To all our parishioners and dear friends of our parish community…Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!
For more than 100 years, Catholic social teaching has tried to help people face the world’s social, political, and economic challenges with the power and simplicity of the Gospel.
Recently, only July 7th, 2009, as the media focused on the funeral memorial and burial of the pop-rock legend, Michael Jackson in Los Angeles, CA (may God be merciful to him), our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI released his first formal contribution to the list of papal encyclical letters on social themes, titled CARITAS IN VERITATE, Latin for “Truth In Love” (a quotation from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians).
We will certainly see what type of counsel the Pope offers to mankind at the moment of this global economic crisis. Will anyone heed him? Perhaps not. But if the Pope is not heeded, the trends now in place seem likely to lead to ever-greater social and economic disorder, to greater unemployment and poverty, with terrible consequences for the weaker among us, especially children and the elderly. But where are we in the economic crisis? How did we get here? Where are we going? The story, of course, is a complicated one with very few answers.
Now, in his new encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI is pointing his finger at the “root cause” of this financial mess: human greed, human willingness to trick and deceive for the sake of profit. Only the Pope, among all the leaders of the world, has the counter-cultural courage to denounce what is occurring,, to say it is a crime against the dignity of man, and that there is another way, a more difficult way, but a way that if taken, could lead to a more just, free, dignified, prosperous, and cleaner world, not as filled with bright lights and tinsel, but a world of simplicity and truth, with families and feasts, hope for the future and freedom in the present. This is what the Catholic church leadership is doing.
What is the government doing? Instead of recognizing our modern peril, they are temporizing. As the tidal wave approaches, they are distributing umbrellas. Nobody is building life rafts. No one is preparing redoubts on a higher ground. Unless we act now, we will find ourselves further from Eden than ever. There is hope. There is still time before the lights go out for good.
The last decade was a time we should have taken a more prudent, humane course away from personal greed and prosperity. Now we face the abyss. But we can still seek to throw a bridge across the chasm if we wish to. We should listen to the Pope and turn away from the love affair we have with pleasure and death, and choose life.
I invite you to read the Pope’s encyclical these summer days. The writings of Pope Benedict XVI will be studied for years to come. Then those who come after us will look back on us and this age, and bless us, not curse us. Which way will we choose? Let us go the way of the Gospel. Let us stand united with the Church.
Blessings upon your Summer Days!
Anima Christi (Soul of Christ) a beautiful prayer, often said after receiving Communion, dates from the early 14th century