Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Church's duty to save mankind from self-destruction


I’ve been waiting (in vain) for the Pope’s widely reported speech to the Curia of 22 December to appear in an official translation, but since it still isn’t up, thought I’d make a few comments on it now anyway!

It has been widely (mis)reported in the media as an attack on homosexuality – interesting since he doesn’t actually mention the word homosexual once!

What the Pope actually said…

In fact, the Holy Father spoke on quite a range of topics, including some key points on the centrality of the Holy Spirit, one of the key themes he took up at World Youth Day.

He highlighted three particular events:

World Youth Day, at which he focused on the working of the Holy Spirit in the world, a topic;
His trips to France and the US, important to making the Church visible in the world;
The Synod of Bishops on Scripture.

Scripture as the answer to our individual concerns

On Scripture, he made some remarks that tie in nicely with the series I’ve just done on lectio divina, and says what I’ve been trying to get at so much better and more convincingly that so I can’t resist quoting them to you!

He said:

“That which in our daily living we have paid attention to, we have cultivated anew in all its sublimity: the fact that God speaks and answers our questions. The fact that he, albeit in human language, speaks in person and we are able to hear him, and through hearing, come to know and understand him. The fact that he enters into our lives and we can go out of our lives and enter into the vastness of his mercy. So we have been newly made aware that God in his Word addresses himself to each one of us, speaks to the heart of each one of us: if our heart is disposed and our interior hearing open, then each individual can discover the word addressed appropriately to him. But precisely if we hear God speaking in such a personal manner to each one of us, we understand also that his Word is present so that we can draw closer to each other; so that we can discover the path out of what is solely personal.”

The world as a gift

One of the Pope's key themes for the year, particularly during World Youth Day ,was highlighted once again in this speech, in the idea that creation is a gift to us. The Spirit hovering over the waters is a favourite image of this Pope, symbolising the continuing action of the Creator, and also the underlying order and rationality of creation that shape us.

The key point is that:

“The earth is not simply our possession which we can plunder according to our interests and desires. It is rather a gift of the Creator who has designed its intrinsic laws and with this has given us the basic directions for us to adhere as stewards of his creation.”

And that means that the Church has a concern for the whole created order, not just the message of salvation – including a duty to stop man from destroying himself.

The Pope in fact points to Humanae Vitae’s warning against treating sexuality as a consumer good – the contraceptive mentality – as the root of the problem, even as he talks about the need for an ecology of man based on the traditional marriage.

The demographic winter

The real issue the Pope is pointing to is, I think, the demographic winter faced by the West, with ageing and declining populations, fuelled largely by ideology – ideologies that include an aggressive, over-the-top feminism; by the assertion that homosexuality is a valid and legitimate ‘choice’; and above all by the view of a child as a commodity to be purchased or disposed of at will.

In many countries, Australia included, man will not die out of course - immigration will fill in the gap. But this can mean a fundamental change in the culture of the recipient country, as it has in England, for example, where Sharia law is now part of the formal legal system. Australia is already well down the same track - half of our population increase in the last decade has come from immigration, and an increasing proportion of migrants are coming from Muslim countries.

Is it too late for us?

Perhaps not – but we will have to work fast if we are to withstand the flood. We need to get serious about recreating Christendom, and make 2009 the year things changed!

1 comment:

Secular Heretic said...

I think there is always hope for us. At times though the whole world seems hell bent on corrupting and destroying itself.

By the time I retire I think that euthanasia could well be legalized and there will be so many retirees and so few workers that they will be killing us off "for the good of the country".