In the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, there is a sound observation about a comment made by Pope Benedict as he formally received the credentials of the new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Holy See.
Pope Benedict XVI has urged the British Government to root its policies in objective values, saying this is “especially important in the light of events in England this summer”. [Rioting.]
In a speech welcoming Nigel Baker, Britain’s new ambassador to the Holy See, Benedict XVI said: “When policies do not presume or promote objective values, the resulting moral relativism, instead of leading to a society that is free, fair, just and compassionate, tends instead to produce frustration, despair, selfishness and a disregard for the life and liberty of others. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]
“Policy makers are therefore right to look urgently for ways to uphold excellence in education, to promote social opportunity and economic mobility, to examine ways to favour long-term employment and to spread wealth much more fairly and broadly throughout society,” the Pope said.
“Moreover, the active fostering of the essential values of a healthy society, through the defence of life and of the family, the sound moral education of the young, and a fraternal regard for the poor and the weak, will surely help to rebuild a positive sense of one’s duty, in charity, towards friends and strangers alike in the local community.”
The full text of his address can be read here.
The fruits of the dictatorship of relativism are despair and violence and loss of freedom, property and life.
I think that Pope Benedict has what I call his “Marshall Plan” for the Church, especially the Church in Europe. His concept of the New Evangelization, reintroducing the Faith into areas which were Christian but are losing Christian identity, is an aspect of this.
The West is losing its soul because Christianity – Catholicism in particular – is not being lived by the mature or passed on to the young in a clear form. After WWII the US helped to rebuild Europe through the Marshall Plan to create good trading partners and to serve as a bulwark against Communism. In Pope Benedict’s “Marshall Plan” he hopes that we can build up Catholic identity after the ecclesial devastation resulting for various reasons since the Second Vatican Council. We need a stronger Catholic identity for the sake of souls and to help create a bulwark against secularism and the soul annihilating dictatorship of relativism.
Thus endeth the rant.
On that note, however, I would remind the readers here of an fine book by Fr. Aidan Nichols called The Realm: An Unfashionable Essay on the Conversion of England. If you are in the UK order it HERE. If you are a Catholic in Dear Ol’ Blighty, and you haven’t read this… well then… just… tisk tisk. In the US order it HERE (used or import).
Nichols argues that, since Catholic Christianity was at the heart of the development of England, the Catholic Church is essential for a positive transformation of England.
Nichols’ plan for renewal includes:
- Firmer doctrine in our teaching and preaching [Go back before Vatican II.]
- Re-enchant the liturgy [The tip of the spear. This should be No. 1, but it is linked to preaching and catechesis.]
- Recover the insights of metaphysics [Be smart again.]
- Renew Christian political thought [Be active in the public square.]
- Revive family life [Stop denying human nature, God's image, and natural law.]
- Resacralise art and architecture [Use God's "grandchild" well.]
- Put a new emphasis on monastic life [Support in prayer for the active.]
- Strengthen pro-life rhetoric [See above.]
- Recover a Catholic reading of the Bible [Benedict has lots to say on that.]
I say that the key to any New Evangelization anywhere is a renewal of our liturgical worship under a hermeneutic of continuity with our tradition. No renewal effort in any sphere of the Church’s life can be successful without a renewal of our liturgical worship. It is the sine qua non, but they are all interconnected.