Thursday, July 28, 2005 : Pope: a West tired of God; Asia and Africa at the crossroads

"it seems that people have no need for us, all that we do seems useless". So says Pope Benedict XVI, according to this story by He sounds like the consumate Fool! Observe:
Speaking of the lack of vocations in the Western world, the Pope pointed to the West's own mentality, which he defined as "tired of its own culture", as having reached the conclusion that "there is no longer any evidence of the need for God, let alone which it seems that man could construct himself...In this climate of rationalism closed in on itself, which considers the pattern of sciences the only pattern of knowledge, all the rest is subjective. Even...Christian life becomes a subjective choice, thus arbitrary and no longer the path of life. And becomes difficult to believe and...offer one's life to the Lord to serve him."

Recalling the ad limina visits of various Asian and African bishops, Benedict XVI then said that "here, vocations are growing...indeed, there are so many that there is a lack of seminaries to receive these young men who want to become priests." "Of course," he went on to say, "some of them come in the hope of social advancement... Bishops must be very careful in discerning... Nevertheless, there is quite an enthusiasm of faith."

The Pope explained that such enthusiasm depends on the fact that these cultures "are at a given time of their history, namely a time in which traditional religions...reveal their insufficiency." "These traditional religions," he said, "carry in themselves a promise, but expect something. They expect a new response that purifies and, shall we say, takes on all beauty and liberates these insufficient and negative aspects. At this juncture, in which their culture really reaches out to a new hour in history, two offers -- Christianity and Islam -- are history's possible answers."
We face the void. Nothing stares back at us. One reflection of Nothing offers us the power to declare for ourselves what is Right and Wrong. It would place us upon the seat of Judgement reserved for God. "For there is no God," Nothing whispers, "There is only the Great-I-Am". Another image of Nothing demands the utter obedience of the fanatic. "No one is innocent!" Nothing screams, "All non-believers must die or become believers! There is no other way!"

Pope Benedict XVI does not flinch from telling the truth. The mirages we follow are the embodiments of nothing in which we fill with our own vanity. We demand the power over consequences that God's own natural law alone possesses. We will not rest until we order our world accoring to our word. Pope Benedict XVI, however, reminds us that when we do so, we turn away from this God:
...the world cannot live without God; The God of Revelation -- and not any God: we see how dangerous a cruel God can be, an unreal God -- the God that showed in Jesus Christ his countenance. This countenance which suffered for us, this countenance of love which transforms the world in the manner of the grain of wheat which falls to the ground...Without the concrete God, the God with the Face of Christ, the world self-destructs."
The Holy Father will not go gently into that goodnight. He rages against the dying of the light. We can chose to rage with him like Fools, or shake our heads and dismiss him like the Reasonable. I recall another Fool that believed he would save the world for God by getting executed by the mightiest Empire of the West. When the Pope mirrors his response, I'm for following his example. Thank God we have a sheperd with the courage to set one!