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Quote:One of the difficulties with the internet is that it is so easy for unstable people to peddle their obsessions or stir up conflict on forums for the sake of it. People who used to write anonymous letters in green ink now have websites that can be read by other cranks.
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Quote:It is certainly no accident that the forgiveness of sins plays an essential rle in the birth of the Church....The first episode is the consignment of the keys to Peter. The bestowel of the power to bind and loose, to open and to shut,...is in its core an authority to let in, to bring home, to forgive. ...We find the same reality again at The Last Supperwhich inaugurates the new communion from and in the Body of Christ. This communion is made possible by the Lord's shedding His blood "for many for the forgiveness of sins....Finally the risen Lord establishes the communion of His peace when He first appears to the Eleven. He does so by giving them full authority to forgive....There is nothing magical about forgiveness. But neither is it a fictitious forgetting, a refusal to accept the truth, but an entirely real process of change carried out by the Sculptor*. The removal of guilt truly 'gets rid' of something; the proof of that forgiveness has come in(to) us is that penance springs up from us. Forgiveness is in this sense an active-passive event: the creative word of power that God speaks to us produces the pain of conversion and thus becomes an active transformation. Forgiveness and penance, grace and personal conversion are not contradictions but two sides of one and the same event. This fusion of activity and passivity expresses the essential form of human existence, for all of our creativity begins with or having been created, with our participation in God's creative activity.HERE WE HAVE REACHED A VERY ESSENTIAL POINT: I BELIEVE THAT THE CORE OF THE SPIRITUAL CRISIS OF OUR TIME HAS ITS BASIS IN THE OBSCURATION OF THE GRACE OF FORGIVENESS....
Quote:But the call for morality untimately remains without effect, because the criteria are veiled in a fog of discussions. In fact, man cannot bear sheer morality, he cannot live by it: it becomes a "law" for him that provokes contradiction and engenders sin. For this reason, where forgiveness--true forgiveness guaranteed by authority--is not recognized or believed, morality must be cut down to size, so that the conditions of sinful action can never actually occur for the individual....liberating man from guilt by procluding the occurance of the conditions that make it possible.
Quote:It goes without saying, however, that this method of freeing the world from guilt is all too cheap. In their heart of hearts, those who have been 'liberated' in this fashion, know perfectly well that the whole experience is untrue; they know that there is sin, that they themselves are sinners and that there must be a real way to overcome sin....Christ (only) calls those who know themselves to be sinners, and for this very reason are in need of him. Morality only retains its seriousness only where there is forgiveness--real forgiveness ensured by authority; otherwise it lapses back into pure empty conditional. But "true" forgiveness exists only when the "price", and the "equivalent value", is paid, when guilt is atoned by suffering, when there is expiation. The circular link between morality, forgiveness and expiation cannot be forced apart at any point; when one element is missing, everything else is ruined. Whether or not man can find redemption depends upon the undivided existence of this circle.
Quote:Jesus, on the other hand, fulfilled the whole law, not a portion of it, and thus renewed it from the ground up: he himself, who suffered the whole tale of guilt, is at once expiation and forgiveness and is therefore also the only reliable and perennially valid basis of our morality. It is impossible to detach morality from Christology because it is impossible to separate it from expiation and forgiveness.In Christ, the whole law is fulfilled, and morality has therby become a more concrete claim on us that it is now more possible to satisfy. From the core of faith, then, the way of renewal opens again and again for the individual, for the Church as a whole, and for humanity.
Quote:is the Kingdom, not simply by virtue of His physical presence, but through the Holy Spirit's radiant power flowing forth from Him. In His spirit-filled activity, smashing the demonic enslavement of man, the Kingdom of God becomes reality, God taking the government of this world into His own hands....Jesus' actions, words, sufferings break the power of that alienationwhich lies so heavily on human life. In liberating people, they establish God's Kingdom.
Quote:The kingdom of God, not being itself a political concept, cannot serve as a political criterion, by which to construct in direct fashion a programme of political action and to criticise the political efforts of other people.
Quote:"leaving behind nothing but a deceptive surrogate."
Quote:"The setting assunder of eschatology and politics is one of the fundamental tasks of Christian theology."
Quote:"...my Church was not intended by Our Lord to be static or remain in perpetual childhood; but to be a living organism...which developes and changes by interaction of its bequethed divine life and history....There is no resemblance between the 'mustard seed' and the full-grown tree....the tree is the thing....and the history of a divine thing is sacred. The wise may know it began with a seed, but it is vain to try and dig it up, for it no longer exists, and the virtue and powers that it had, now reside in the tree....The keepers of the tree must look after it...prune it, remove cankers, rid it of parasites, and so-forth....But they will certainly do harm, if they are obsessed with the desire of going back to the seed..." even if they IMAGINE it was then "pretty and unafflicted by evils."
Quote:I was born in a world very much different from today, but in the end, the situations are similar. On the one hand, there was still in those days a situation of "being Christian", in which it was normal to go to Church and accept the faith as a revelation of God, to seek to live according to that revelation. On the other hand, there was the Nazi regime, which declared loudly: "In the new Germany there will be no more priests, no longer a consecrated life", "we will no longer need any such persons. Find another profession."But precisely in listening to these "strong" voices, and the brutality of that system that had an inhuman face, I understood that on the contrary, there was a great need for priests. This contrast "- seeing that anti-human culture - "confirmed my conviction that the Lord, the Gospel, the Faith, showed us the correct path and that we should commit ourselves to insure that this path survived. In this situation, the vocation to priesthood grew in me and with me naturally, without any great moments of conversion. Moreover, two things helped me on this path: even as a boy, aided by my parents and my parish priest, I discovered the beauty of liturgy and I always loved it more and more, because I felt that divine beauty appears to us through liturgy and it opens us up towards heaven. The second element was discovering the beauty of learning, to know God, and Sacred Scriptures, thanks to which I was introduced to the great adventure of dialog with God, which is what theology is. And so it was a joy to enter into the millenary work of theology, into the celebration of liturgy, in which God is with us and takes part in the feast along with us.Of course, I didn't lack for difficulties. I asked myself if I really had the capacity to be celibate all my life. And being a man of theoretical rather than practical training, I also knew that it was not enough to love theology to be a good priest, but it was necessary to be always available and accessible to the young, to the old, to the sick and the poor, a need to be simple with the simple. Theology is beautiful, but one also needs the simplicity of words and (to live) a Christian life. So I asked myself: am I up to living all this and not being simply unilateral, just a theologian, for instance? But the Lord has helped me, above all through the company of friends, good priests and teachers.Turning back to the question, I think it is important to be attentive to the signs from our Lord along the way. He talks to us through events, through persons, through encounters". "We just must pay attention.Next, we must truly enter into friendship with Christ, into a personal relation with him, so we do not only know from others or from books who Jesus is, but that we may live a relationship of personal friendship with him that grows ever deeper, in which we can start to understand all that he asks of us.Then, attention also to who I am, my possibilities: On the one hand, courage, on the other, humility, trust, openness, with the help of friends, the authority of the Church, the help of other priests and of family: what does the Lord want of me? Of course, this will always be a great adventure, but we succeed in life only if we have the courage of adventure, if I trust that the Lord will never leave me alone, that the Lord will be with me and will help me.
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