Friday, March 30, 2012

Benedict XVI in Mexico and Cuba

I’d like to relate these two passages, the first from the homily Pope Benedict gave in Mexico, the second from the one in Cuba:

Dear brothers and sisters, by coming here I have been able to visit the monument to Christ the King situated on top of the Cubilete. My venerable predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II, although he ardently desired to do so, was unable on his several journeys to this beloved land to visit this site of such significance for the faith of the Mexican people. I am sure that in heaven he is happy that the Lord has granted me the grace to be here with you and that he has blessed the millions of Mexicans who have venerated his relics in every corner of the country. This monument represents Christ the King. But his crowns, one of a sovereign, the other of thorns, indicate that his royal status does not correspond to how it has been or is understood by many. His kingdom does not stand on the power of his armies subduing others through force or violence. It rests on a higher power than wins over hearts: the love of God that he brought into the world with his sacrifice and the truth to which he bore witness. This is his sovereignty which no one can take from him and which no one should forget. Hence it is right that this shrine should be above all a place of pilgrimage, of fervent prayer, of conversion, of reconciliation, of the search for truth and the acceptance of grace. We ask Christ, to reign in our hearts, making them pure, docile, filled with hope and courageous in humility.

Furthermore, the truth which stands above humanity is an unavoidable condition for attaining freedom, since in it we discover the foundation of an ethics on which all can converge and which contains clear and precise indications concerning life and death, duties and rights, marriage, family and society, in short, regarding the inviolable dignity of the human person. This ethical patrimony can bring together different cultures, peoples and religions, authorities and citizens, citizens among themselves, and believers in Christ and non-believers.

Is it clear enough why I relate them? If not, perhaps a look at our last posts should do.


Friday, March 16, 2012

The latest from the editors of America

The editors of America magazine have revised and extended their remarks in consideration of the HHS mandate. In an editorial dated March 12th (appearing in their Newsletter dated March 26th), America's editors write:

Government’s Task

In our March 5 editorial “Policy, Not Liberty,” we commented on the objections of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to President Obama’s accommodation on the health insurance mandate. We identified, by way of example, “the needs of self-insured institutions” as an obvious problem needing correction. In the weeks since that editorial appeared, the bishops have raised anew serious issues that need attention. A key issue, which we regret we failed to identify in that editorial, is the narrowness of the underlying Department of Health and Human Services regulation maintaining a limited definition of religious institutions, a formula to which the bishops, as well as America in an earlier editorial (“Taking Liberties,” 2/13), objected.
This is not an issue for the United States alone. Archbishop [Silvano] Tomasi, representing the Holy See, observed when speaking to the U.N. Human Rights Council on March 1 on the issue of religious liberty worldwide: “The task of government is not to define religion...but to confer upon faith communities a juridical personality so they can function peacefully within a legal framework.” The church cannot function peacefully in the United States under the current regulatory framework. The existing regulation demands reworking.
There are conflicting reports about how seriously the two sides are engaged with one another at this time. We hope that in the weeks ahead, as the bishops and the administration attempt to resolve their differences over the H.H.S. mandate, the legal definition of religious institutions will take a top priority. We trust that, with good faith efforts, this potentially explosive issue will be defused, and we support the bishops in that effort. — March 12, 2012

I renew my gratitude to the editors for their leadership by example of civility in their engagement of the national discourse; I add praise for their earnest and forthrightness; I promise my continued prayerful best wishes for their work.