“What is real?” he mused in the speech, hours before heading back to Rome after five days in Brazil, the world’s most populous Catholic country. “Are only material goods, social and economic and political problems ‘reality’?” Without agreeing first on God, he argued to the bishops, society is unable to tackle the problems of poverty and social injustice.
“Just structures are,” he said, “an indispensable condition for a just society, but they neither rise nor function without a moral consensus in society on fundamental values.”
“Where God is absent — God with the human face of Jesus Christ — these values fail to show themselves with their full force: nor does a consensus arise concerning them,” he said.
To see the Times article click here.
He also raged with equal fire against Marxism and capitalism. By focusing solely on material concerns, he said, they “falsify the notion of reality by detaching it from the foundational and decisive reality which is God.”
“Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves,” he said. “And this ideological promise has proven false.”
Marxism, he said, left “a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction.” Capitalism, he said, has failed to bridge the “distance between rich and poor” and is “giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness.”
Without specifically mentioning liberation theology by name, Benedict, in his speech to the bishops, criticized Catholics who argue that the church’s supreme moral duty is to denounce and resist social injustice. As the Vatican’s senior official on matters of doctrine and faith, he led efforts in the 1980s to stamp out the movement, then quite influential in Latin America, and on Sunday he again warned the clergy not to permit such concerns to eclipse their spiritual duties.
“This political task is not the immediate competence of the church,” he said. “Respect for a healthy secularity — including the pluralism of political opinions — is essential in the authentic Christian tradition.
“If the church were to start transforming herself into a directly political subject, she would do less, not more, for the poor and for justice.”
Link to Zenit for the full address.
Everyone, on all sides, even in the pews, shout and demand action and justice, yet few seem to heed THE Good News, as in the Gospel reading today: John 15:9-17
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.