Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

9/18/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Pope, of course, knows that what the Christians accept as revealed and what the Muslims accept as revealed are greatly at odds, and so it cannot be the basis of a common life

Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic journey to Lebanon is now complete.  Let us hope that it bears fruit.  Pope Benedict apostolic journey had two audiences: the people of Lebanon generally--which would include the significant Muslim population--and the Christian faithful in Lebanon.  Pope Benedict XVI's message was therefore two-pronged. 

Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman

Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/18/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Lebanon, Pope Benedict XVI, peace, natural law, grammar of natural law


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic journey to Lebanon is now complete.  Let us hope that it bears fruit. 

Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic journey had two audiences: the people of Lebanon generally--which would include the significant Muslim population--and the Christian faithful in Lebanon.  Pope Benedict XVI's message was therefore two-pronged. 

The first message was aimed at the entire population of Lebanon, and it may be best summarized in the Pope's address to the assembled government and religious leaders at the Baabda Presidential Palace.  The essential message was peace.  He expressed the hope that Lebanon may become for the world "an example," a "witness" that "every man and woman has the possibility of concretely realizing his or her longing for peace and reconciliation."
 
Peace, not violence, is "part of God's eternal plan," and it is "impressed . . . deep within the human heart."

In invoking the "eternal plan" of God as found "deep within the human heart," Pope Benedict XVI is referencing the natural moral law which is found in human nature and which is nothing less than the way human beings participate in the eternal law of God.  It is something that is found within us and is something that can be accessed by reason without necessarily having to have recourse to revelation.

The Pope, of course, knows that what the Christians accept as revealed and what the Muslims accept as revealed are greatly at odds, and so it cannot be the basis of a common life.

What can be the basis of a common life is a unity based upon human nature, a "unity" which is not, however, "uniformity." 

One of those areas of "unity" is the desire to build peace, the "first school" of which is the family.  Respect for human life--the rejection of violence--is essential for peace.  "If we want peace, let us defend life!"  This, of course, necessarily means the rejection of any "assault on innocent human life," but, more broadly, also a rejection of "war and terrorism."

All human beings share in a common nature, and this is a great truth which must be recognized.  "Wherever the truth of human nature is ignored or denied," the Pope continues, "it becomes impossible to respect that grammar which is the natural law inscribed in the human heart."

It is the natural law, the "grammar" of man which is found in his human nature, which allows men and women of different faiths to speak a common language.  It allows human beings who have different world views nevertheless to "coexist," even flourish, in building a common society. Without acknowledgement of the natural law, it "is impossible to build true peace."

Human nature has an "innate yearning for beauty, goodness, and truth."  This yearning reflects the fact that we are made in the image of God and so each of us is, in a manner of speaking, "a reflection of the divine."  This yearning for beauty, goodness, and truth is "the basis for a sound and correct notion of morality, which is always centered on the person."

The natural law found within our human nature is a corrective to "widespread opinions, the fashions of the moment, or forms of political and religious ideology" which may be false.

There is a clear, if disguised rejection, of any sort of doctrine of jihad.  "Thoughts of peace, words of peace, and acts of peace," and not thoughts of jihad, words of jihad, and acts of jihad, are required if any sort of reconciliation and common life is to be expected.

The Pope, of course, encourages dialogue between Christianity and Islam, but he also recognizes that the only basis for such dialogue demands that the participants become "conscious of the existence of values which are common to all great cultures because they are rooted in the nature of the human person." 

One of the central aspects of the natural moral law involves religious freedom.  "The freedom to profess and practice one's religion without danger to life and liberty must be possible to everyone."  Certainly, compulsion in religion is to be rejected, and it follows that the Qur'anic verse of the sword, which advocates the expansion of religion by the sword, is contrary to the natural moral law.

Religious compulsion by civil authority is therefore immoral.  But even secular "tolerance" is insufficient.  There has to be on the part of civil and political society an "openness to transcendence," an openness which "makes it possible to find answers to their deepest questions about the meaning of life and morally upright conduct," including an openness to the "Truth which is in God."

As distinguished from his message to all peoples of Lebanon, the Pope's message to the Christian faithful does not contradict the "grammar which is the natural law inscribed in the human heart," but infuses it and uplifts it with grace, the grace of the "folly" of the cross.

Pope Benedict XVI's message to Christians is best gleaned from his homily at the Sunday Mass on September 16, held at the Beirut City Center Waterfront.

In his homily, Pope Benedict XVI focused on Christ's question to his disciples as he was going to Jerusalem, where "the central events of our salvation would take place: his crucifixion and resurrection."  It was before these pivotal events that Christ asked the question, "Who do you say that I am?"  And it received a variety of answers from those who were not his followers.

This question is asked by Jesus of all of us.  Of course, Peter gave the right answer.  "You are the Christ."  (Mark 8:29)  But the Pope knows that not everyone who says, "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21).  And similarly, not everyone who says "Christ, Christ."

In response to Peter's confession of faith, Jesus makes it clear that he will suffer, and will die, though he will emerge victorious and rise again.  He is not to be understood as a political Messiah.  And here, after St. Peter's confession of faith, St. Peter has the temerity to scold Jesus.

It is not only exclaiming "Lord, Lord," or "Christ, Christ," that makes us followers of Jesus.  "Following Jesus," the Pope tells his flock, "means taking up one's cross and walking in his footsteps."  It is a life of "self-abandonment," a life that is willing to lose itself "for Christ and the Gospel" so as to save it.  Only through suffering and death to self are we to enjoy the fruits of the resurrection.  This is something beyond the natural law.  It is a call to a supernatural way of living.

Here, the Pope's message is also one of peace.  The natural law--present in all humans as part of their grammar--yearns for peace.  And just as grace builds upon nature, so the faith of Christians builds upon this natural yearning for peace.  It is through their imitation of Jesus, that peace has its best chance, especially in a land of religious violence.

"The vocation of the Church and of each Christian is to serve others, as the Lord himself did, freely and impartially.  Consequently, in a world where violence constantly leaves behind its grim trail of death and destruction, to serve justice and peace is urgently necessary for building a fraternal society, for building fellowship!"

The homily confirms what Pope Benedict XVI had told the faithful on Friday, September 14, at the Basilica of St. Paul, Harissa:

"It is here and now that we are called to celebrate the victory of love over hate, forgiveness over revenge, service over domination, humility over pride, and unity over division. . . . This is the language of the cross, exalted and glorious! This is the 'folly' of the cross: a folly capable of changing our sufferings into a declaration of love for God and mercy for our neighbor; a folly capable of transforming those who suffer because of their faith and identity into vessels of clay ready to be filled to overflowing by divine gifts more precious than gold (cf. 2 Cor 4:7-18)."

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Middle East

'Our warriors are everywhere': ISIS uses CHILDREN to threaten Europe Watch

Image of Brainwashed children train to be the next generation of terrorists (ISIS video).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

ISIS released a threatening video as a warning to Europeans, in which they promised the attacks have only just begun. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The threat is one of many that ISIS has released over the years - but what makes this one especially chilling is ... continue reading


You won't believe how ISIS INCREASES brutal attacks across Iraq and Syria Watch

Image of ISIS continues its rampage across the Middle East (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A car bomb and two smaller blasts exploded in Baghdad, killing at least fourteen adults and children. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Mail, the largest bomb was planted in a parked car.When it detonated, eleven people were killed and at least ... continue reading


'Forgive them': ISIS' brutal and raw torture shared with the world (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT) Watch

Image of Stories of ISIS brutality travel around the world (ISIS propaganda film).

By Matt Hadro (CNA)

The stories were graphic, brutal and raw. New York City, N.Y. (CNA) - One account told of a couple whose children had been captured by ISIS militants. When they answered their door one day, they found a plastic bag on their doorstep. It contained the body parts of ... continue reading


Mad Max style missile strike destroys ISIS suicide bomb truck Watch

Image of ISIS suicide truck destroyed (Youtube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Footage captured Kurdish fighters destroying a Mad Max-like scrapyard ISIS suicide bomber truck in Syria in an amazing missile explosion. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The footage caught an ISIS suicide bomber truck driving along a dirt road when suddenly a ... continue reading


Deadly tension erupts in Iraq - but DOESN'T involve ISIS? Watch

Image of Religious-fueled fighting has been breaking out among areas free of ISIS.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Fighting in Iraq leads to 12 dead - but ISIS had nothing to do with the gunfire. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - News of ISIS-related acts of terror including bombings, rape and even threatening social media have splashed headlines for quite a while, but what else ... continue reading


Documents reveal who is buying the most ISIS oil - and you won't guess who it is! Watch

Image of ISIS relies on oil sales to fund its operations. Just who is buying all the oil is surprising.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Wall Street Journal has published their report on documents released by the U.S. government detailing the raid that killed ISIS's top money man. Abu Sayyaf was the official oil man for ISIS, generating over a million dollars a day for the terror organization, even ... continue reading


Saudi Arabia's $10 billion gambit isn't for friendly purposes Watch

Image of Obama is eager to appease the Saudis, but this may not be in the best interest of the American people.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Saudi Arabia is taking out a $10 billion loan to offset losses caused by collapsed oil prices, a condition the conservative Islamic monarchy has created for itself. Saudi Arabia is beginning to consider changes to its economy that will shift the nation away from oil. ... continue reading


How is the U.S. going to help Christians in danger of genocide? Watch

Image of Christians are in danger of genocide in the Middle East (America).

By Matt Hadro (CNA/EWTN News)

Now that the U.S. has declared that the Islamic State is waging genocide against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, what will be done to help the victims move forward? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - That was the question at an April 19 congressionalWill the ... continue reading


ISIS brutally butchers 250 women for refusing to become sex slaves Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two-hundred and fifty women have been brutally slaughtered by the Islamic State for refusing to become sex slaves to the terrorists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After refusing to accept the "temporary marriages" and the "sexual jihad" being forced on them the ... continue reading


'I wish it was me not you,' Mother mourns over daughter's lifeless body Watch

Image of Syrian mother grieves for her daughter, who was killed during an air strike in Aleppo (barry Newsa/YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Air strikes in Syria continue to eat away at the ISIS population - but they have been destroying civilian lives as well. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A mother recently lost her daughter in a missile strike of Aleppo, Syria.The woman was recorded crying and ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 'The doctors were shocked': Conjoined twins share unusual bond
  • The Feast of the Ascension is the Portal to Eternity
  • Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Friday, May 06, 2016
  • Bl. Edward Jones: Saint of the Day for Friday, May 06, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Monday, May 9th, 2016 HD Video
  • The gruesome way scientists are killing unborn babies in school ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 18:9-18
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, 'Be fearless; speak out ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 47:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
2 For Yahweh, the Most High, is glorious, the great king over all the ... Read More

Gospel, John 16:20-23
20 'In all truth I tell you, you will be weeping and wailing while the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 6th, 2016 Image

Bl. Edward Jones
May 6: Blessed Edward Jones and Anthony Middleton, ... Read More