For Kirken kan ikke sosialt engasjement komme først

Bildet er fra saligkåringsmessen i Sao Paolo

John Allen analyserer pave Benedikts tale til Brasils biskoper, og sier at etter pavens åpningsord om takknemlighet overfor biskopene for deres gode arbeid, og takk for en varm mottakelse i Brasil, var likevel pavens budskap «a call to order». Han begynte foredraget med å snakke om lydighet til Kristus, og det satte tonen for det han deretter sa. Slik skriver Allen:

Brazilian Catholicism is famous for its social commitment, but Benedict pointedly reminded the bishops that the ultimate purpose of the church must remain “the salvation of individual souls.» He urged them to «strict vigilance,» warning that «the integrity of the faith, together with ecclesiastical discipline, is and always will be a theme that requires the attention and commitment of all of you.»

Benedict weaved philosophical, programmatic and disciplinary messages into his roughly 4,000 word text, delivered in Portuguese in São Paulo’s Catedral da Sé.

At a philosophical level, Benedict made an argument that runs like a leitmotif through his pontificate, and which formed an important element of his recent book, Jesus of Nazareth: Without the full truth about God and human life revealed in Jesus Christ, no program of social action can succeed. …

… At the disciplinary level, Benedict urged the bishops to “a strict vigilance” across a variety of fronts:

• Defending life against “offenses justified in the name of individual liberty”;
• Opposing divorce and “free unions”;
• Defending priestly celibacy (the pope mentioned this point twice);
• Offering deep evangelization and catechesis to Catholics, to protect them from the “aggressive proselytism of the sects”;
• Ensuring that individual confession, rather than communal rites, remains the normal form of the sacrament;
• Restoring a sense of the sacred to liturgies, and ensuring that liturgical rules are observed;
• Ensuring that the faith is transmitted “without reductive visions and confusion about the mission” of the church;
• Avoiding “the risk of deviations in the area of sexuality” among candidates for the priesthood and religious life.

Benedict concluded by saying that these were the most important themes that “clamor for my attention as pastor of the universal church.”

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