Thursday, May 22, 2008

Italian Newspaper- Pope Benedict Is Saving Us From Post-Conciliar Babel

The Holy Father has a purpose by giving this brief histories of the Church Fathers at his Wednesday audience. It is just not give a interesting history lesson. The Italian Magazine TEMPI has commented on the one the Holy Father did last week. The text of that audience can be located here.

Thank to the Ratzinger Forum for the translation which is below

Here's a second, more general reaction to the Holy Father's catechesis on the Pseudo Dionysius, by the theologian, sometime politician, and always provocative octogenarian Baget Bozzo.

By bringing back the Church in line with Tradition, Benedict brings order to the post-Conciliar Babel by Gianni Baget Bozzo
Politics is full of 'facts', often too much and mostly uncertain. The new Partito Democratico has plunged into deep crisis; Silvio Berlusconi, back in power, has offered the PD's Walter Veltroni only sweetness and light so far; and the far left lives in horror that their Pied Piper of radicalism, Fausto Bertinotti, has effectively been silenced. To comment on these developments in Italian politics is certainly tempting, but there will be time: after all, the story of the end of the left as an alternative for Italian government is long - and has lasted for decades.

I prefer instead to occupy myself with a reality that gives me great joy: Pope Benedict XVI's discourses on the Fathers of the Church. That is, on Tradition (with a capital T), that long chain of truth and authority that makes of Peter's Church the mystical Body of Christ, from which we receive Scripture as well as Tradition.

Wheover, like me, who lived the years after Vatican-II as the Church's worst attempt at self-destruction, now takes part with great joy, as we see once again, in this Pope's words and actions, the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church - living tradition as well as mystical sacrament.

Make no mistake! Still pervasive, especially among progressivist theologians and liturgists, is the Protestant influence according to which only Scripture is the source of Revelation, and that Tradition is very much subordinate.

But Papa Ratzinger is here now, and he gives voice as Pope to that long line of holy men who have evolved the language of the Church, expressing our beliefs as well as our capacity to approach God's Mystery with words. If the Magisterium were to be only Scripture, then it would mean that Christians can have access to the divine only through the words of others long gone, those who experienced the divine and expressed that experience in the Scriptures. As though the experience that made possible the Church had ended with its founding, that the Holy Spirit no longer works in men and remains enclosed in the pages of a book and perhaps in the words of preachers constrained by the injunction 'sola Scriptura'.

But the Catholic Church announces that Pentecost is a continuing event, that the Holy Spirit continues to speak to Christians and allows them in their own way to experience the faith that animated the Church from its beginnings. That is why the life of the Church has the breath of the eternal, in the certainty that words spoken centuries ago are timeless and beyond time: and that every Christian in his own time can truly participate in the experience that the apostles lived. And so, the Mystery of divine life, which was conveyed on that first Pentecost to those who had witnessed the passion and the Resurrection of Christ, lives on in every believer.

Whoever, like me, lived the Babel-like years after Vatican-II of discordant polyphony in which every theologian was a judge and every exegete a Biblical authority, now feels intensely how this Pontiff sees the Church as the Mother-Teacher who gives every Christian the possibility of living the divine Mystery that it announces. We have a great historical event happening under our eyes: the Church, one in time and space, within which the Pope of Rome shows with authority that it is indeed the Mystical Body of Christ.

It was a special joy to hear the papal commentary on Dionysius the Areopagite, who showed the ineffability of the divine mystery which is above and beyond reason, but which can be reached by the experience of faith fully lived in the concreteness of day-to-day human life. This, to me, is true history, and only one who has suffered through how much was lacking all these years can appreciate what is happening as nothing less than divine intervention. Many Christians had been awaiting this with little confidence but with great hope: A truth that is not confusing, and infused into us by the Holy Spirit in that charity that makes us all one.

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