Faith & Reason: February 2012 Archives

It was brought to my attention that we need to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. We need help. So ask for it. Let's look at what the Church said at the Second Vatican Council about our own times in Gaudium et Spes:

To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. Thus, in language intelligible to each generation, she can respond to the perennial questions which men ask about this present life and the life to come, and about the relationship of the one to the other. We must therefore recognize and understand the world in which we live, its explanations, its longings, and its often dramatic characteristics. Some of the main features of the modern world can be sketched as follows.

Today, the human race is involved in a new stage of history. Profound and rapid changes are spreading by degrees around the whole world. Triggered by the intelligence and creative energies of man, these changes recoil upon him, upon his decisions and desires, both individual and collective, and upon his manner of thinking and acting with respect to things and to people. Hence we can already speak of a true cultural and social transformation, one which has repercussions on man's religious life as well.

Bishops of the Orthodox Churches --those of the various jurisdictions in the USA-- have called upon the Orthodox faithful to protest the Obama Administration's ruling which affects matters of conscience. Since this is NOT a Catholic issue --one needs to say it's a matter for all people, regardless of profession of faith. Exercising one's right to speak out against injustice, here it's a matter of injustice done by the government, Christians need to unite their hearts, minds, and voices and work for substantial change.

One doesn't hear of the Orthodox Church on Pro-Life matters too often but you do see a greater presence of the Orthodox Church at events like the Pro-Life March in Washington, DC. In recent years their bishops, priests, seminarians (from St Vladimir's) and laity have begun to show up to the March. They gather at the Orthodox Cathedral and walk with the others.

Here, we all need the Orthodox witness. Thanks goes to Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Savas (Pittsburgh) for his good work on the project.

Assembly of bishops.jpgThe Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church's conscience.

Wm levada.jpg

Today, in Rome, there is a Gregorian University sponsored Symposium entitled "Towards Healing and Renewal." It is a four day gathering of professionals and clergy-types who have responsibility for working with victims and family members of sexual abuse. While not personally in attendance, Pope Benedict XVI was present through his personal message sent to participants and with the presence of several cardinals and bishops, Including William Cardinal Levada, 76, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Levada's address, "The Sexual Abuse of Minors: A Multi-faceted Response to the Challenge," follows.

The Pope's message iterates in this context, as he has done in the past, his hope and life's work that "healing for abuse victims must be of paramount concern in the Christian community," with "a profound renewal of the Church at every level." Further, he "supports and encourages every effort to respond with evangelical charity to the challenge of providing children and vulnerable adults with an ecclesial environment conducive to their human and spiritual growth" and he urges the participants in the Symposium "to continue drawing on a wide range of expertise in order to promote throughout the Church a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support."

The Sexual Abuse of Minors: A Multi-faceted Response to the Challenge Toward Healing and Renewal" is the title given to this Symposium for Catholic Bishops and Religious Superiors on the Sexual Abuse of Minors. For leaders in the Church for whom this Symposium has been planned, the question is both delicate and urgent. Just two years ago, in his reflections on the "Year for Priests" at the annual Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI spoke in direct and lengthy terms about priests who "twist the sacrament [of Holy Orders] into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime." I chose this phrase to begin my remarks this evening because I think it important not to lose sight of the gravity of these crimes as we deal with the multiple aspects the Church's response.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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This page is a archive of entries in the Faith & Reason category from February 2012.

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