Rorate Caeli

Pope: "no true peace without truth"


As you know, there are various reasons why I chose the name of Francis of Assisi, a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith. One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.

But there is another form of poverty!
It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the "tyranny of relativism", which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.

One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is Pontiff, that is, a builder of bridges with God and between people. My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced! My own origins impel me to work for the building of bridges. As you know, my family is of Italian origin; and so this dialogue between places and cultures a great distance apart matters greatly to me, this dialogue between one end of the world and the other, which today are growing ever closer, more interdependent, more in need of opportunities to meet and to create real spaces of authentic fraternity.

In this work, the role of religion is fundamental. It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world. And it is also important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail, but rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity.

Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up. But it is a difficult journey, if we do not learn to grow in love for this world of ours. Here too, it helps me to think of the name of Francis, who teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment.
Franciscus

March 22, 2013

37 comments:

Mike said...


While I love and revere Benedict XVI, I think we have to remember that perhaps, just perhaps, what Francis is doing is trying to regain the Church's moral authority by underscoring orthopraxis. The latter must be grounded in truth, yes, but in the world's eyes, and in many of the household of Faith, our beloved Mother Church has zero moral authority right now.

Still waiting for Pope Pius XIII said...

Yes, folks, your concerns and criticisms are valid, but what's new under the sun here?

With all due respect, have any of the previous several popes been that different than Pope Francis on these issues? Obviously not.

Look at the Church teaching on other denominiations and religions since the early 1960s. Look at the interpretive Second Vatican comments from cardinals such as Kaspar. Look at Vatican guidelines for ecumenism of 1993, and the pontifical biblical commission statement of 2001 regarding Jews and scripture. And notice the virtual lack of any pre-1959 Church teaching statement in any of these texts.

Gubbio said...

Well aren't we picky about our successors of St Peter. The same Holy Spirit that chose Pope Benedict chose Pope Francis. Yet if it isn't all going our way we don't want to know. Can we have a pick and mix Catholicism? I wonder what we would make of Jesus of Nazareth today? He would probably wear the wrong vestments and wash the wrong kind of feet and not sit on a throne bejewelled. Just a thought.

Cosmos said...

I agree with "Still Waiting..."

You can wish that the Church proclaimed Christ more clearly, and you can claim that you would do things differently if you were Pope, BUT no need to pretend that Pope Francis sticks out in this regard.

JPII and BXVI got very vague at times, as do most all of our bishops and priests. It's almost everyone in Power.

For some reason the Church seems to have gotten tired of sowing seeds with little success, and has turned its attention to tilling and fertilizing the soil.

Paul L said...

I do not see the same reason for concern as the rest of you. Perhaps I am trying to put this in the best possible light, but we are all supposed to try to put everything in the best possible light (while not denying truth).

Pius XII was hated for not condemning Nazism more forcefully, yet many jews recognized that this would have made life even worse for them. By reaching out for greater friendship with the muslims, His Holiness may be working towards the security of all Christians in Muslim countries. When Christianity is tolerated, then they may begin to convert muslims, who may be more open to the Gospel without the fear of death.

New Catholic said...

I liked this excerpt.

Clayton Orr said...

The Church has acknowledged for some time that elements of Truth, which may be hidden or obscured by human frailty among the members of the Catholic Church, can be uncovered and renewed through dialogue with other religions, peoples, and Christian denominations. Consider the dialogue with the Orthodox, which many of us hold out as an important thread of hope for protecting traditionalists within the Catholic Church. Truly, conversion, as Pope Benedict teaches, does not mean a mere obliteration of the convert's traditions but also an incorporation into the life of the Church of an individual's distinctive qualities.
I do agree with those comments that note a not-so-subtle shift in interpreting Pope Benedict's teaching. The "tyranny of relativism" is in fact not meant to be interpreted as a "dictatorship of selfishness" but a social dictatorship, where values such as personal wealth, secularity, etc. are made, by the society, into absolute truths. In other words, when "getting with the program" or "participating" become the ultimate rule rather than objective truths not only about nature but also about God. The tyranny of relativism is not about the tyranny of relativist thinking but a tyranny of people making relative values into objective ones. It is when the only right left is the right NOT to believe. What Pope
Benedict said is that relative values should be left as relative and subjective; what Francis is saying is that we should stop being self-centered, which is true enough, except that modern relativists are anything but self-centered. That's the problem.

P Moscatelli said...

The Pope is addressing the diplomatic corps, and is expressing himself accordingly. Nevertheless he denounces the poverty that comes from the lack of faith, the dicatatorship of relativism and tells us that there can be no peace without thruth. Also, he indicates that we have to cooperate with muslims and laicists in order to avoid oppression (read: of Christians). He refers to himself as Pontifex, stressing that you can not build bridges between people when forgetting about God. Is this not enough to make traddies happy?
Comments here seem to interpret the Pope negatively a priori, njustly, imo.

New Catholic said...

Agreed, PMoscatelli.

John said...

Gubbio said...
"Well aren't we picky about our successors of St Peter. The same Holy Spirit that chose Pope Benedict chose Pope Francis."

The same Holy Spirit who chose Honorius?

The Holy Spirit is our guide, but men still have free will to thwart the Holy Spirit, even the Cardinals in a Conclave. No action of the Church is a magic spell.

The Spirit only promises to protect the Church's actual teachings and to save Her from being totally prevailed over by the gates of hell. Doesn't mean hell won't make a lot of inroads, and that a lot of people won't say and do a lot of really foolish things, even the Pope.

(Note: I'm not calling Pope Francis Honorius, nor making any predictions about his reign. I'm only saying that bad things can happen if our leaders ignore the Holy Spirit, and they have the freedom to do so. And they will be held responsible for all of their actions on Judgment Day.)

Susan said...

With all the talk about the helpless poor, I'm still waiting for a mention of the most helpless among us and the barbaric, brutal slaughtering of them before they are born — in the millions every year. Abortion knows no economic stratum.

Pope Francis spoke about about the environment in his installation homily. I can't believe abortion wasn't mentioned. Or did I miss it somehow?

Tom S. said...

His Holiness made some good points, really. Especially in the context of his intended audience - the diplomatic corps. I think it is good that he reminded them that their job is not just being diplomats, but rather diplomats with one eye always on God and His will.

It is silly to expect every speech made in every context to address every point of dogma or tradition.

Athelstane said...

"Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam."

I just hope this dialogue truly is informed by "the Truth."

There is a great deal of truth in the Orthodox churches. There is a good deal less of it to be found in Islam.

Uncle Claibourne said...

I agree, I liked this too. Many of his discourses are quite impressive. Very simple, but at the same time, very profound. Benedict XVI and John Paul I manifested these qualities as well, IMHO.

Just speaking for myself, I'm trying to be a bit more circumspect in my worries about Francis. I'm afraid the value of legitimate concerns and criticisms is lost when we indiscriminately criticise *everything*.

Holy Week is almost upon us. May it be a spiritually fruitful time for all.



TJPF said...

In response to Gubbio:

The Holy Spirit does not pick the Pope, rather, it speaks to the Cardinals in Conclave.

Whether they listen or not is another story.

Fratellino said...

"No true peace without truth"...how tautaulogically trueistic!

Rob said...

In a speech dealing with building bridges and establishing peace between the peoples of the world, it would have been nice if he had mentioned the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. I kind of thought that was the whole point of this Catholic Church thing.

Hmm? said...

Speaking of the poor in spirit, what about those millions upon millions upon millions whose faith has been brutalized by the Novus Ordo?

Enough words. We've heard all these words before. When will the Novus Ordo be entirely abrogated?

Careme said...

This is actually a very good speech, considering the audience, many of whom are not Catholic or even Christian. If you watch the video of the encounter you will notice that the Pope acts with great dignity and decorum. He sits on a simple throne, but it is clear who's the boss! Give him time to grow into his role; don't expect anything good liturgically; and pray for him as the Vicar of Christ.

Matt said...

Paul L said, I do not see the same reason for concern as the rest of you. Perhaps I am trying to put this in the best possible light, but we are all supposed to try to put everything in the best possible light (while not denying truth).

Pius XII was hated for not condemning Nazism more forcefully, yet many jews recognized that this would have made life even worse for them. By reaching out for greater friendship with the muslims, His Holiness may be working towards the security of all Christians in Muslim countries. When Christianity is tolerated, then they may begin to convert muslims, who may be more open to the Gospel without the fear of death."


Paul, I can understand your idea we must have hope, optimism in all things, but it must also be weighed against past behavior as well as a doctrinal mind-set by which a person operates. It applies to Pope, clergy, you and me and the shop next door. How Pius XII handled matters during WWII is a matter of circumspect diplomacy. Never on his part was there an issue about Catholic Teaching/Doctrine being contorted, distorted or simply being ignored entirely just to achieve some reach-out dialogue goal.

For some reason people think when a Pope does something, or not, it's automatically within this gloriously lofty impetus driven by the Holy Spirit. Granted, far be it for anyone to say how the Holy Spirit operates and when, but there are certain parameters He does work within also as evidenced by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium. If what a Pope says or does is not in sinc with the two-thousand-year Doctrine of the Church, it is perhaps to be doubted the Holy Spirit is the Initiator of said action. A Pope is a human being and acts according to his own free will also and may not always be in line with God's Will.

Unlike past Popes, every time the recent Ones have done this reach-out business the Church and/or Her Teachings have suffered, ultimately the Faithful. In any of those "gestures," it was never asserted Jesus Christ is Savior and the only means of Salvation. After fifty years of this endless jibber-jabber, the world is no closer to TRUE peace than it has been since before this Second Vatican Council fiasco.

Matt said...

Athelstane said, I just hope this dialogue truly is informed by "the Truth." There is a great deal of truth in the Orthodox churches. There is a good deal less of it to be found in Islam."

Yes, so true. Yes, we just hope. At the same time prepared to be disappointed. One more Pope trying to re-invent sliced bread.

Benedict Carter said...

Hmmm?

Agreed 100%.

Where's the "dialogue" with the millions of scandalised Catholics?

Get your own house in order first, Your Holiness.

JB said...


Outstanding. Maybe Francis is reading this blog and the comments... You hardly ever hear spiritual poverty, the worst kind, talked about in the context of the "poor." Yet is was central to Christ's message. "Man does not live by bread alone."

Woody said...

Herewith my stumbling translation of an excerpt from “54 Challenged Virtues”, Lesson 8: Order, by Marta Arrechea Harriet de Olivero (from Argentina).

“Authority well exercised always involves paying the price of a share of loneliness, because we must take responsibility for many decisions and set an example for others. Many times we may wish to share and enjoy different events with others, but by virtue of not forgetting our place we will have to deny ourselves. We will have to deny ourselves something that may be licit, but that does not correspond to the charge we have or the position we occupy and must maintain in order better to fulfill our responsibility.

If we are parents we cannot go out dancing with friends of our children, or if we are the bosses of the office we cannot be telling our most intimate family problems to our employees. Each one must not only take the position he occupies, but he must also behave as befits his position or his duty of state. Eroding hierarchical status, confusing roles or telling others our intimate thoughts, or often revealing ourselves to others, is a serious disorder.”

The entire course can be accessed, in Spanish, at http://es.catholic.net/educadorescatolicos/753/3207/articulo.php?id=47417

Ben D. said...

@Susan, I understood the line about "Herods who plot death" in the installation homily to be a reference to abortion.

The Gospel of the mass was about St. Joseph being reassured by the angel that he could marry the Blessed Virgin. There was no mention of Herod.

But Pope Francis was careful to mention Herod. When one hears Herod mentioned in connection with St. Joseph and his protection of the Holy Family (which was the starting point of the homily), one can't avoid thinking of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents.

Judge Douglass Bartley said...

Francis: Atheists . . . can be "precious allies" . . .

"Francis, who has set a humbler tone to the papacy since his election on March 13, added that atheists and believers can be 'precious allies' in their efforts “to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/pope-francis-calls-for-intensified-dialogue-with-muslims/2013/03/22/83cb7db4-930c-11e2-8e33-9cc6c739d012_story.html

Catholic Catechism

2140 Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the first commandment.

It's very hard to understand how making alliances with atheists can be "precious" or every lead to peaceful co-existence between religious peoples, all of whom denounce atheism. Of atheism, Father Hardin's Dictionary says: "The claims of certain atheist philosophers, such as Feuergach and Nietzsche, that all religion is make-believe. Believers are said to project their subjective hopes and desires and make them into realities, such as God and heaven, which do not really exist. (Etym. Latin res, thing, fact + facere, to make.)"

Francis is falling into the abyss of secular humanism with a pernicious chuminess with the enemies of God and the Church and a P- latitudinarianism of happy talk that avoids promulgating the sometimes "hard" doctrines of the faith.

Joanne said...

Correct my memory if I am wrong, but wasn't St. Francis of Assisi imprisoned by the Sultan for preaching against Islam?

Common Sense said...

Islam is based on completely different premises than Christianity. Fatalism in Islam, where Allah imposes his will on mankind, is in sharp contrast to Christ's teaching, where He offers His salvation. From the Islamic perspective, all those who resist Allah's will subsequently merit hostile treatment from the hands of his followers. Hostility towards others is intrinsic to Islam. Apart from a political concordat with Islam, the philosophical aspects remain as irreconcilable as ever. If it were possible to dialogue with Islam, the Middle-Eastern Christians would have done so millenia ago. Only in the minds of the modern conciliarists can such an impudent idea as dialogue with Islam be possible, due to misplaced notions of religious liberty. Those con men, with the blessing of the conciliar Popes, were instrumental in imposing the dialogue hoax on the entire Catholic Church in order to blur the distinction between her and the other religions, and to paralyse her resistance against various falsehoods.

scary goat said...

Well, that's a little bit hopeful. I notice the term "truth" being used a lot these days. It was also used in Benedict XVI's letter to the AB of C congratulating him on his "enthronement". Yes, the truth needs to be told. I am all in favour of dialogue and peaceful relations, but in that we must not forget the truth. I was a little perturbed by the encouragement to the AB of C to teach the truth....because what truth would that be exactly? If the AB of C told the truth he would return to the Catholic Faith, wouldn't he? I also think that while peaceful dialogue is an excellent idea, it needs to be done in a spirit of having the courage of one's convictions. Agreeing to live and let live is a good way to go, compromising one's beliefs is something else. Dialogue based on truth shouldn't side step "awkward" truths.

GQ Rep said...

"TJPF said...
In response to Gubbio:

The Holy Spirit does not pick the Pope, rather, it speaks to the Cardinals in Conclave.

Whether they listen or not is another story.
"

Best answer on this column.

And regarding the inspiration of the Holy Spirit....I don't think the Cardinals listened this time.

Just my opinion after a week of watching, reading and observing the new Pope. I'm not going to freak out with negative commentary about the man like I've seen on other blogs. I respect him for who he is at the present moment however long or short that will be.

But I don;t have to agree with him,or approve of the obvious change in direction. I think the results will speak for themselves.

It's like a rewind to the early 1970's all over again. Older Catholics than me will remember it all too well.

Mar said...

Speaking about what Muslims might do Paul L said: "When Christianity is tolerated ... "Not very likely since the toleration of Christianity is against fundamental Muslim beliefs.

Jerome said...

I have noticed that the beautiful papal throne used by our beloved B XVI was gone during the audience with the diplomatic corps

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTb-jWsjGsI

Just a detail again, but it's only the beginning...

Francis in Ma said...

"Joanne said...
Correct my memory if I am wrong, but wasn't St. Francis of Assisi imprisoned by the Sultan for preaching against Islam"?

Correct Joanne. Not only was St. Francis imprisoned for preaching against Islam but for trying to convert the Sultan to the one true God (The Blessed Trinity) and to the one true Church/religion (The Catholic Church). Something the conciliar church frowns on as well.

Lee Penn said...

Bergoglio has a history of supporting the United Religions Initiative.

The United Religions Initiative (URI) is an interfaith movement launched in 1995 by William Swing, the now-retired Episcopal Church bishop for the SF Bay Area. The URI is influenced by Theosophy, the New Age movement, and neo-Paganism. It is on the liberal/trendy edge of the broader interfaith movement, and now has (by its own claim) 571 chapters (“cooperation circles”) worldwide.

Last weekend, I found statements from within the URI that Bergoglio has hosted/participated in some of their activities in Argentina.

==========================

Laird Harrison, “Bay Area Catholics May Find the New Pope a Mixed Bag,” KQED News Fix, March 13, 2013,

http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/03/13/new-pope-chosen/

“Maria Crespo, an Argentine Catholic visiting San Francisco, said Cardinal Bergoglio supports women in traditional roles. "Argentina is quite a traditional country so there has not been much controversy about women's roles that I can remember," she said. "But he has given women positions of responsibility," she said. Crespo, global support coordinator for the United Religions Initiative, said she had worked directly with Bergoglio on interfaith efforts. He hosted a meeting of Crespo's group, which fosters interfaith cooperation, at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral. "He is so open and welcoming and humble at the same time," she said.”

===========================

http://www.facebook.com/unitedreligionsinitiative

“In 2007, URI - represented by Bishop Swing, Maria Eugenia Crespo and CC [Cooperation Circle] members - celebrated the 10th anniversary of our first meeting in the beautiful Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Little did we know one of our esteemed participant and friend, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, would be named Pope just five years later! Felicitaciones, Papa Francis!”

============================

There is a progression here.

Under John Paul II, the URI was primarily attractive to Catholic dissenters ... but the then-Archbishop of San Francisco, William Levada, allowed his diocesan staff and newspaper to promote it without hindrance.

Under Benedict, William Levada was swiftly brought to Rome and raised to be the head of the CDF. When Levada was raised to be Cardinal, he invited some URI leaders to join in the festivities in Rome. The URI continued to spread, and attracted donations from Catholic leaders from 2004 onward. Donors acknowledged by the URI included the Archdiocese of Baltimore (2005), the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (2004), Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington DC (2005), and Archbishop George Niederauer, of the Archdiocese of San Francisco (2008). [ I still need to review the 2009-2012 data from the URI site to see what prominent Catholic donations they have received recently. ]Fr. James Channan, who served on the URI Global Council from 2002 to 2008, received an award from the Vatican in December 2005 as a “Pioneer of Christian Muslim Dialogue in Pakistan,” indicating Rome’s approval of his interfaith work. This award was granted during the reign of the former pope, Benedict XVI.

Now, with Francis, we appear to have a Pope who sponsored and participated in URI activities before coming to Rome.

It will be interesting to see whether Francis carries this friendship into the Vatican, and aligns the RCC explicitly with the URI. Or, he may offer support to the interfaith movement as a whole, without favoring the URI over other parts of this movement.

We are in interesting times. I will be updating my previous book about the URI (False Dawn, which is available on Amazon as a paperback or in Kindle format) this year. It will, almost inevitably, include more ominous findings than I reported in 2004-2005.

Ora et Labora said...

Ben D. said,

"When one hears Herod mentioned in connection with St. Joseph and his protection of the Holy Family (which was the starting point of the homily), one can't avoid thinking of the slaughter of the Holy Innocents."

Ben, you probably thought of it, but I assured you that most Catholics probably didn't even think of it.

In my opinion there are times when it's necessary for the Pope to use diplomacy for the sake of Christians in difficult areas of the world, and there are times when the Pope should be clear and speak up his mind, especially in defence of innocent life.

The Pope could have used his inauguration speech to diplomatically let the world know where he stands in some issues, but he chose not to do it.

You see, some of us Catholics are watching his every move and we don't miss what he says and does. But sadly that is not the case for most Catholics, and there is 1.2 billion of us most of them poorly catechized.

Susan thank you, you've raised a good point.

JB kudos for you as well, SPIRITUAL POVERTY is a far greater problem in the modern world than absolute and relative poverty.


Mary Help of Christians pray for us!!!

Mar said...

Thank you, Lee Penn, for the important information.

Today's Gradual is appropriate to the topic of true peace.

Graduale - Ps 72:24 et 1-3
Tenuísti manum déxteram meam: et in voluntáte tua deduxísti me: et cum glória assumpsísti me.
V. Quam bonus Israël Deus rectis corde! mei autem pæne moti sunt pedes: pæne effúsi sunt gressus mei: quia zelávi in peccatóribus, pacem peccatórum videns.

Thou hast held me by my right hand: and led me along by Thy will; and with glory hast Thou taken me up.
V. How good is the God of israel, to them that are of a right heart! But my feet were almost moved, my steps had well nigh slipped; because I envied sinners, seeing the peace of sinners.

Susan said...

Ben D and Ora et Labora,

Ben, thank you — abortion is what Pope Franics probably referred to in his mention of Herod. I didn't instantly make that connection between the unborn and the infants and toddlers of the Holy Innocents.

The thing is: When it comes to this issue, I don't want to have to interpret what the Holy Father probably meant I, like Ora et Labora, want him to come right out with it, clearly and courageously. We need a warrior on this issue, not an intellectual.