DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     May 11, 1998     vol. 9, no. 91

THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
    INTRODUCTION
          In these trying times, when Modernists claim the Pope is out of touch with the 20th century, the Holy Father answers his critics with a logical explanation that Christ's Church has not changed and when one rejects His Church they are also rejecting Mary's Divine Son. For as Christ was human and divine, so also are the dimensions of the Church. This is the essence of a discourse His Holiness gave in Italian in Rome on July 24, 1991 which is even more relevant today. We are grateful to Father Ken Tietjen, O.S.C.O. of New Melleray Abbey for providing the Pontiff's discourse in answer to the critics who, more than ever, reject his teachings and ultimately Christ's teachings - the Word (Parola) of God. Below is the second part of this discourse by Pope John Paul II.

SAY "YES" TO THE CHURCH...
AND YOU SAY "YES" TO JESUS

Part Two

          By reflecting on the life and death of Simon Peter, it is easier to move from the opposition "Christ - yes, the Church - no" to the conviction "Christ -yes and the Church -yes, as a continuation of our yes to Christ.

          The logic of the mystery of the Incarnation - synthesized in that yes to Christ -entails acceptance of everything that is human in Christ, in virtue of the fact that the Son of God assumed human nature in solidarity with the nature tainted by the sin of Adam's race. Although he was absolutely without sin, Christ took on himself all of humanity's sin: Agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi. The Father "made him to be sin", the Apostle Paul writes in the Second Letter to the Corinthians (5:21). Therefore, the sinfulness of Christians (about whom it is said, and sometimes not without reason, that "they are no better than others"), the sinfulness of ecclesiastics themselves should not elicit a pharisacial attitude of separation and rejection, but should rather compel us to a more generous and trusting acceptance of the Church to a more convinced and meritorious yes in her regard, because we know that precisely in the Church and by means of the Church this sinfulness becomes an object of the divine power of redemption, under the action of that love which makes possible and accomplishes the individual's conversion, the sinner's justification, a change of life and progress in doing good, sometimes even to the point of heroism, .e., to holiness. Can we deny that the Church's history is full of converted and repentant sinners who, having returned to Christ, followed Him faithfully to the end?

          One thing is certain - the life which Jesus Christ, and the Church with Him, proposed to man is full of moral demands which bind him to what is good, even to the heights of heroism. It is necessary to observe whether, when one says "no to the Church", in reality one is not seeking to escape these demands. Here, more than in any other case, the "no to the Church" would be the equivalent of a "no to Christ". Unfortunately, experience shows that this is often the case.

          On the other hand, one cannot fail to observe that if the Church - in spite of all the human weaknesses and sins of her members - in her entirety remains faithful to Christ and brings to Christ her many children who have failed in their baptismal commitments, this occurs because of the "power from on high""(Luke 24:29), the Holy Spirit, Who gives her life and guides her on her perilous journey through history.

          We must also say, however, that the "no to the Church" is sometimes based not on the human defects of the Church's members, but on a general principle of rejecting mediation. There are indeed people who, although admitting the existence of God, wish to maintain an exclusively personal contact with Him, without allowing any mediation between their own conscience and God, and therefore, they reject the Church above all.

    Next installment: part three.


May 11, 1998       volume 9, no. 91
THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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