Jeudi le 7 février 2008
La prière véritable est « le moteur du monde » parce qu'elle le maintient « ouvert à Dieu » et, « sans prière, il n'y a pas d'espérance, il n'y a que des illusions », a fait remarquer le pape. « Ce n'est pas en effet la présence de Dieu qui aliène l'homme, mais son absence. Sans le vrai Dieu, Père de Jésus Christ, le Seigneur, les espérances deviennent des illusions, qui conduisent à la fuite de la réalité. Parler avec Dieu, rester en sa présence, se laisser éclairer et purifier par sa Parole, nous introduit au contraire au cœur de la réalité, dans l'intimité du Moteur du devenir cosmique, nous introduit pour ainsi dire dans le cœur battant de l'univers ». Et lorsqu'il prie, faisait encore observer le pape, l'homme place ses attentes et ses aspirations devant la Parole de Dieu, les plonge dans le dialogue avec Celui qui est la Vérité et le libère des mensonges et des égoïsmes. La prière « est la garantie d'ouverture aux autres ». « Sans la dimension de la prière, le moi humain finit par s'enfermer sur lui-même, et la conscience, qui devrait être l'écho de la voix de Dieu risque de se réduire au miroir du moi, si bien que le colloque intérieur devient un monologue soumis à mille autojustifications ». Commentant l'Evangile, le pape ajoutait : « même dans la solitude de l'épreuve la plus dure, rien ni personne ne peut m'empêcher de m'adresser au Père, ‘dans le secret' de mon cœur, là où lui ‘voit' ». Benoît XVI citait à l'appui les 40 jours du Christ au désert, au début de sa mission et son « angoisse mortelle » à Gethsémani, à la veille de sa Passion : ces épisodes montrent que la prière est l'arme qui permet d'affronter victorieusement le combat contre l'esprit du mal ». Et sur la Croix, la prière du Christ atteint un sommet, soulignait le pape : « Jésus fait sien le cri de l'humanité qui souffre de l'apparente absence de Dieu et porte ce cri jusqu'au cœur de Dieu. Ainsi, en priant dans cette solitude ultime, avec toute l'humanité, il nous ouvre le cœur de Dieu ».
4:51:20 PM
....accepting public money to perform a government-desired service does not make a private agency part of the government. Nor does it transform the government into a catechism class. But insofar as any “debt” exists in a government and religious agency relationship, it’s the government that owes the service provider, not the other way around. Obviously, if the government wants to carry the social burden it currently asks religious-affiliated groups to carry, that’s the government’s business—and so are the costs and problems that go along with it. But if religious groups do help bear the burden, often at a financial loss to themselves, then they can reasonably insist on the right to protect their own mission. The privilege of helping the government is pretty thin soup if the cost involves compromising one’s religious identity. The second and more dangerous problem with bills like HB 1080 is that they aggressively advance a secularist interpretation of the “separation of Church and state.” Whether they do it consciously or not, groups like the Anti-Defamation League seem to argue from the presumption that any public money passing through religious agency hands is somehow rendered “baptized” and therefore unable to serve the common good. Aside from being enormously offensive to religious believers, this view is also alien to American history, which is filled with examples of government and private religious cooperation to achieve common public goals. It’s certainly reasonable for government to require that religious service agencies refrain from using public funds to proselytize. But Catholic Charities doesn’t do that anyway; that’s not its purpose. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the six hundred jobs at Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver are already open to anyone of goodwill and competence, regardless of religious background. The relatively few positions that do require a faithful, practicing Catholic are exactly the ones that help guarantee Charities’ “Catholic” identity and its grounding in the social ministry of the Church. It’s unreasonable—in fact, it shows a peculiar hostility toward religion—to claim that religious organizations will compromise the public good if they remain true to their religious identity while serving the poor with public funds. That’s just a new form of prejudice, using the “separation of Church and state” as an alibi. Bills like HB 1080 are now occurring all over the country. The lesson here for American Catholics is this: For more than forty years, we’ve worked to integrate, accommodate, and assimilate to American society in the belief that a truly diverse public square would have room for authentically Catholic life and faith. We need to revisit that assumption. It turns out that nobody gets anything for free. If we want to influence, or even have room to breathe in the American environment of coming generations, we’ll need to work for it and fight for it—always in a spirit of justice and charity, but also vigorously and without apology. Anyone who still has an easy confidence about the Catholic “place” in American life had better wake up.
4:28:24 PM
...these are both very deeply devout Catholic young people and yet their temperaments and their cultures are radically different
3:52:04 PM
Cigarette Silence - When will the Church comment on the evils of Big Tobacco? ...Clearly there would be an impact if the Church decided to take a stand on the insidious practices of an industry whose business plan is to make it easier to turn their consumers into addicts. ...The soon-to-be-launched “Marlboro Intense” will allow smokers to cope with indoor smoking bans by taking quick, deep puffs of a shorter but more potent cigarette during a quick outdoor break. It’s an insidiously brilliant idea—and one that has global human implications to which the Catholic Church must pay attention. Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International will become two separate companies, parent company, Altria, announced this week. By doing this, Philip Morris International will be outside of the reach of most all regulatory efforts and threats of legal liability. Even after this split from the US market, PMI will be the third most profitable consumer goods concern in the world—and will have worldwide autonomy to create products that kill. ... As a public health professional, I do not consider 485,000 premature deaths annually in the United States to be “trivial.” And I am outraged to see the ongoing marketing of cigarettes here in our country. But this week’s move by Philip Morris to go on a worldwide campaign to sell these new “sexy” types of cigarettes—to newly addict hundreds of millions more people in Africa, China, Korea, Russia and beyond—is nothing short of appalling.
10:57:06 AM