Tag Archives: forgiveness

Looking toward a time of peace, reconciliation and social justice

I’ve had some spare time to read and so this morning I pondered the address given by Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People at the 2010 Conference of European University Chaplaincies, 14-18 June 2010. The title of the address is “Young hearts and minds toward ‘Peace, Reconciliation, and Social Justice.”

A few paragraphs that I thought would be germane for reflection and deeper prayer.

Pope John Paul II … wrote that “forgiveness is above all a personal choice, a decision of the heart to against the natural instinct to pay back evil with evil. The measure of such a decision is the love of God who draws us to himself in spite of our sin.  Forgiveness therefore has a divine source and criterion. Forgiveness, as a fully human act, is above all a personal initiative (World Day of Peace message 2002). The ability to forgive lies at the very basis of the idea of a future society marked by justice and solidarity. Peace is essential for development, but true peace is made possible only through forgiveness and reconciliation” (ibid).

Pope Benedict XVI, in his Message to the youth in 2007, invited them to “dare to love” and not to desire anything less for their life than a love that is strong and beautiful: love that is capable of making the whole of their existence a joyful undertaking of giving themselves as a gift  to God and their brothers and sisters, in imitation of the One who vanquished hatred and death forever through love (cf. Rev 5:13). Love is the only force capable of changing the heart of the human person and of all humanity, by making fruitful the relations between men and women, between rich and poor, between cultures and civilizations.

Pope John Paul II in fact was convinced that the future far lies in the hands of the youth. The future of peace lies in their hearts. To construct history, as they can and must, they to free history from the false paths it is pursuing. To do this, the youth must have a deep trust in the grandeur of the human vocation -a vocation to be pursued with respect for truth for the dignity and inviolable rights of the human person. Pope Wojtyla felt the feeling of the modern youth indeed. He said that he saw them being touched by the hunger for peace; that they are troubled by so much injustice around them and sense overwhelming danger in the gigantic stockpiles of arms and in the threats of nuclear war; that they suffer when they see widespread hunger and malnutrition and are concerned about the environment today and for the coming generations; that they are threatened by unemployment and many already without work and without the prospect of meaningful employment and are upset by the large number of people who are oppressed politically and spiritually and who cannot enjoy the exercise of their basic human rights as individuals or as a community. All this can give rise to a feeling that life has little meaning. In this situation, some may be tempted to take flight from responsibility: in the fantasy worlds of alcohol and drugs, in short-lived sexual relationships without commitment to marriage and family, in indifference, in cynicism and even in violence. Pope John Paul II invited them therefore to be themselves on guard against the fraud of a world that wants to exploit or misdirect their energetic and powerful search for happiness and meaning. He invited them not to avoid the search for the true answers to the questions that confront them (World Day of Peace 1985).

L’Osservatore Romano
June 23, 2010

Ted Kennedy: mercy or damnation? What do real Christians think?

In the week since the obsequies for Edward Kennedy, Senator, not a few self-appointed ministers of God’s justice and mercy have rendered their judgement: the Senator should not have been buried using the rites of the Catholic Church. Interesting.

The sacred Liturgy tells us what we who are baptized believe: we are sinners and God’s mercy is in abundance. Sinners need and want mercy from God almighty. I want and need His forgiveness and His tender embrace. I am sure Ted Kennedy wanted the same. Since I was not at his bedside when he was sick, nor did I hear the Senator’s confession and nor was I present when his priest gave him the Sacrament of the Sick, Viaticum and the Apostolic Pardon. Presumably he received these sacred rites before his death. In short, I don’t know the state of his soul. I do know that he wrote to the Holy Father and a kind reply was received.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley has been criticized for being a pastor of souls; he explains as much on his blog this week. The bishop of Madison, WI, Robert Morlino, has a wonderful piece on this subject and I highly recommend your reading it. Use it for you lectio. Bishop Morlino’s reflection is found here.
Is a lack of mercy to a sinner the demonstration of Christianity’s decay? What virtues are being taught and lived when Christians so violently pontificate that mercy is not possible for the sinner, even such a public sinner? Does Christianity have any real meaning left? If we break mercy from the Christian life then we no longer have a Christian religion that leads one to salvation in Christ. To whom do we witness: Christ or the self?

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]yahoo.com.
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