We have "conservative" Catholics who berate the Second Vatican Council for departing from Church teachings, we have "liberal" Catholics who berate those who hold to orthodoxy for departing from the "spirit" of Vatican II, and we have the "orthodox" Catholic berated by both for holding to the Church, the Pope and the Hierarchy.
Mostly though, we're familiar with such liberal groups as Call To Action and FutureChurch, two groups which are, for all practical purposes, one and the same. Needless to say, this split has caused great confusion, especially for the young in religious education classes, and converts in RCIA classes. (Unless of course the only 'catechesis' they're receiving is the liberal one.)
In August of 1996, Chicago Cardinal Bernardin attempted to heal this split with what came to be known as the Catholic Common Ground Project. On the surface, it sounded great, but was hampered in that it called for dialogue as a path for this common ground. As Cardinal Law put it "Dissent from revealed truth or the authoritative teaching of the Church cannot be 'dialogued' away." (The Catholic World Report, Oct. 96; pg 35)
As Cardinal Hickey said: "Unfortunately, the statement of the National Pastoral Life Center obscures the true "common ground" for any effort to bring unity within the Church….Indeed, we are fortunate to have a reliable and complete expression of our "common ground" in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But we cannot achieve Church unity by accommodating those who dissent from Church teaching - whether on the left or on the right. To compromise the faith of the Church is to forfeit our "common ground" and to risk polarization." (Ibid)
Yet, groups like Call To Action, who supported and welcomed the Common Ground Project, have shown their refusal to 'dialogue', prefering to dictate. In their "manifesto", Call To Action claims: " In 1990 we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the historic document of the Second Vatican Council, The Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes). This document clearly turned the face of the church outward, and defined its agenda as service to the entire human community. It stressed the importance of the laity bringing Christian values to society's dialogue on pressing issues in the home, the workplace and the political process."
Now the problem here is that they essentially reject the rest of Vatican II. The statement itself is true, but only if you understand that Vatican II was a series of teachings explaining the Church, it's history, it's mission, it's worhip and structure, etc. and Gaudium et Spes was how THAT Church can, and should, bring the message of Christ to the world. No, for Call to Action it means changing the Church to suit the world: " We see stalled progress by our church officials toward the reunification of the Christian church, even though countless believers of all denominations have already shared the experience of an ecumenically open church at the local level. We call upon our church officials to abandon their resistance on the remaining differences that separate the churches, and to translate the many result of their ecumenical dialogue commissions into serious concrete plans for reunion."
Now here we see a call to make the Church more 'Protestant' to achieve unity. Yet Vatican II doesn't call for this. " In order to establish this His holy Church everywhere in the world till the end of time, Christ entrusted to the College of the Twelve the task of teaching, ruling and sanctifying. Among their number He selected Peter, and after his confession of faith determined that on him He would build His Church. Also to Peter He promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and after His profession of love, entrusted all His sheep to him to be confirmed in faith and shepherded in perfect unity. Christ Jesus Himself was forever to remain the chief cornerstone and shepherd of our souls…. The Church, then, is God's only flock; it is like a standard lifted high for the nations to see it: for it serves all mankind through the Gospel of peace as it makes its pilgrim way in hope toward the goal of the fatherland above…. Even in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly condemned. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church-for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect." (Decree on Ecumenism; Vatican Council II; UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO)
Vatican II never disposed of the teaching that outside the Church there is no salvation. Rather it further clarified that those who believe in, and act according to God's will, are members of the Church, even though imperfectly. That though our separated brethren have elements of the truth, most of which they retained from the Catholic Church, only the Catholic Church retains the 'fullness' of truth. Does one accept an error for the sake of unity? All but one Bishop followed Henry VIII of England out of the Church, was he wrong?
Yet Call To Action further states: "We see many young adults and children of Catholic families who are reluctant to affiliate with a Church they view as authoritarian and hypocritical. We call for a fundamental change so that young people will see and hear God living in and through the church as a participatory community of believers who practice what they preach."
Here we get into semantics. The Church is authoritarian only in that it teaches what Christ taught, no more, no less. In fact, the same can be said of Christ. "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:14). How dare Christ make following His commands conditional? How authoritarian! Christ called on His followers to be obedient to Him and those He sent to teach and guide us. "He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me" (Luke 10:16). Thus, the question is, who are the real hypocrites here?
THURSDAY: Part Two
There can be no rule of law, however, unless citizens and especially leaders are convinced that there is no freedom without truth.(52) In effect, “the grave problems which threaten the dignity of the human person, the family, marriage, education, the economy and working conditions, the quality of life and life itself, raise the question of the rule of law”.(53) The Synod Fathers rightly stressed that “the fundamental rights of the human person are inscribed in human nature itself, they are willed by God and therefore call for universal observance and acceptance. No human authority can infringe upon them by appealing to majority opinion or political consensus, on the pretext of respect for pluralism and democracy. Therefore, the Church must be committed to the task of educating and supporting lay people involved in law-making, government and the administration of justice, so that legislation will always reflect those principles and moral values which are in conformity with a sound anthropology and advance the common good”.(54)
The ethical implications can be positive or negative. There is an economic globalization which brings some positive consequences, such as efficiency and increased production and which, with the development of economic links between the different countries, can help to bring greater unity among peoples and make possible a better service to the human family. However, if globalization is ruled merely by the laws of the market applied to suit the powerful, the consequences cannot but be negative. These are, for example, the absolutizing of the economy, unemployment, the reduction and deterioration of public services, the destruction of the environment and natural resources, the growing distance between rich and poor, unfair competition which puts the poor nations in a situation of ever increasing inferiority.(55) While acknowledging the positive values which come with globalization, the Church considers with concern the negative aspects which follow in its wake.
And what should we say about the cultural globalization produced by the power of the media? Everywhere the media impose new scales of values which are often arbitrary and basically materialistic, in the face of which it is difficult to maintain a lively commitment to the values of the Gospel.
The frequent lack of planning in this process is a source of many evils. As the Synod Fathers pointed out, “in certain cases, some urban areas are like islands where violence, juvenile delinquency and an air of desperation flourish”.(57) The phenomenon of urbanization therefore presents great challenges for the Church's pastoral action, which must address cultural rootlessness, the loss of family traditions and of people's particular religious traditions. As a result, faith is often weakened because it is deprived of the expressions that helped to keep it alive.
The evangelization of urban culture is a formidable challenge for the Church. Just as she was able to evangelize rural culture for centuries, the Church is called in the same way today to undertake a methodical and far-reaching urban evangelization through catechesis, the liturgy and the very way in which her pastoral structures are organized.(58)
NEXT MONDAY: Installment eight - Chapter Two: The burden of external debt
I ask each of you to contemplate well the contrast of the splendor of God's Victory, His Power, Glory, and Might and the darkest vilest death of Judas who, at the instant of mortal death knew the fullness of Lucifer's deception and darkness of everlasting hate to which he willed himself to be chained.
Behold in your contemplation the single candle flame which Lazarus' sister brought into my room to vanish the shadows, to dispel my sorrows. She did not yet know that my Divine Son had risen, and His Glory was made known. Yet, prompted by the Holy Spirit, she brought to me, His Mother, the sign, the symbol for all future generations of the promise of God fulfilled. God allowed me, the Mother of His Son, to se how this light would spread throughout the ages, and my poor heart was overwhelmed by joy, for my heart was ever one with my Son''.
Yet the Holy Spirit brought also to me the knowledge of those in all ages who would scorn my Divine Son, scorn and reject Him, Who is the Way to Eternal Life, the Way to the Father.
As Lazarus' sister spoke of Judas' death by his own hand, once again my heart was broken. God allowed me to see how many, o, how many Judases there would be before the end of time.
At what price had my Divine Son ransomed all mankind. At what price did He willingly suffer, even for those who would reject Him and willingly choose the lies of satan.
Today, more than ever before, the evil one roams the world to develop in hearts the essence of Judas. Yes, even among many who wear the garb of one consecrated to God, there lies the heart of Judas. How my Immaculate Heart weeps tears of blood over all my children. But for all consecrated souls, my beloved priest-sons, and daughters that are vowed as brides of my Son, my tears cannot be stopped when I see the evil, which blots out the Truth from their souls.
If you would persevere and know the Truth in these end times so filled with apostasy, schism, heresy, and false peace, kneel with me before my Divine Son. He awaits you at every moment in the Tabernacle. It is your soul that beholds His Glory. It is your soul which propels you to rush to Him and cast yourself into His arms, crying, "My Lord and my God, I love You. Have mercy upon me, a sinner."
Listen then to the Holy Spirit Who constantly beckons you ever closer to the embrace of my Divine Son. Know I will help you. I will take you to Him. I will intercede for you.
Therefore, little children, allow me, your Mother, to assist you in these truly dark times. If you are faithful to the Holy Mother Church, know, and live your faith, you will come to the Tabernacle and there recognize your Golden Door.
Behold, I am the key to the door. I refuse no one who truly seeks to know my Son.
Pray with me and you will mount to perfection on eagle wings. God does not abandon His faithful ones.
Cardinal Fresno was born in Santiago, Chile on July 26, 1914 the fourth of five children. After minor seminary studies in the Archdiocesan seminary in Santiago and receiving his degree in Canon Law via major seminary studies at the Gregorian University in Rome, he became a priest at the age of 23 on December 18, 1937. His first assignment was as Spiritual Director and Vice Rector of the Santiago Archdiocesan minor seminary. On June 15, 1958 Pope Pius XII, in one of his final acts as Sovereign Pontiff, named him Bishop of Copiapo. After Pius' death, John XXIII recruited him to participate in Vatican II. During this time he became President of the Vocations Department for the Latin American Episcopal Conference as well as President of the Episcopal Committee for the Latin American Pius College in Rome. From Rome, John XXIII's successor Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of La Serena on July 28, 1967 where he remained until May 3, 1983 when Pope John Paul II named him to replace the retiring Cardinal Silva as Archbishop of Santiago.
Two years later the Holy Father included him among those receiving the coveted red-hat in the Consistory of May 25, 1985. He received the titular church of St. Mary Immaculate of Lourdes at a Boccea. On March 30, 1990, because of the mandatory retirement age of 75, retired as Archbishop of Santiago, being replaced by Archbishop Carlos Cavada Oviedo who himself was elevated to the cardinalate during the November 26, 1994 Consistory. Until Friday Chile's three cardinals had been Archbishop of Santiago and were still alive. Because of his age, Cardinal Fresno is ineligible to participate in the Sacred Conclave, leaving only Cardinal Oviedo as Chile's current representative.
Death of Saint Sabas the Goth,a convert who was martyred for his faith by drowning along with fifty other Christians at the hands of the Gothic general Atharidus.
The Fourth Crusade arrives in Constantinople and begins sacking the infidels.
King James I chooses the Cross of Saint George and the saltire of Saint Andrew as the symbol for the flag of England.