Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

In my heart of hearts, I hoped that Cardinal Ratzinger would be elected to the See of Peter and I rather pessimistically did not think it likely or possible. Perhaps I was also being superstitious and felt that if I rooted for him, he would lose!! But the election of this humble and holy man shows the grace of the Spirit and the Church's fidelity to the Truth that comes from Christ and his Gospel.

For here is a man who for the last 24 years has defended that Truth, a man who for years more has studied, pondered and reflected upon and written and expounded on that Truth. And he has done so amidst great opposition, derision and dissent. I don't think these elements will abate with his election as Supreme Pontiff but I believe he will continue to hold fast to the Truth and boldly proclaim it.

As he said two days ago:
We are now witnessing the "dictatorship of relativism" which "does not recognize
anything as absolute and leaves as the ultimate measure only the measure of each
one and his desires..."
The new Holy Father will as a "simple humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord" continue to strive against this secular tendency and proclaim the teachings and loving example of Christ.

This man, whose books I have loved and read with keenness has been elected by the 115 voting cardinals as the 265th Successor of St Peter. I rejoice with the Church that we all have a new Shepherd on earth and I rejoice in particular in the cardinals' wise and prudent decision.

I watched on my knees and was overwhelmed with emotion as his election was announced live on CNN and indeed, I was in tears as it happened and his name was announced. Tears of joy...

May the Holy Trinity continue to bless this man, the humble worker of God and may the Blessed Virgin, Ss Peter and Paul and all the saints pray for him and his Pontificate.

Perhaps some of you may be wondering why I said in a past post that I did not think a "Ratzinger papacy would be all that good for the Church"... Simply because I think his Pontificate would drive even further the wedge between liberal and conservative Catholicism. As the symbol of unity, his role in that position would become even more difficult. However, I also believe his election signals a continuity with Vatican II. He was a peritus at the Council and made a cardinal by Pope Paul VI, he was a close collaborator with John Paul the Great and thus knows the mind and spirit of the Council and the Council Fathers. It would be for those at variance with him to reconcile themselves with the teaching of Christ and his Church and also for the new Pope to reach out in pastoral compassion and love to those who have been alienated.

Let's pray for him, our Holy Father, Benedict XVI.

On a more flippant note, St Malachy seems right again! Hmm....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course I'm not as familiar or knowledgeable as you regarding the new pope, Benedict XVI -- it's just a little disconcerting to have someone occupy a position of such importance to utter statements saying that the Catholic faith is the one true religion (or words to that effect), and that other Christian sects/groups are "deficient." Maybe I'm taking these statements out of context. But even with his being a Catholic, this is not something you'd expect from someone occupying such a position, like I already said.

In any case, how does this affect South America and in Africa -- from where it was hoped a new pope would be named?

10:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive me -- I did not mean for that last post to sound derisive or irreverent or even argumentative. I hope you don't take it that way. :)

I was speaking out of concern for an institution into which I was also baptized and which I did want to serve "formally" -- but more importantly, for the universal inclination to and need for spirituality. For even my priest friends agree with me: people are moving out of the institution as a means of finding, and rooting themselves, in God, and relying instead on more personal -- and therefore, more meaningful -- ways to this end. For someone to say that another person's way is wrong is... well... it's not helping that other person, is it? :)

Again, I'm not trying to argue. Forgive me if that's how it sounds.

God bless you!

10:51 am  
Anonymous Adrian Chong said...

Hmm the article on/by St Malachy sounds interesting. Has anyone autheticated its source at all?

I have little doubt that Pope Benedict XVI would be the pope of peace. The rest of the article is more disturbing though, with the predictions of the next two world wars in this century.

No harm in getting prepared for battle, I guess. *gets lightsaber out*

11:11 am  
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11:58 am  
Blogger Br Lawrence, O.P. said...

Dear Anon,

Thanks for your comments. I believe that frank and open dialogue is necessary in the search for Truth, so your views are appreciated. Don't worry - no offense taken.

The matter of which you speak, I think refers to the document "Dominus Iesus" which was released in 2000 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) of which Cardinal Ratzinger was then Prefect. The document was signed in specifica forma by the Pope, John Paul II. This means that it had the highest level of approval from the Holy Father. In addition, on several occasions, Pope John Paul II stressed his total approval of and indeed the necessity for this document.

"Dominus Iesus" itself draws upon and expounds on the teaching of Vatican II and the Scriptures and is amply footnoted as such.

So if anyone wishes to question the teaching of this doctrine, one actually questions the long-standing faith of the Church, by which I mean the people of God, His saints in all ages.

The Church, following the example of St Peter (the first pope) exists to preach that Jesus is our universal Saviour, that salvation comes through him and him alone. (cf Acts 4:12) Placing oneself outside of the Church's confession of faith in search of some 'spirituality' implies a worship not of God as he has chosen to reveal himself to us but a worship of human-made and human-felt convictions, which are essentially subjective and relativist. I have great sympathy and truly wish to empathise with those who choose to find God or 'meaning' outside the "institutional" Church. It is certainly possible (again Vatican II suggests this) but this is seen as a result of the grace of God and Christ's desire that all shall be saved. How is left to his mercy and grace and the mystery of God.

However, the Church, knowing with certainty that salvation comes from Christ and given the responsibility to share this with all people who seek Truth cannot help but proclaim that salvation comes only from Christ and through her.

Why? Because without the Church (the body who preaches Christ to all) we would be ignorant of the Bible, Jesus's life, message and example... We would have no vehicle for God's grace.

"Dominus Iesus" affirms this and goes one to state (in accordance with Vatican II) that:
"The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn 15:1ff.; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; Acts 9:5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ's salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church and by means of the Church (cf. Col 1:24-27),47 which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27; Col 1:18)."

In saying so, the document affirms with Vatican II that the Church of Christ "subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him."

A breach in this communion or some other revelation such as the sacraments is understood as a lack (in technical terms, a deficiency)

Cardinal Ratzinger as a servant of the Truth and the faith of the Church, as handed down by Christ to the apostles, taught this. As Benedict XVI, he will continue to do so. This is no arrogance because it is not the opinion of one man. It is the faith of the Church, the saints, the faith given to him, to us that he proclaims. He proclaims this faith in my name, in the name of all the baptised and I thank him for that brave witness.

Another thing: if I did not tell someone that something they did was 'wrong' or if there were a better way, I am doing that person no favours whatsoever. If you, wishing directions to get from A to B took the wrong turn; would you wish me to inform you of that wrong turn (or give you a shorter, faster, safer route) or would you rather I leave you to get lost, take a long journey and discover that yourself?! Charity demands that I help you to find the right and best way! So too, with the faith I profess as a Christian.

At the heart of all this confusion is poor Ecclesiology. Cardinal Ratzinger identified this in the 1980s as the root of all the Church's current doctrinal confusion and I agree 100%. I have seen it again and again in all sectors.

I humbly ask all detractors from "Dominus Iesus" to read the document "Lumen Gentium" of Vatican II and the cited Scriptural passages. Just Google it...

I would love to continue this. Perhaps you would like to email me:
Let's keep the discussion (or argument going) as we seek to speak the Truth in love.

Thanks again.

4:58 pm  

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