Pope Benedict xvi's discourse at the exchange of greetings with the Roman Curia was a long reflection on the Christian faith that is, on the presence of the Spirit of God and the responsibility of the Church. This traditional meeting with his closest collaborators gave the Pope occasion to reflect on the year that has drawn to a close.
Nonetheless, the Bishop of Rome's words were not merely circumstantial. Rather, they were a truly thoughtful contribution concerning what should be taken into account if one really wishes to understand the intentions of Benedict xvi and the Church, even if to criticize them.
Indeed, this does not always happen. On the contrary, people often have no desire for understanding and prefer to take every opportunity for quarrels which are as bitter as they are prejudicial and, above all, for which there are no real grounds.
But what does the Church want? Simply what she has always sought: the meaning of tradition and its continuity, from the presence of the Apostle Paul to the teachings of the more recent Popes. In other words, the Church seeks, in spite of its human imperfections, to make the grace of God "ever more visible".
For this reason the Bishop of Rome speaks and travels, for this reason the Holy See and the Church intervene in different ways as a "spiritual force" that points out the way, without wishing to impose but rather seeking to propose and reason. And it is curious that an institution generally labelled as an obscurantist and merciless power machine should so frequently be accused of being dogmatic at the very moment when it is encouraging discussion as happens on matters concerning the origins and the end of life, from genetic manipulation to the definition of death.
In his meeting with the Curia, Benedict xvi recalled his journeys, the World Youth Day and the Synod on the Word of God: these different events were linked by the fact that still today the Church experiences the presence of the Spirit, as on that Pentecost almost 20 centuries ago. God speaks and is present today too, and the Church wants to listen to him and to invite every human being to listen to him, or at least take him into consideration.
Yet faith founded on the Incarnation of the Son of God needs to see and touch. This is the true meaning of the World Youth Day in Sydney. It was not a rock festival around a star Pope as even some "Catholic voices" are saying, but rather a celebration preceded by lengthy preparation and destined to continue. At its core, World Youth Day is an event in which the question of God and the presence of the Creator Spirit are taken seriously.
And opening oneself to God or at least to the possibility of God, a possibility that is not irrational has consequences: on one's attitude toward creation and to matter "structured intelligently" and the need for "an ecology of the human being".
This does not derive from "antiquated metaphysics", Benedict xvi said clearly. The Pope explained once again that it comes instead from listening to the "language of Creation". It implies rejection of the "gender" ideology which denies the human being's existence as man and woman, and thus also denies sexuality.
Yes, God's Spirit has entered history and offers us his joy. It is up to every human being to pay attention to him.
St. Peter’s Square
Sept. 17, 2019
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