which are the very antithesis of each other in terms of their motivation and manifest a number of differences in detail. Firstly there is terrorism, for which in place of a great war there are targeted attacks intended to strike the opponent destructively at key points, with no regard for the lives of innocent human beings, who are cruelly killed or wounded in the process. In the eyes of the perpetrators, the overriding goal of damage to the enemy justifies any form of cruelty. Everything that had been commonly recognized and sanctioned in international law as the limit of violence is overruled. We know that terrorism is often religiously motivated and that the specifically religious character of the attacks is proposed as a justification for the reckless cruelty that considers itself entitled to discard the rules of morality for the sake of the intended "good". In this case, religion does not serve peace, but is used as justification for violence.

The post-Enlightenment critique of religion has repeatedly maintained that religion is a cause of violence and in this way it has fuelled hostility towards religions. The fact that, in the case we are considering here, religion really does motivate violence should be profoundly disturbing to us as religious persons. In a way that is more subtle but no less cruel, we also see religion as the cause of violence when force is used by the defenders of one religion against others. The religious delegates who were assembled in Assisi in 1986 wanted to say, and we now repeat it emphatically and firmly: this is not the true nature of religion. It is the antithesis of religion and contributes to its destruction. In response, an objection is raised: how do you know what the true nature of religion is? Does your assertion not derive from the fact that your religion has become a spent force? Others in their turn will object: is there such a thing as a common nature of religion that finds expression in all religions and is therefore applicable to them all? We must ask ourselves these questions, if we wish to argue realistically and credibly against religiously motivated violence. Herein lies a fundamental task for interreligious dialogue – an exercise which is to receive renewed emphasis through this meeting. As a Christian I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame. But it is utterly clear that this was an abuse of the Christian faith, one that evidently contradicts its true nature. The God in whom we Christians believe is the Creator and Father of all, and from him all people are brothers and sisters and form one single family. For us the Cross of Christ is the sign of the God who put "suffering-with" (compassion) and "loving-with" in place of force. His name is "God of love and peace" (2 Cor 13:11). It is the task of all who bear responsibility for the Christian faith to purify the religion of Christians again and again from its very heart, so that it truly serves as an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans.

If one basic type of violence today is religiously motivated and thus confronts religions with the question as to their true nature and obliges all of us to undergo purification, a second complex type of violence is motivated in precisely the opposite way: as a result of God’s absence, his denial and the loss of humanity which goes hand in hand with it. The enemies of religion – as we said earlier – see in religion one of the principal sources of violence in the history of humanity and thus they demand that it disappear. But the denial of God has led to much cruelty and to a degree of violence that knows no bounds, which only becomes possible when man no longer recognizes any criterion or any judge above himself, now having only himself to take as a criterion. The horrors of the concentration camps reveal with utter clarity the consequences of God’s absence.

Yet I do not intend to speak further here about state-imposed atheism, but rather about the decline of man, which is accompanied by a change in the spiritual climate that occurs imperceptibly and hence is all the more dangerous. The worship of mammon, possessions and power is proving to be a counter-religion, in which it is no longer man who counts but only personal advantage. The desire for happiness degenerates, for example, into an unbridled, inhuman craving, such as appears in the different forms of drug dependency. There are the powerful who trade in drugs and then the many who are seduced and destroyed by them, physically and spiritually. Force comes to be taken for granted and in parts of the world it threatens to destroy our young people. Because force is taken for granted, peace is destroyed and man destroys himself in this peace vacuum.

The absence of God leads to the decline of man and of humanity. But where is God? Do we know him, and can we show him anew to humanity, in order to build true peace? Let us first briefly summarize our considerations thus far. I said that there is a way of understanding and using religion so that it becomes a source of violence, while the rightly lived relationship of man to God is a force for peace. In this context I referred to the need for dialogue and I spoke of the constant need for purification of lived religion. On the other hand I said that the denial of God corrupts man, robs him of his criteria and leads him to violence.

In addition to the two phenomena of religion and anti-religion, a further basic orientation is found in the growing world of agnosticism: people to whom the gift of faith has not been given, but who are nevertheless on the lookout for truth, searching for God. Such people do not simply assert: "There is no God". They suffer from his absence and yet are inwardly making their way towards him, inasmuch as they seek truth and goodness. They are "pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace". They ask questions of both sides. They take away from militant atheists the false certainty by which these claim to know that there is no God and they invite them to leave polemics aside and to become seekers who do not give up hope in the existence of truth and in the possibility and necessity of living by it. But they also challenge the followers of religions not to consider God as their own property, as if he belonged to them, in such a way that they feel vindicated in using force against others. These people are seeking the truth, they are seeking the true God, whose image is frequently concealed in the religions because of the ways in which they are often practised. Their inability to find God is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God. So all their struggling and questioning is in part an appeal to believers to purify their faith, so that God, the true God, becomes accessible. Therefore I have consciously invited delegates of this third group to our meeting in Assisi, which does not simply bring together representatives of religious institutions. Rather it is a case of being together on a journey towards truth, a case of taking a decisive stand for human dignity and a case of common engagement for peace against every form of destructive force. Finally I would like to assure you that the Catholic Church will not let up in her fight against violence, in her commitment for peace in the world. We are animated by the common desire to be "pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace".

44 comments:

CatholicDefender said...

I'm most troubled by this Pontiff's overwhelmingly positive evaluation of the phenomenon of agnosticism, glossing over the fact that many agnostics are not true seekers of God and of the truth, but are simply too worldly to be bothered to find out more about God, or are too averse to the idea of "absolute truth" to want to concede the truth of Christianity, or indeed of any religious system that claims to be true.

CatholicDefender said...

This is not the first time that the Pope has praised agnostics.

http://www.romereports.com/palio/pope-agnostics-are-closer-to-the-kingdom-of-god-than-believers-whose-life-of-faith-is-routine-english-5003.html

If the Pope is correct that agnostics are better than those whose life of faith is routine, then doesn't that make agnostics better than the vast majority of Catholic believers, who are far from saints and who may be lukewarm one way or another, but haven't lost the faith either.

Craig said...

Very thoughtful address! I really dont see the problem with his comments concerning agnostics. If anything it is a challenge to us to live and continually purify our faith and thus call the true agnostics home to the Catholic faith!

CredoUtIntelligam said...

Others in their turn will object: is there such a thing as a common nature of religion that finds expression in all religions and is therefore applicable to them all? We must ask ourselves these questions, if we wish to argue realistically and credibly against religiously motivated violence. Herein lies a fundamental task for interreligious dialogue – an exercise which is to receive renewed emphasis through this meeting.

The Holy Father does not go on to answer this question. But the subsequent call of "religions" to purify themselves of violent tendencies suggests his answer to this question is in the affirmative.

Any thoughts?

Call me Ishmael said...

[Matthew 05:37] But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.

[Luke 12:51] Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation.

[John 06:51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven.

Robert said...

By the look of this picture I see the ancient sees of the Church gathering together. Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria. I have absolutely no problem with this. Take the other faiths out of it, including "protestantism" and it would be a good form of ecumenism.

Saint Michael Come To Our Defense said...

Not once does he mention the Holy Name in this speech.

*

Anil Wang said...

CredoUtIntelligam,

It depends. If it means that all religions are on equal footing, it is heresy pure and simple.

But it it means that all religions ultimately desire what is present in Catholicism, then it is consistent with tradition. Do a quick search on the Church Father wrt Socrates, St. Paul at the Acropolis, Job (who was not of the covenant), and King Cyrus who was The Lord's Anointed according to Isaiah even though he was likely Zoroastrian.

If you believe Genesis, all people once knew God, so all peoples must have some knowledge of God, but all drifted away and corrupted that original knowledge with various sorts of idolotry and man made inventions that repeat the sins of Genesis again and again.

You can actually trace that corruption in many religions. For instance, in Hinduism, in Rig Veda 10 (one of the oldest Hindu "scriptures") you'll find a hymn of creation that shows a deep longing to worship God who created all the wonders of creation. The refrain of "whom shall we worship?" is ultimately answered with "Maybe our Creator knows...or maybe he doesn't even know." That skepticism ultimately lead to the current Hindu belief that reality is an illusion since if you doubt God's ability to know, how on earth can we mere mortals know?

Much skeptical Greek philosophy and French existentialism went down exactly the same path.

If you look at Islam, when Muhammad had his vision, he thought he was crazy. He went to his wife in despiration and she comforted him and sent him to her *Catholic* cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal. Her cousin told him that he was not crazy and it was a revelation from God's angel who spoke to Moses. She died a few days later. She likely wasn't a very good Catholic since the Quran states that Catholics believe that Mary is part of the Trinity, so Catholicism has been corrupted, and Jews are wrong since they rejected their Messiah, and Judiasm must have also been corrupted since their prophets seem so sinful. Muhammad might have become Catholic if his wife's cousin brought him to the local bishop and been properly catechized. Instead he was driven by the same mad delusion of Martin Luther to created his own Church because God wanted him to and he was right no matter what anyone else said.

If you purify Islam, you get Catholicism. If you purify Protestantism, you get Catholicism. If you purify Hindiusm and skeptical Greek philosophy and French existentialism, you get the religion of Geneses that awaits the saviour who will crush the serpent's head (i.e. the Proto-evangelium) and will find the saviour in Catholicism.

Picard said...

Well, a good speech - for a politician perhaps -- but for a Pope?!

It´s only about innerworldy peace. Well, with "God" - but without CHrist.

PEH said...

Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. (John 14:6) Any questions?

New Catholic said...

Christ is mentioned, one may be critical but not devious:

"For us the Cross of Christ is the sign of the God who put 'suffering-with' (compassion) and 'loving-with' in place of force. His name is 'God of love and peace' (2 Cor 13:11). It is the task of all who bear responsibility for the Christian faith to purify the religion of Christians again and again from its very heart, so that it truly serves as an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans."

Christ - and "Christ crucified"; this much cannot be denied at all.

NC

CredoUtIntelligam said...

Anil Wang,

Thank you for your excellent response.

Insofar as the Pope is speaking as Peter, it is clear which of the two interpretations you discuss must be ascribed to the Holy Father.

But I wonder which interpretation a reasonable person might give to any implied answer to the question of whether there is a "common nature of religion that finds expression in all religions." That is, given the context of an interreligious gathering and the history of previous Assisi events, how would a reasonable person, but not a theologically sophisticated person, interpret the Holy Father's speech?

Brian said...

In 1989, three years after Assisi, the wall came down, without bloodshed . . . To that extent we may in some way link all this to our prayer for peace.

Is this not an essentially syncretistic statement?

Over and over, it is emphasized that the different religious groups at Assisi prayed separately. But this statement seems to suggest that although the followers of different religions may be separated physically, culturally, and theologically, that these distinctions are not ultimately meaningful. Before God, their prayers are essentially linked in one united peace offering. God heard this united prayer, was well pleased, and gave His sign of peace to the world in the bloodless collapse of the Berlin Wall.

When has the Catholic Church ever taught such a thing?

Marc said...

@Catholic Defender

It's always helpful to read what you are critiquing. The Pope is clearly not praising agnostics who are not "true seekers" or who are "too worldy". Instead, the Pope is talking about agnostics who are "on the lookout for truth, searching for God. Such people do not simply assert: "There is no God". They suffer from his absence and yet are inwardly making their way towards him, inasmuch as they seek truth and goodness."

SkinnyBaldGuy said...

Communism and the Berlin Wall:

I'm a little troubled that our Holy Father is of the opinion that the Berlin Wall fell because of the interfaith prayers of the 1986 Assisi gathering and are not the partial fruits of an uncompleted Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary attempted earlier by Pope John Paul II.

Syncretism?:
I was rolling with some of what the Holy Father had to say, from a political standpoint of preventing violence in the name of religion, until he states things like, "a further basic orientation is found in the growing world of agnosticism: people to whom the gift of faith has not been given." You have to keep in mind who he's talking to; members of more or less false religions. So when he uses the word 'faith' the implication is that the attendees already have this 'faith' yet the agnostics do not.

"can WE show him [God] anew to humanity, in order to build true peace?

Again, the 'we', as if we're all believers in the One True God and the stating that "TRUE PEACE", (Christ is TRUTH and the only provider of true peace) can be provided somehow by the prayers or gatherings of infidels, heretics, and schismatics, is quite troubling to me as a Catholic.

Let us all pray for the Holy Father.

Tom said...

The Foxnews.com site carried the following Associated Press report on today's Assisi III gathering:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/10/27/rainbow-religious-leaders-join-pope-for-peace/

From the Associated Press report:

"Standing on the altar of St. Mary of the Angels basilica, Wande Abimbola of Nigeria, representing Africa's traditional Yoruba religion, sang and shook a percussion instrument as he told the delegates that peace can only come with greater respect for indigenous religions.

"We must always remember that our own religion, along with the religions practiced by other people, are valid and precious in the eyes of the Almighty, who created all of us with such plural and different ways of life and belief systems," he said."

Tom


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/10/27/rainbow-religious-leaders-join-pope-for-peace/#ixzz1bzxau6Te

Delphina said...

Get with the program!

We no longer use the divisive term "Catholic". We are all now lumped together under the generic term of "Christian".

Delphina

Alan Aversa said...

"how do you know what the true nature of religion is? Does your assertion not derive from the fact that your religion has become a spent force? Others in their turn will object: is there such a thing as a common nature of religion that finds expression in all religions and is therefore applicable to them all? We must ask ourselves these questions, if we wish to argue realistically and credibly against religiously motivated violence. Herein lies a fundamental task for interreligious dialogue – an exercise which is to receive renewed emphasis through this meeting."
Too many rhetorical questions... He already answered these at the Regensburg Lecture with respect to Islam, so maybe he didn't want to repeat himself here? And how could there be a "common nature of religion that finds expression in all religions" if only the Catholic Church is truly catholic (i.e., universal) and "all the gods of the Gentiles are devils: but the Lord made the heavens" (Psalm 95:5)? Is he saying the Catholic Church is in the other religions, albeit in an inchoate state? Why not just say that the graces other religions may have originated through the Catholic Church that Christ founded?

"As a Christian I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame."
He is ashamed of the first Crusades, where force was justly "used in the name of the Christian faith"? They were defensive wars.

"His name is 'God of love and peace' (2 Cor 13:11)."
Yet Jesus was not an etreme pacifist: "Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword." (St. Matthew 10:34). He founded Church Militant, and the spiritual violence in the world very much exceeds all forms of physical violence combined. There needs to be a very clear distinction made between utopian, natural, wordly peace (which has lead people to concoct Godless ideologies like Marxism, Socialism, and Communism) and supernatural peace of the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world.

"The horrors of the concentration camps reveal with utter clarity the consequences of God’s absence."
Abortion would've been a better, more current example since this happens in all nations.

"But where is God? Do we know him, and can we show him anew to humanity, in order to build true peace?"
More rhetorical questions... God is manifest through the Church He founded on the rock of St. Peter. This would've been the perfect opportunity to address the necessity of the Catholic Church and Her seven sacraments.

VirgoPotens said...

"Unfortunately, we cannot say that freedom and peace have characterized the situation ever since."

Perhaps it's time to consecrate Russia?

P.K.T.P. said...

What is most interesting is the list of religious heads who did not attend. The Dalai Lama was apparently not there and neither Chief Rabbi from Palestine was there. The Muslim representative does not seen to represent much. Rowan Williams, Arch-Laic of Canterbury attended. He is due to retire right after Christmas. The Pope did manage to reel in Bartholomew I, Œcumenical Patriarch, certainly the largest fish present; and the secretary-general of the W.C.C. was naturally there.

This looks very much like a scaled-down Assisi. Perhaps, next time, it can simply be forgotten.

P.K.T.P.

J. G. Ratkaj said...

Dialogue is not per se a bad affair. Meetings like the one in November 2007 when the pontiff welcomed in the apostolic palaces HM the King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz could help to make the bitter lot of catholics and oriental/orthodox christians in the region more bearable. This royal saudi visit, unfortunately a missed chance, was very promising but Vatican diplomacy is shadow of its former self and not able to make profit of such rare occasions. It is significant that no important senior hebrew, shia and sunni clerics attended this idyllic world spectacle in Assisi.

Anonymous said...

Benedict says agnostics are “looking out for truth, searching for God”. Later he says that Assisi is “a case of being together on a journey towards truth”. At the end, he says that “We (not clear if he means the Church or Assisi, but the Church is included in the concept for sure...) are animated by the common desire to be «pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace».
Syllogism: Major: the Catholic Church, according to Benedict, is looking out for truth. Minor: but it is absurd to look out for something already possessed. Conclusion: Benedict affirms that the Catholic Church does not possess truth. But the conclusion is heretical. Ergo...

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Words can not convey the depth of my disappointment at the presence of H.A.H. Bartholomew and the other Orthodox delegates at this pantheistic love-fest.

Alter Christus said...

P. K. T. P. is quite right. Here we have Pope Benedict quietly putting Assisi to rest. In the same way he will canonize Pope John Paul II, and so put that cause to rest. People who get hyper-critical of these things don't realize how wise our Holy Father is in all of this. We should trust the Successor of Peter, and remember all that he is doing to revive traditional Catholicism. And yes, we should pray for him every day!

Igumen Gregory said...

John,

What really bothered me about the Ep's presence was his speech, which never once mentioned Jesus Christ, which rambled with unconnected thoughtless phrases, whose only purpose was to espouse the green agenda. Frankly the Archbishop of Canterbury had a far more Christian message.

RogerThat said...

Well, I really don't know what to think. I'll try to organize my impressions:

1. This is the meeting of people that nobody in the world care. If I cared, I would be sedevacantist, and sometimes I'm tempted to be.

2. If they ask for peace or war, it makes no difference.

3. The only thing they had is their conscience, and they all betrayed it (in their respective religion, even if a wrong religion).

4. Thus, this meeting is primarily ridiculous.

GQRep said...

I just saw a series of photos from Pope Benedict XVI's Assisi III circus.

It might as well have been JP II sitting there. Same setting, same people.
There was the Pope sitting next to Buddhist monks, Hindu Brahmin priests, Japanese Shinto High Priests, an African shaman and the archbishop of Canturbury too.

The very dignified Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartolomeus was there too...not cracking a smile. I wonder if hs was embarassed for the Pope?

The link is www.upi.com

Protagonist said...

An ounce of good will on the part of the critics here would forever dispel the thought that this was a scandal. With all the violence in the world, why not talk to our unbelieving, hell bound co-religionists. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. I have no impression that the Church or the Holy Father is asking us to be indifferent toward the one true Faith. Sheesh, it doesn't hurt to talk or "dialogue" with those we have profound disagreements with.

HSE said...

Matthew 10:34-36

34Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.

35For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36And as a man's enemies shall be they of his own household.

pab said...

to those who describe Benedict XVI as traditionalists' best friend in Rome, I say what the Church needs is not a supposed “best friend” of traditionalists (and tradition) as pope, but a pope who is actually a traditionalist

as long as BXVI continues to avoid the TLM himself and to laud and perpetuate the mistakes of JPII et al., he remains part of the problem not the solution

Prof. Basto said...

The Brazilian mainstream press seems to have simply ignored this event.

Good.

We should do that, too.

John Vi said...

So Peter has denied Jesus Christ the third time with Assisi III.
When will the cock crow and when will Our Lord give Peter the look such that the latter will regret for the rest of his life? :(

Alan Aversa said...

"Others again, even go so far as to wish the Pontiff Himself to preside over their motley assemblies. But although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor."

—Mortalium Animos, Pope Pius XI


This is exactly what happened today.

George said...

Keep Assisi III in perpsective.

To the majority of Catholics and certainly the world at large, Assisi III is not of consequence.

1. The majority of Catholics do not assist each week at Sunday Mass.

Therefore, Assisi III was not on the radar screen of the majority of Catholics as they care little about their religion.

2. The world at large couldn't have cared less about Assisi III.

3. Having embraced one dead-end novelty upon another, our Churchmen (are they bored?) will advance to the next novelty that will come around the bend.

Therefore, Assisi III will have come and gone.

Persecutions against Catholics will continue around the world.

Wars will rage.

Europe will continue to fall to Muslims.

The collapse of the Church will continue.

Remain attached to the TLM and pray that someday, a Pope will board a train with Cardinals, bishops and priests aboard as they travel to a Church at which they will promote the Traditional Latin Mass.

A TLM pilgrimage.

Gratias said...

Prof Basto:

Verbum sapientae - wise words.

New Catholic said...

Prof. Basto,

In one sense, that is indeed very good.

In another, it is hard to know if this is caused by a worldwide trend of the papacy being seen as increasingly irrelevant - in which case, it is not the best of things.

(There is yet another possibility: the Vatican itself some weeks ago made clear that there would be strict video limitations for the recording of this event, managed by CTV strictly with RAI on purpose, so maybe images and information were more limited than at other papal events).

Paulo Ghetti Frade said...

Here is the video http://gloria.tv/?media=209137 of Wanda Ambimbola (guest of the Pope) invoking the Yoruba deity Olokun and chanting to the accompaniment of a rattle. Instead of confirming his brethren in the faith the Pope invited the wolf to be in the midst of his flock and a false goddess was invoked in one of the most important basilicas in the world.

This calls for an act of reparation.

Anonymous said...

Also absent from this meeting was the most important leader who could have attended. I mean Bishop Fellay, of course. He didn't attend because he's Catholic, and Catholics don't attend syncrenistic happenings.

I wish Bishop Williamson had put in a surprise visit, however. He could have formally anathematized the Pope and delivered a solemn curse to the others, except for the atheists and agnostics, who would have received a kick where the sun don't shine. And there would have been little danger of a run-in with leading rabbis, since none were present. So they'd have to be cursed in absentia.

Williamson could afterwards announce that it was all a joke and that he was inspired to do it by the antics he's heard about at the New Mass. Balloon, anyone? Somehow, there is something completely incongruous in imagining the Œcumenical Patriarch holding a balloon, even a black or dark violet one. But thanks to John Paul the Small, one can imagine a Catholic bishop or even a pope holding a baloone, even a yellow or pink one (whereas cardinals are wong to blow out streamers). Since Vatican II, every day has become Hallowe'en.

P.K.T.P.

P.S. I like belittling liberals. It's quiet fun because they actually take themselves seriously.

GQRep said...

As long as the Pope and the Church continually invoke the image, the name, and immitate the actions of John Paul II (even down to adopting as a mode of Papal transportation the same comical and really stupid looking push cart that John Paul II used as a mode of Papal transport during processions in his last few years), the Catholic Church will not recover and flourish.

I hope the next Pope is far enough removed from the time of John Paul II's reign that his (John Paul II's) thought,words, and especially actions and eccentricities he adopted will be at least starting to be forgotten.

To keep immitating, and bringing up JP II's name, practices, priorities, agenda like this Pope does is starting to look sick in an obcessive/compulsive way.
And that ain't good!!!

Curmudgeon Inc. said...

Protagonist,

You're correct, strictly speaking, there should be no problem with speaking with our unbelieving, hell-bound co-religionists. However:

1) It should be made clear beyond dispute by the Holy See that they are, indeed, unbelieving and hell-bound.

2) That their religions are not merely different or not quite as good and true as ours, but are genuine theological evils.

Those ingredients have been missing. And that's where the scandal lays.

Fra. David said...

The Holy Father did not strictly praise agnostics but recognized those who are clearly striving in their search for God and WHO he is. Incidentally, it seems to me, from personal encounters with individuals who identify themselves as agnostics, that the main obstacle to their embrace of a truly unified & coherent belief in the Truth, is the poor example shown to them of Christian living. We cannot underestimate the scandal we cause to others by our lack of a good example of what it means to be Catholic.

Joseph said...

Our faith (the Roman Catholic Faith) is not something that we bring out from time to time and then put back on the shelve.

The Catholic Faith is the truth!

We are obliged to pass on our faith to all peoples in all times and live our faith each and every day.

There is no hope for "world peace" except through Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church he established. (The Roman Catholic Church!)

I do not understand why this simple articles of our faith are so hard for every one today to understand.

The truth does not change as God and his His Church does not change. (regardless of what all the hierarchy in the church has been saying for the last 45 years.)

The Roman Catholic Church ("is") the Church Jesus Chris established!

We are part of the Church "militant". We are here on this earth to worship God (as he has been reveled by the Church Jesus established.)love and serve God in this life so we can be happy with him in the next life. (Church triumphant.)

We are in a spiritual battle as soldiers for Christ. (sacrament of Conformation.)

We can only get to heaven buy sanctifying grace.

The above is just basic catechism of our faith.

Stay away from the Novus Ordo pray for the Holy Father and the Church!

Tony said...

"The Holy Father did not strictly praise agnostics but recognized those who are clearly striving in their search for God and WHO he is. Incidentally, it seems to me, from personal encounters with individuals who identify themselves as agnostics, that the main obstacle to their embrace of a truly unified & coherent belief in the Truth, is the poor example shown to them of Christian living. We cannot underestimate the scandal we cause to others by our lack of a good example of what it means to be Catholic."

Would not an agnostic find yesterday's Assisi III Tower of Babel event puzzling?

The gathering of religions at Assisi yesterday ranged from Catholicism, which, at least on paper, claims to be the True Religion to a medicine man who rattled an object as he chanted a hymn, prayer or whatever to a god.

What would an agnostic have taken yesterday from Assisi III?

Alan Aversa said...

That maybe have been worst, but look at the best: Picture 1 & Picture 2 of Pope Benedict XVI leading many to kneel and worship Our Lord and Savior in the Tabernacle at the Tomb of St. Francis (source).

"That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth." —Philippians 2:10