Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Another Strong Reprobation of the Hermeneutic of Rupture by Pope Benedict

In his allocution to the first group of the Brazilian bishops, who are currently making their obligatory ad limina-visits, Pope Benedict XVI included another forceful repudiation of the hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture and a rather severe indictment of the self-secularisation of the Church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Especially pertinent - given that his words are spoken in the context of a reflection, during this annus sacerdotalis, of the special solicitude of the bishop to bring forth new shepherds - are his words regarding the young generations of seminarians and how the bishops ought to respond. Here is an NLM translation of the respective passage:

Dear Brothers, in the decades following the Second Vatican Council, some interpreted the opening to the world, not as a requirement of the missionary zeal of the Heart of Christ, but as a transition to secularisation, seeing therein some values of great Christian density such as equality, freedom, solidarity, being willing to make concessions and find areas of cooperation. Thus one came to witness interventions of some Church leaders in ethical debates, which met the expectations of public opinion, but omitted to talk about certain fundamental truths of faith such as sin, grace, the theologal life and the last things. Unperceivedly many ecclesial communities fell into self-secularisation; these, hoping to please those who never came, saw leave, deceived and disillusioned, many of those they had: our contemporaries, when they come to us, want to see what they do not see anywhere, that is, the joy and the hope that spring from the fact that we are with the Risen Lord.

Currently there is a new generation already born into this secularised ecclesial environment, which instead of finding opening and consensus, sees within society an ever-widening trench of differences and oppositions to the Magisterium of the Church, especially in the field of ethics. In this desert of God, the new generation feels a great thirst for transcendence.

It is the young men of this new generation who knock today at the door of the seminary and who need to find educators who have to be true men of God, priests totally dedicated to formation, who give witness of the gift of self to the Church through celibacy and austere life, after the model of Christ the Good Shepherd. Thus these young men will learn to be sensitive to the encounter with the Lord, in the daily participation in the Eucharist, loving silence and prayer, and striving, first and foremost, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

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