Thursday, August 25, 2005

Magister: WYD and Constantinople

Sandro Magister takes a look at World Youth Day and upcoming events, namely the trip to Constantinople.

On World Youth Day, Magister notes,

And he kept this promise, too. From August 18-21 in Cologne, Benedict XVI did not bestow upon the crowd a mere theatrical gesture, or nothing more than a striking phrase. He led the young people to look, not at him, but always and only at the true protagonist: that Jesus whom the Magi adored in Bethlehem, the “House of Bread,” and who is now concealed in the consecrated host.

Joseph Razinger took a big risk in Cologne. Cardinal Angleo Scola, one of the many bishops who came to catechize the young people during the first three days of the vigil with the pope, thought he would win them over with a ten-minute recitation from “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac. Benedict XVI, on the other hand, challenged everyone’s attention span with a difficult explanation of “the different nuances of the word ‘adoration’ in Greek and in Latin. The Greek word is ‘proskynesis’. It refers to the gesture of submission, the recognition of God as our true measure. [...] The Latin word is ‘ad-oratio’, mouth to mouth contact, a kiss, an embrace, and hence ultimately love. Submission becomes union, because he to whom we submit is love.”

The now-famous tangent into linguistics will certainly be a hallmark of Ratzinger's papacy along with everything else. Aside from his message to the youth of the world, Magister examines the message to the Jews and the Muslims.

On the Jews, as Magister notes, there was no reference to Israel, simply the two faiths. It is an important distinction that all too often gets lost amid calls of anti-Semitism when anyone criticizes Israel. On the Muslims, Magister quotes an Algerian Muslim university teacher:

Khaled Fouad Allam, an Algerian Muslim with Italian citizenship who teaches at the universities of Trieste and Urbino, wrote in the newspaper of the Italian bishops' conference, "Avvenire":

"Benedict XVI's words are a big, healthy jolt for us. At a moment in which the wicked teachers seem to be raging within our communities, his words are an encouragement to bring forth true educators, who exist and are active, but who are not able to make their voices heard as they really need to be. The pope is right when he says that there can be no room for apathy and neglect. We need the courage to denounce and isolate those who use inflammatory speech and incite violence by using the name of God."

In his look at the visit to Constantinople, Magister notes the warm relations between the top theologian of the Patriarchate and the former top theologian of the Roman Church. They have been working to reinvigorate the commission on Catholic/Orthodox dialogue. Magister also mentions the Protestants and Benedict's concern:

What deeply concerns Ratzinger is the silence – or surrender – shown recently by many Christian authorities, especially Protestant ones, over attacks in various countries against the inviolability of each human being's life, from conception to natural death.

As I've noted here before, the best chance for reconciliation is between Rome and the Orthodox. When it comes to so many of the Protestant churches, the chance is simply not there, as so many of them are too far gone. Instead perhaps, we should look to them rather as crucibles of faith, where men and women can find their way eventually to the Catholic Church and the fullness of God's truth.

Anything else would either be a compromise of that truth or simply something too cosmetic to have any real meaning.

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