Rorate Caeli

Aparecida Notes: The Pope in Brazil - VI

Excerpts of the Opening Speech of His Holiness to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, delivered in Spanish (mostly) and Portuguese.

The main challenge: is true that one can detect a certain weakening of Christian life in society overall and of participation in the life of the Catholic Church, due to secularism, hedonism, indifferentism and proselytism by numerous sects, animist religions and new pseudo-religious phenomena.

A warning to paganizing "missionaries":

The Utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbian religions, separating them from Christ and from the universal Church, would not be a step forward: indeed, it would be a step back. In reality, it would be a retreat towards a stage in history anchored in the past.
Reality and a warning to ideological views of the Church's mission:

What is real? Are only material goods, social, economic and political problems “reality”? This was precisely the great error of the dominant tendencies of the last century, a most destructive error, as we can see from the results of both Marxist and capitalist systems. They falsify the notion of reality by detaching it from the foundational and decisive reality which is God. Anyone who excludes God from his horizons falsifies the notion of “reality” and, in consequence, can only end up in blind alleys or with recipes for destruction.

This political task is not the immediate competence of the Church. Respect for a healthy secularity — including the pluralism of political opinions — is essential in the authentic Christian tradition. If the Church were to start transforming herself into a directly political subject, she would do less, not more, for the poor and for justice, because she would lose her independence and her moral authority, identifying herself with a single political path and with debatable partisan positions. The Church is the advocate of justice and of the poor, precisely because she does not identify with politicians nor with partisan interests.

How does the Church change societies?

The Marxist system, where it found its way into government, not only left a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction, but also a painful destruction of the human spirit. And we can also see the same thing happening in the West, where the distance between rich and poor is growing constantly, and giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness.

Where God is absent—God with the human face of Jesus Christ—these values fail to show themselves with their full force, nor does a consensus arise concerning them. I do not mean that non-believers cannot live a lofty and exemplary morality; I am only saying that a society in which God is absent will not find the necessary consensus on moral values or the strength to live according to the model of these values, even when they are in conflict with private interests.

The most substantial speech delivered by the Pope during his Apostolic Journey to Brazil will remain his blunt Address to the Bishops of Brazil in the São Paulo Metropolitan Cathedral, a pronouncement of whose worldwide implications we will speak shortly.


  1. Anonymous9:48 PM

    The end of pope´s visit already leaves me with a profound feeling of "saudade".

    During those past days, we could see and hear the Holy Father daily, as the TV channels of the mainstream media, both open networks and cable news channels, transmitted into our homes every one of the events at which the pope took part, live, interrupting the networks' normal programme.

    I´ll miss this experience now that its over, but I pray that the words of the Holy Father be engraved in the hearts of us all, especially our Bishops.

  2. "The Utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbian religions, separating them from Christ and from the universal Church, would not be a step forward: indeed, it would be a step back. In reality, it would be a retreat towards a stage in history anchored in the past."

    The exact same thing can be said of those who from the 1960's (within the Catholic Church) on have sought to recover the innocent and uncomplicated early age of Christianity. It doesn't happen. Life happened in the interim, Christian experience and understanding happened. Martyrdom and doctrinal elaboration happened. And it can't be undone, however the neo-Protestant-Caths succeed in confusing the issue in the short-term. Ignoring the continuum of the Church is always a step backwards.

    I am put in mind of the powerful lines of "Michelangelo" in the film "The Agony and the Ecstasy" when he asserts that his aim is not to equal the greeks but to surpass them if he can. He says they were Greeks sculpting in their time, and he is a Florentine painting in his own. "I'll tell you what stands between us, two thousand years of human suffering stands between us; CHRIST ON HIS CROSS stands between us!!"

    So what separates us from the "simplicity" of the early church? Two thousand years of Christian suffering stands between us; two thousand years of doctrinal development and dogmatic definition stand between us; the minds of Augustine and Aquinas stand between us; the reality of the continuum of the Church's history stand between usd, and no one can rewrite it, and nothing can nullify it.

    God save the Pope, and re-assert the unity of the Catholic Church.

  3. By the way, did anyone notice that even the VIS bulletin failed to comment on the Pope's assertion that the only Church of Christ is the Roman Catholic church? They make it so EEEEEEEAASSSSY to spot the wolves in their lair.

  4. Anonymous10:41 PM

    The sad thing is that while Benedict XVI spoke about the necessity of faith in Christ's sacramental presence (in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar of course), he gave Holy Communion into the hand to little children and distributed the sacred Hosts into the hands of many laymen, and "extraordinary ministers". I agree orthodoxy might be returning to speeched, but where is orthopraxis which is just as necessary? Orthopraxis will leave impressions, orthodoxy and long letters will evaporate from the memory of the common people. Receiving Holy Communion kneeling and upon the tongue leaves a profound sense of adoration and knowledge the Church regards the Host as divine presence and substance! Why handcommunion and other abuses continued under Benedict XVI? Stop it please.

  5. Anonymous12:02 AM

    I usually like things better when they are said or sung in Latin, but I´ve got to tell, it was a thrill to hear Charles Gunod´s Pontifical Anthemn sung in Portuguese with very suitable lyrics.

  6. Anonymous1:52 AM

    "One cannot be truly an orthodox Catholic if he is not a Roman Catholic or a Roman Catholic if he is not orthodox."

    How aware most traditional Catholics are today of this truth with the miserable fruits of the "Novus Ordo Missae" (New Mass) and the precipitous decline in Sunday Mass attendance in the U.S. from 71% in 1963 to 25% in 1993; notwithstanding even worse figures in much of Europe. What most of all contributed to this calamitous decline in respect and reverence for the "Novus Ordo Missae" was the innovation of Communion in the hand, a veritable liturgical coup in upsetting the organic development of the Roman liturgy throughout the centuries.

    And the initial removal of communion rails, which separated for ages the faithful from the clerics, literally opened the altar of God to this invasion of the sanctuary by the unordained for the first time in centuries, facilitating the sacrilegious innovation of Communion in the hand. Likewise this was the first salvo in a seemingly endless barrage of wreckovation attacks of the holy temple of God by the modernists after Vatican II. In fact, more deleterious to the collapse of Roman rubrics than anything else-- even the "Novus Ordo Missae" itself-- was the irreverent innovation of Communion in the hand.

    Pray for the expeditious release of the papal indult on the Tridentine Mass by Pope Benedict XVI and a holy return of the faithful to orthodoxy towards this most awesome Sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist!

    j hughes dunphy

  7. Anonymous1:21 PM

    The greatest irony is that while Pope Benedict XVI is preaching against Pentecostalism, they just chose this week a Pentecostal composer's song for WYD in Sydney 2008. This is sacrilege. The 'composer' is Guy Sebastian, who won Australian Idol a few years ago. He is not even popular with young people anymore. It just shows how when the Catholic hierarchy wants to be 'hip' they are so out of touch. What's worse, the Guy Sebastian is not even Catholic. How can his song be an expression of the Catholic youth then? This is the greatest insult we can give to Pope Benedict XVI - crummy music, from a crummy Pentecostal writer.

  8. Amemus Athanasium said:

    ...he gave Holy Communion into the hand to little children and distributed the sacred Hosts into the hands of many laymen, and "extraordinary ministers"."


    Man won't kneel --
    Daily to pray
    But lift his hands,
    Applaude and play.

    Man won't kneel --
    Examine acts dead
    But perform for himself
    By bowing his head.

    Man won't kneel --
    Emotes bad behavior
    No matter reviews
    The director's his savior.

    Man won't kneel --
    He's the star, can't fail...
    So the prop-man struck
    The Communion rail.

  9. Anonymous8:10 PM

    You should consider that the two greatest threats the Catholic Church faces are secularism (of course), but also evangelicalism. Not the evanglicals on the outside, but those on the inside who want to turn the Church into another evangelical megachurch. Believe me, there are plenty of such people.



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