Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pope Benedict's letter to the Bishops

As some of you know, the pope lifted the excommunications of the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (they were illicitly ordained by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre) and then there was this huge kerfluffle because one of those bishops, Bishop Williamson, is a holocaust denier.
So anyways, Pope Benedict XVI has written a letter to all of the bishops of the Catholic Church about all of this stuff and it is just wonderful. You can read it over at Fr. Z's website, translated into English. Here are some of my favorite parts:

The actual problem of our point in history is that God is disappearing out of humankind’s horizon and with the extinguishing of the from God-coming-light the lack/inability to of direction breaks into humanity, the destructive effects of which we are seeing ever more of.

Sometimes one has the impression that our society needs at least one group to which it needs to show no tolerance, which one is allowed to attack with hatred, unquestioned. And whoever dares to touch them—in this case the Pope— has also himself lost the right to tolerance and was allowed to be thought of with hatred, without shyness or restraint.

Dear brothers, in the days in which I bethought myself to write this letter, it so happened that I had to explain and comment on a section from Gal 5,13-15 in the seminary in Rome. I was surprised who directly the sections spoke of the present of that hour : “Do not take freedom as an excuse for the flesh, but serve one another in love. The whole law is summarized in the one world: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. And when you bite and rip each other apart, then take care that you do not kill each other.” I was always inclined to see this sentence as one of those rhetorical hyperbole that occasionally appear in St Paul. In some ways it may well be. But unfortunately that “biting and ripping” is also present in the Church today as an expression of a badly understood notion of freedom.

Is it any wonder that we are not better than the Galatians? That we are at least threatened by the same temptations? That we need to learn the right uses of freedom anew? And that we always have to newly learn that highest priority: Love?

Go read the whole thing. It's just wonderful.

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