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Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - romanaround - 07-09-2011

I know how most of you feel about the event, so here's a clarification from the head of the CDF,

Quote:VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2011 ( Here is a translation of a statement by Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, that was published Wednesday regarding the day of prayer for peace that will be held in Assisi. The October event will gather representatives of the world's religions, as well as nonbelievers.

* * *

The announcement that next Oct. 27, Benedict XVI will go as a pilgrim to Assisi for a "day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world" shows that the religious experience in its different forms is the object of the Church's attention in the third millennium. Given the present spread of atheism and agnosticism, man must be helped to safeguard and rediscover the awareness of his elementary bond (re-ligio) with the origin from which he stems. This awareness, which naturally makes itself prayerful, is also a condition of peace and justice in the world.

In his book-interview of 1994, Blessed John Paul II recalled the Assisi meeting of 1986, stating that, together with his numerous visits to countries of the Far East, it convinced him more than ever that "the Holy Spirit works efficaciously even outside the visible organism of the Church." Nevertheless, well aware of the delicacy of the issue, shortly after that meeting, on Dec. 7, 1990, he taught in his encyclical "Redemptoris Missio," that the Spirit "manifests himself in a special way in the Church and in her members. Nevertheless, his presence and activity are universal, limited neither by space nor time." Recalling the Second Vatican Council, he recalled the work of the Spirit "in the heart of every man through the 'seeds of the Word,' to be found in human initiatives -- including religious ones -- and in mankind's efforts to attain truth, goodness and God himself," who prepares us "for full maturity in Christ" (No. 28). Hence, in the same encyclical not only did he reaffirm the need and urgency of the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus, but he opposed energetically an "indifferentism, which, sad to say, is found also among Christians. It is based on incorrect theological perspectives and is characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that 'one religion is as good as another'" (No. 36).

In complete harmony with this concern is also the theological and pastoral reflection of Joseph Ratzinger: Already in 1964 he manifested his intention to "show more clearly the place of Christianity in the history of religions and thereby to reinvest with some concrete and particular meaning theological statements about the uniqueness and the absolute value of Christianity" (J. Ratzinger, Fede, Verita, Tolleranza. Il Cristianesimo e le Religioni del Mondo, 17 (Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, 19)). The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led by him, would take up this topic again with the declaration "Dominus Iesus" about the oneness and the universality of Jesus Christ and of the Church. The document, published on Aug. 6, 2000, was not intended solely to refute the idea of an interreligious coexistence in which the various "beliefs" would be recognized as complementary ways of the fundamental one which is Jesus Christ (cf. John 14:6); it intended, more profoundly, to lay the doctrinal basis of a reflection on the relationship between Christianity and religions.

Because of his unique relationship with the Father, the person of the Incarnate Word is absolutely unique; the salvific work of Jesus Christ is prolonged in his Body, the Church, and the Church is also absolutely unique ordered to the salvation of all men. To accomplish this work, both in Christians as well as non-Christians, it is always and only the Spirit of Christ that the Father gives to the Church, "sacrament of salvation": that is why there are not, ordered to salvation, complementary ways to the one universal economy of the Son made flesh, even if outside the Church of Christ elements are found of truth and goodness (cf. Nostra Aetate, 2; Ad Gentes, 9).

The Assisi meeting had a follow-up on Jan. 24, 2002. On that occasion Cardinal Ratzinger felt the need to clarify further its meaning, making himself the voice of those who questioned themselves seriously on this matter: "Can this be done? Is it not the case that the majority of people are given the false illusion of an association that in reality does not exist? Is not relativism thus fostered, the opinion that at bottom there are only penultimate differences that arise between the 'religions'? Is not the seriousness of the faith thus weakened and in this way, in the end, God distances himself further from us? Is not the sentiment reinforced of being left alone?" (Fede, Verita, Tolleranza, 111). The reader can refer to the precise definitions which have not lost their topical interest.

Here we would rather ask ourselves: Why, if he was so aware of the possible misunderstandings of the gesture of his blessed predecessor, has Benedict XVI felt it opportune to go as a pilgrim to Assisi on the occasion of a new meeting for peace and justice in the world?

We find a first indication in Cardinal Ratzinger's recollection regarding the meeting of 2002. On the day after the meeting he recalled the figure of the man dressed in white, now elderly, seated together with the others on the train to Assisi: "Men and women, who in daily life too often confront one another with hostility and seem divided by insurmountable barriers, greeted the Pope who, with the force of his personality, the profundity of his faith, the passion that derives from it for peace and reconciliation, brought about through the charism of his office what seemed impossible: to bring together in a pilgrimage for peace representatives of divided Christianity and representatives of different religions" (30Giorni, 1/2002).

Religion, far from deterring the building of the earthly city, drives rather to a commitment to it. For us Christians, this means first of all interceding with God, leaving to others, despite their diversity -- believers and non-believers, who are also invited to the forthcoming Assisi meeting -- to join us in the quest for peace and justice in the world. And, the cardinal added at the time, "if we as Christians undertake the path to peace in the example of St. Francis, we should not fear losing our identity: it is really then that we find it" (ibid.). In short it is not a question of hiding the faith for the sake of a superficial unity, but of confessing -- as John Paul II and the Ecumenical Patriarch then did -- that Christ is our peace, and that precisely because of this the path of peace is the path of the Church. The face of the "God of peace" (Romans 15:33), again said Joseph Ratzinger, "made itself visible to us through faith in Christ" (ibid.). And this peace is a fullness not only offered and transmitted (cf. John 20:19), received already always by the "Ecclesia sancta et immaculata" (Ephesians 5:27), at the same time as gift and as task in confrontations with the world, which is the "theater of man's history" (Gaudium et Spes, 2).

We are reminded of this by Vatican II: "obeying the command of Christ and influenced by the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, [the Church is] fully present to all men or nations, in order that, by the example of her life and by her preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace, she may lead them to the faith, the freedom and the peace of Christ" (Ad Gentes, 5). Because "all men are called to union with Christ" (Lumen Gentium, 3), the Church must be leaven of this unity for the whole of humanity: not only with the proclamation of the Word of God, but with the lived testimony of the profound union of Christians with God. This is the authentic path of peace.

The title chosen for the next Day of Assisi -- Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace -- gives us a second indication: to be able realistically to hope in the building together of peace, it is necessary to put truth as criterion. "Ethos without logos does not hold" (J. Ratzinger, Vi ho chiamati amici. La compagnia nel cammino della fede, 71). Instructed by the painful experiences of the totalitarian ideologies, the Pope abhors every form of subordination of reason to practice. But there is much more to it. The original bond between ethos and logos, and between religion and reason, lies ultimately in Christ, the divine Logos: precisely because of this, Christianity is able to restore this bond to the world, participating, as real and effective sign of Jesus Christ, in his unique mission of salvation (cf. Lumen Gentium, 9). Hence, "that relativism that affects clearly to a greater or lesser degree the doctrine of the faith and of the profession of faith" (Vi ho chiamati amici, 71) is to be refuted decisively. However this, far from constituting a belittling of the different religious expressions or the ethical dimension is, rather, their appreciation: "We must try to find a new patience -- without indifference -- with one another and with the others; a new capacity to let be what is other and another person; a new willingness to differentiate the levels of unity and, hence, to realize the elements of unity that are possible now" (ibid.). Peace without truth is not possible, and vice versa: the attitude to peace constitutes an authentic "criterion of truth" (J. Ratzinger, Europa. I suoi fondamenti oggi e domani, 79).

Thoughts? Concerns?

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - devotedknuckles - 07-09-2011

so does this mean we all can have vodoooo priestess sacrifice chickens in blood rituals in church on sundays?
u know as jpii did and all that
and does this mean we all can pray with mohamadans and french kiss the koran and pray that saint John th ebabtist protect vile mohamadanism?
u know
like jpii did and all that jazz

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - DrBombay - 07-09-2011

You can't put sunglasses on a dogs bum and make it smell better.

In other words, Assisi still stinks.

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - Mithrandylan - 07-09-2011

Wow Bombay your avatar is... intense.  Love it.

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - romanaround - 07-10-2011

Great. So we're all agreed then? Cats are awesome.

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - DrBombay - 07-10-2011

Except Adam Wayne.  She thinks my avatar was changed in response to one of her posts.  Heh.

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - Mithrandylan - 07-10-2011

(07-10-2011, 12:08 AM)DrBombay Wrote: Except Adam Wayne.  She thinks my avatar was changed in response to one of her posts.  Heh.

Adam Wayne is a woman?  ???  I guess I never paid attention to the gender sign.

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - Someone1776 - 07-10-2011

Father Z's combox had some great comments.  I am going to post four here that I found particularly worth reading:

Quote:Unfortunately, I think there is a serious rupture in the Church’s approach to other religions that is difficult to justify. In talking about this Assisi Prayer Meeting in January of 2011, Pope Benedict XVI stated he would attend the upcoming Assisi interfaith gathering with the aim to “solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service in the cause of peace.” (Angelus Message on January 1, 2011)

How can the Roman Pontiff say that he will actually encourage believers of false religions to live their own false religions and not instead clearly call these people to convert to the true Catholic Religion? With all due respect to Pope Benedict, I don’t think there is any justification, including world peace, that would make it morally legitimate for anyone to encourage the practice of false religions that, for example, deny the Trinity and Christ’s Incarnation. Even in a practical sense, how can false religions like Islam contribute to the building of peace in society when Islam is riddled with errors about the dignity of the human person and our relationship with God?

If we want world peace, we should call all non-Catholics to the Catholic Faith and then build a true Catholic culture. In the meantime if this is not possible, we should try to build peace with non-Catholics by appealing to their human reason through natural law arguments, which will not legitimize the practice of their false religions.
-Jason Keener

Quote:“…solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service in the cause of peace.”

I don’t think the Pope intends by this to confirm others in their non-Christian traditions. But if they live their own religious faith — in the spirit of being authentic pilgrims of truth and peace — then the seeds of truth and goodness can grow and blossom.


Unfortunately, I have to disagree with you. I don’t think there is any set of mental gymnastics that will allow one to reasonably conclude that the Holy Father’s statement is not in some way about confirming non-Catholics in their religious errors.

I find it quite strange how absolutely obsessed the Church is today with finding the good points in other religions, even to the point of absurdity. I believe that it is a modernist error for the Church to do so and is closely akin to the error in popular culture where everyone is trying their hardest to make all moral choices, academic outcomes in schools, etc., equal for the sake of political correctness and the fear of offending someone.

For example, we all know that Islam is the predominant major religion that is threatening world peace, yet how will we ever get Muslims to change their ways if the Pope will ask Muslims at Assisi to use their false and dangerous religion as a means to achieve peace? Moreover, how do we expect that Jews and Protestants will be able to bring peace to a fallen world when they are without Christ, without the true teachings of the Church, and without the graces of the seven Sacraments? We would do well, I think, to remind ourselves of what Pope Pius XI taught in “Quas Primas,” “In Christ is the salvation of the individual. In Christ is the salvation of society.”

Many will say that Catholics should at least give Protestants credit for venerating the Scriptures and recognizing the Sacrament of Baptism. I do not view these Protestant actions as being praiseworthy because in venerating the Scriptures and the Sacrament of Baptism, the Protestants are doing so in a way that sets up a parallel church and rips the Scriptures and Baptism from their proper context within the True Church. Why would we extol such behavior when it is so clearly objectively wrong? Sure, Protestants alive today are not responsible for causing the Protestant Revolution (Reformation), but they are certainly responsible for prolonging it. Why is the Catholic Church not openly and actively calling on Protestants to renounce their errors through apologetics and missionary activity instead of trying to give Protestants credit for ripping elements of Catholic life from their proper context? Yes, these are strange times indeed.
-Jason Keener

Quote:Quoting the above: “In talking about this Assisi Prayer Meeting in January of 2011, Pope Benedict XVI stated he would attend the upcoming Assisi interfaith gathering with the aim to ‘“solemnly renew the commitment of believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service in the cause of peace.”’ (Angelus Message on January 1, 2011)

First, in all fairness to the Holy Father, one needs to read and to understand the above statement first within the context of his entire message, given on the 44th World Day of Peace. In his Angelus message, Pope Benedict XVI makes reference to his World Day of Peace message which he would give to the world that same day, the theme of which was “Religious Freedom: The Path to Peace.” He is in fact not calling upon us to abandon Christ’s Great Commission, but rather to be faithful to it: to witness to the Truth, the one and only Truth, which alone can bring true Peace. The Truth which by definition leads to Peace is not something which could ever be imposed upon anyone by force. We must, as witnesses to Christ, like God Himself, “beckon humanity with a loving plan.”

In taking the Holy Father’s remarks in context, we can then see the fulness of meaning of those remarks: it is only Christianity which is able to carry out what he calls for. No religion other than Christianity, no matter how faithfully lived, truly serves the cause of peace, because there is no peace without the reconciliation of Christ. Any person of another faith, if he or she honestly examines that faith, would be able to discover this. And if we are faithful to the Great Commission, our faithfulness will make plain to them “the reason for the hope that is within.”

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - DrBombay - 07-10-2011

(07-10-2011, 12:09 AM)Mithrandylan Wrote:
(07-10-2011, 12:08 AM)DrBombay Wrote: Except Adam Wayne.  She thinks my avatar was changed in response to one of her posts.  Heh.

Adam Wayne is a woman?   ???  I guess I never paid attention to the gender sign.

She's a real drama queen is what she is.

Re: Cardinal Levada On Assisi Meeting - Vetus Ordo - 07-10-2011

This is not the Church of Jesus Christ.