John Paul Took On Communism, Benedict Took on Relativism, Next Pope Must Take on Militant Secularism
I have been engaged in numerous conversations since Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to resign his office
Even those who hate the Catholic Church (and their numbers are increasing) intuitively know that this election has far more significance than the one which occurred last year in the United States. Who will step into the shoes of the fisherman? What manner of man will he be? What will it mean for the Church? What will it mean for the world?
Pope Benedict and Blessed John Paul II
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - I have been engaged in numerous conversations since Pope Benedict XVI announced his decision to resign his office. His act of humility brings a prophetic end to a papacy of great substance. Benedict continued a trajectory begun by Blessed John Paul II. He promoted the New Evangelization of the Catholic Church. He knew that she must be renewed and restored in order to lead a new missionary age in this Third Millennium of Christianity.
Many of my discussions have centered on the contributions of the pontificate of Benedict XVI. I write on the Feast of the Chair of Peter. My readers know I believe that Benedicts years of service will be judged as having great significance. So too will the years of his predecessor, the one whose canonization will most assuredly occur, Blessed John Paul II. How privileged I have been to have lived during the time of these two worthy successors of Peter.
The eyes of the world turn again to the eternal city where another papal conclave will soon begin. Even those who hate the Catholic Church (and their numbers are increasing) intuitively know that this election has far more significance than the one which occurred last year in the United States. Who will step into the shoes of the fisherman? What manner of man will he be? What will it mean for the Church? What will it mean for the world?
Pundits apply tired political labels to an institution which defies such trite categories. They offer a worldly analysis to a Church which touches eternity. Even some in the religious media engage in analyzing the selection of the next pope in a way which seems to forget that the Church is an institution with one foot in this world and the other in the world to come.
The chattering of self appointed experts fills the multiple faces of modern media. Many are so self absorbed that they manufacture lists of candidates and make up stories as to why this one or that one will be - or should be - chosen. Yet, as was vividly demonstrated in the last two conclaves, they do not have a clue.
I am not the least bit concerned about who will be chosen. The trajectory of truth offered by the Catholic Church will continue because she is Christ's Church. God still loves the world so much that he sends His Son. He does that through the Church which is His Body. She is sent into a world which needs to be set free from the shackles of sin. A world hungering for the liberation which truth alone can bring.
I write to consider an aspect of the mission of the next pontificate. A man whom I respect recently reminded me that my hero, Blessed John Paul II, had helped to expose and bring down communism, an atheistic materialistic ideology which had enslaved millions. He then claimed that Benedict - as holy, wise and good as he was - had not taken on such a dangerous ideological enemy. I disagreed.
Even though John Paul II is my champion, and I am trying to write a doctoral dissertation on his extraordinary work of theological anthropology (Human love in the Divine Plan, aka "Theology of the Body"). I reminded him that the root error of communism has survived. It rears its ugly head in many places.
I also reminded him that Pope Benedict XVI had taken on an ideological adversary even more dangerous; one with the potential to enslave millions in its deadly wake. That enemy was labeled by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger before he assumed the Chair of Peter as the Dictatorship of Relativism.
On the eve of the convocation which would elect him as the successor of Peter, he reflected on the words of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians. He asked, "How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth."
He continued, "Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching", looks like the only attitude which is acceptable by today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires."
Relativism denies the existence of any objective truth upon which to ground our lives as individuals, families, and nations. It says "you have your truth and I have mine". In other words, ...
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