Friday, July 18, 2008

7/7/7 - 7/7/8

A year ago on July 7, pope Benedict XVI issued the Apostolic Letter "Summorum Pontificum," issued Motu Proprio.

Interestingly, on July 7th of this year, Sandro Magister chose to post an intriguing article titled The Encyclical on Hope Commented by Two Non-believing Thinkers. Magister writes about two non-believers, prominent professors in their respective fields, who have had their commentary on the pope’s encyclical Spe Salve, printed on the front page of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

Both of these men, who respect the pope and are respected by the pope, chose to comment on the pope's call in Spe Salvi for a "self-critique" of modernity, and a "self-critique" of the modern Church as well. The former, they point out, is well done in Spe-Salvi, the latter is left un-done, it is never mentioned again in Spe-Salvi after being introduced.

When I read the article, I had the impression that what these two men were suggesting was a critical self-examination by the Church of herself, in terms of the world. Perhaps that is to be expected. In even the world's terms, she fares well; no other entity provides as much for those in need. But perhaps something else is on Benedict XVI's mind, that this call from outside the Church would appear on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano. I say this, because it is a call I have also made. As an outsider who entered the Church after reading the documents of Vatican II (along with the Fathers and Doctors), I have observed that many in my new home seem to be unaware of Vatican II, and have gone after other lights which have made false pretensions of being Vatican II. Rather than a self-critique on the world's terms, a self-critique on Jesus' terms, the terms which are found explicitly in the total treasury of the teaching and governing Church; from Apostolic times through Vatican II, is rightly in order.

If we have abandoned the great commission n favor of contemporary political relevancy, and/or kick against the goad like a petulant child, maybe we need to hear the voice of Jesus, as Paul did, saying "Why are you persecuting Me?"

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