THE Holy Father has been greatly misunderstood not only by the secular press, but by some of the flock as well. cf. Benedict and the New World Order Some have written me suggesting that perhaps this pontiff is an “anti-pope” in kahootz with the Antichrist! cf. A Black Pope? How quickly some run from the Garden!
Pope Benedict XVI is not calling for a central all-powerful “global government”—something he and popes before him have outright condemned (ie. Socialism) For other quotes from popes on Socialism, cf. www.tfp.org and www.americaneedsfatima.org —but a global family that places the human person and their inviolable rights and dignity at the center of all human development in society. Let us be absolutely clear on this:
The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need. … In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) – a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est, n. 28, December 2005
Individual nations cannot function orderly without governance. So too, a global family of nations cannot function and interact healthily without a global body (such as a reformed United Nations) that upholds both the physical and spiritual dignity of man, thus fostering a more just world rather than the grotesque inequalities we see now.
In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together. Globalization certainly requires authority, insofar as it poses the problem of a global common good that needs to be pursued. This authority, however, must be organized in a subsidiary and stratified way, if it is not to infringe upon freedom... —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, n.57
But bureaucracy alone cannot achieve this.
The earthly city is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God’s love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world.
Another important consideration is the common good. To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, n. 6-7
As we glance across the horizon of human civilization, we see a world devoid of these principles. We see a torn landscape buckling under economic corruption, materialistic societies, weak and spineless politicians, greed, violence, and a rapidly growing gulf between the rich and poor. At the same time, there is a veritable…
…explosion of worldwide interdependence, commonly known as globalization. Paul VI had partially foreseen it, but the ferocious pace at which it has evolved could not have been anticipated. —ibid. n. 33
The concurrence of these trends have brought the entire world to a precarious precipice.
…without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family. —ibid. n. 33
The Pope’s most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) in response to this global crisis, is perhaps more than anything else a final call of repentance to the nations—an invitation into the Heart of Christ to create a “civilization of love”—or to follow its current path into the heart of a beast whereby…
…humanity runs new risks of enslavement and manipulation. —ibid n. 26
Some say the Pope is naive to promote a global body to support the phenomenon of globalization, that such a body will inevitably be evil given human nature. Was Jesus naive when he said, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” cf. Mk 12:17 or when St. Paul said, “Obey your leaders and be submissive to them”? cf. Heb 13:17 or “Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities…”? cf. Rom 13:1 Our duty as a Church is to present the Gospel ideal, not shrink away in fear from those who would abuse it. Alas, we are the naive one’s who underestimate the power of the Gospel!
But all this said, I believe the main point has been mostly missed. And that is that Pope Benedict is speaking prophetically to the Church and the world in much the same way the prophet Jonah visited Nineveh to issue a last warning that its current path would lead to destruction. But is anyone listening?
WILL WE LISTEN?
In the Gospel, we hear Christ cry out:
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused! So be it! Your house will be left to you. (Luke 13:34)
Our house will be left to us, that is, we will reap what we sow if we refuse to be gathered under Christ’s wing to let Him pacify and unite the nations, not into a global conformity, but a global family. You see, the Antichrist is nothing less than the culmination, the incarnation of our collective rejection of God into the singular person of the “lawless one”, thus reaping his terrible reign which is the complete fruition of a “culture of death.” This is implied in the teachings of Vatican II:
We must all undergo a change of heart. We must look out on the whole world and see the tasks that we can all do together to promote the well-being of the family of man. We must not be misled by a false sense of hope. Unless antagonism and hatred are abandoned, unless binding and honest agreements are concluded, safeguarding universal peace in the future, mankind, already in grave peril, may well face in spite of its marvelous advance in knowledge that day of disaster when it knows no other peace than the awful peace of death. —Gaudium et spes, nn. 82-83; Liturgy of the Hours, Volume IV, Pg. 475-476.
If one reads Benedict XVI’s encyclical to the end (something it seems few commentators have bothered to do), we hear the Holy Father—after a comprehensive Christian vision of human development is laid out—placing hope completely, not in a “reformed United Nations,” but in the hands of God through the intercession of the Church:
Development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer, Christians moved by the knowledge that truth-filled love, caritas in veritate, from which authentic development proceeds, is not produced by us, but given to us. For this reason, even in the most difficult and complex times, besides recognizing what is happening, we must above all else turn to God’s love. Development requires attention to the spiritual life, a serious consideration of the experiences of trust in God, spiritual fellowship in Christ, reliance upon God’s providence and mercy, love and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace. All this is essential if “hearts of stone” are to be transformed into “hearts of flesh” (Ezek 36:26), rendering life on earth “divine” and thus more worthy of humanity. —ibid. n. 79
Nothing naive there. While the secular media is in a frenzy (again) over the misunderstood meaning of this Encyclical and other related statements, few have grasped its spiritual significance. It is God’s appeal to the human family to become a family, for He has heard “the cry of the poor” that thus far is falling upon “hearts of stone.” cf. Does He Hear the Cry of the Poor? How long can God watch their tears overflow from the cup of His merciful justice? cf. Fullness of Sin
ON THE PRECIPICE… THE WORDS OF A PAPAL PROPHET
The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Letter… to All the Bishops of the World, March 10, 2009; Catholic Online
Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk… In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010
If technical progress is not matched by corresponding progress in man’s ethical formation, in man’s inner growth (cf. Eph 3:16; 2 Cor 4:16), then it is not progress at all, but a threat for man and for the world. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Spe Salvi, n. 22
Science can contribute greatly to making the world and mankind more human. Yet it can also destroy mankind and the world unless it is steered by forces that lie outside it. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Spe Salvi, n. 25
…the tyranny of mammon […] perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart – and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010
Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), n. 28b
We cannot hide the fact that many threatening clouds are gathering on the horizon. We must not, however, lose heart, rather we must keep the flame of hope alive in our hearts… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Catholic News Agency,
January 15th, 2009
Be prepared to put your life on the line in order to enlighten the world with the truth of Christ; to respond with love to hatred and disregard for life; to proclaim the hope of the risen Christ in every corner of the earth. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Message to the Young People of the World, World Youth Day, 2008
The Church will be reduced in its dimensions, it will be necessary to start again. However, from this test a Church would emerge that will have been strengthened by the process of simplification it experienced, by its renewed capacity to look within itself… the Church will be numerically reduced. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), God and the World, 2001; interview with Peter Seewald
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