» 12/21/2012, 00.00
Pope: family and dialogue, challenges for the Church of our time
In the meeting with the Roman Curia, Benedict XVI reports on the life of the Church in the past year. The family in front of the culture of "freedom" and "gender." Dialogue with the states and "non-negotiable" values. Between religions, "it is necessary to make the joint responsibility for justice and peace, the basic criterion of conversation."
City (AsiaNews) - The family -
"strong and vibrant" despite attacks posed by the rejection of "commitments"
and the conception of sexuality as "social role of choice" - and dialogue,
among religions, "a necessary condition for peace in the world." These
are the themes to which Benedict XVI dedicated most attention in a long speech
given today to the Roman curia, received for Christmas greetings.
It is 'an event in which, traditionally, the Pope takes
stock of the most important issues for life of the Church in the year drawing
to a close, while in the meeting with the diplomatic corps at the beginning of
the new year, he
addresses the issues related to the life of the international community.
then, the family, which Benedict XVI spoke of in recalling the world meeting in
June in Milan. It
"has shown that, despite all impressions to the contrary, the family is
still strong and vibrant today. But there is no denying the crisis that
threatens it to its foundations - especially in the western world".
challenges" it faces today, as also shown by the work of the October Synod
on the new evangelization, are mainly two. The
first concerns " capacity to make a commitment or to avoid commitment".
In the face of a spreading culture that rejects the lasting
commitment, the Pope said that "man's refusal to make any commitment -
which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding
of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering -
means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his "I" ultimately for
himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find
himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to
the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover
the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key
figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child - essential
elements of the experience of being human are lost"
The second "attack" to "authentic form of
the family, consisting of father, mother and child" brings into play
"the vision of the human being, of what it really means to be human."
in this case it is a question which has cultural roots. Citing
the Chief Rabbi of France Gilles Bernheim, the Pope says that "these words
lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term "gender" as a
new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a
given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of:
it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was
chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the
anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the
idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a
defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it
is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for
themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as
male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is
an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This
very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words
of the creation account: "male and female he created them" (Gen 1:27) no longer
apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and
female - hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman
as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man
calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The
manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned,
now becomes man's fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on
there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature
is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of
what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality
of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality
established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied
hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce,
from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people
have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be
creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker
himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a
creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of
the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied,
human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man".
The second major issue addressed by the Pope is that of
n her dialogue with the state and with society, the Church does not, of course,
have ready answers for individual questions. Along with other forces in
society, she will wrestle for the answers that best correspond to the truth of
the human condition. The values that she recognizes as fundamental and
non-negotiable for the human condition she must propose with all clarity. She
must do all she can to convince, and this can then stimulate political action".
In the dialogue between religions, then, " is a
necessary condition for peace in the world and it is therefore a duty for
Christians as well as other religious communities". It
" it is simply a dialogue of life, a dialogue of being together",
which does not address the major issues of faith. "
It is about the concrete problems of coexistence and shared responsibility for
society, for the state, for humanity. In the process, it is necessary to learn
to accept the other in his otherness and the otherness of his thinking. To this
end, the shared responsibility for justice and peace must become the guiding
principle of the conversation. A dialogue about peace and justice is bound to
pass beyond the purely pragmatic to an ethical quest for the values that come
before everything. In this way what began as a purely practical dialogue
becomes a quest for the right way to live as a human being. Even if the
fundamental choices themselves are not under discussion, the search for an
answer to a specific question becomes a process in which, through listening to
the other, both sides can obtain purification and enrichment. Thus this search
can also mean taking common steps towards the one truth, even if the
fundamental choices remain unaltered. If both sides set out from a hermeneutic
of justice and peace, the fundamental difference will not disappear, but a
deeper closeness will emerge nevertheless".
The Pope then compares dialogue, identity and
truth: "the Christian can afford to be supremely confident, yes,
fundamentally certain that he can venture freely into the open sea of the
truth, without having to fear for his Christian identity. To be sure, we do not
possess the truth, the truth possesses us: Christ, who is the truth, has taken
us by the hand, and we know that his hand is holding us securely on the path of
our quest for knowledge. Being inwardly held by the hand of Christ makes us
free and keeps us safe: free - because if we are held by him, we can enter
openly and fearlessly into any dialogue; safe - because he does not let go of
us, unless we cut ourselves off from him. At one with him, we stand in the
light of truth."
from the perspective of the Year of Faith and the Synod, a reflection on
evangelization, "the first and fundamental element is the straightforward
proclamation, the kerygma, which draws its strength from the inner conviction
of the one proclaiming." "
The word of proclamation is effective in situations where man is listening in
readiness for God to draw near, where man is inwardly searching and thus on the
way towards the Lord. His heart is touched when Jesus turns towards him, and
then his encounter with the proclamation becomes a holy curiosity to come to
know Jesus better. As he walks with Jesus, he is led to the place where Jesus
lives, to the community of the Church, which is his body. That means entering
into the journeying community of catechumens, a community of both learning and
living, in which our eyes are opened as we wal
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