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The Pope’s “Together in Christ” two day visit of Croatia was significant for several reasons. For him, and I think for all of us who were either physically in Zagreb or tuned via the media, time spent with the Croatians was monumental because it clearly exhibited the “dynamism of communion.” (What visit of a pope is insignificant, the wag asks?) In his own words, the Benedict reviews the events he and the world lived with him in this way:
It was very important for me to confirm in the faith especially these families that the Second Vatican Council called “domestic churches” (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11).
In today’s Europe [and one can extend this to the globe], nations with a strong Christian tradition have a special responsibility to defend and promote the value of the family founded on marriage, which remains decisive both within the field of education as well as in the social sphere.”
Father Edward T. Oakes, SJ, is a professor of systematic theologian teaching at Mundelein Seminary. He is a member of the some time meeting of the Dulles Colloquium (a theological discussion group that was organized by Father Richard J. Neuhaus and Cardinal Avery Dulles) and he is a member of the ecumenical theological discussion group Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Oakes is a frequent writer for First Things and several other periodicals. Oakes is the author of Pattern of Redemption and a co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs Von Balthasar. There are several translations done by Father Oakes of Balthasar to note.
In these first days of Easter the Church rejoices in
Christ’s resurrection from the dead, which has brought new life to us and to
our world. Saint Paul exhorts us to make this new life evident by putting to
death the things of this earth and setting our hearts on the things that are on
high, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (cf. Col 3:1-2).
Having put on Christ in Baptism, we are called to be renewed daily in the
virtues which he taught us, especially charity which binds all the rest together
in perfect harmony. By living this new life we are not only interiorly
transformed, but we also change the world around us. Charity in fact brings
that spiritual freedom which can break down any wall, and build a new world of
solidarity, goodness and respect for the dignity of all. Easter, then, is a
gift to be received ever anew in faith, so that we may become a constant leaven
of life, justice and reconciliation in our world. As believers in the risen
Lord, this is our mission: to awaken hope in place of despair, joy in place of
sadness, and life in place of death. With Christ, through him and in him, let
us strive to make all things new!