Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Pope John Paul II: A prophet for today

More relevant than ever, I re-publish, on the 35th anniversary of the election of Karol Woytila to the See of Peter a post on society and the grave dangers threatening families.  With the advent of internet social communications the Pope's teachings are even more important, given the seductive influence of modern technology (e.g. "sexting") on our young people. 

In 1994, Pope John Paul II wrote a "Letter to Families". How many of us, read, studied and even more importantly, put into action in our lives his words? The Holy Father seemed to a "voice crying in the wilderness". When was the last time you received a pastoral letter from your bishops, or heard your parish priest preach and teach on the "great crisis"? May God forgive those in authority who betrayed the Holy Father and the Church. 

Reading the following words, one can see that not only was John Paul II a prophet, but that - sadly - the monstrous horrors he warned about are alive and well: consider - the recent triumphalist homosexualist "parade" in Toronto (attended by "Catholics"; including a so-called "religious service"), the promotion and growing acceptance of the concept on GSAs in our Catholic schools, the ongoing revolt of the Catholic teachers union (OECTA) against faith and morals... Catholic families in meltdown with abortion, contraception and sexual deviancy... 

Who can deny that our age is one marked by a great crisis, which appears above all as a profound "crisis of truth"? A crisis of truth means, in the first place, a crisis of concepts. Do the words "love", "freedom", "sincere gift", and even "person" and "rights of the person", really convey their essential meaning? This is why the Encyclical on the "splendour of truth" (Veritatis Splendor) has proved so meaningful and important for the Church and for the world—especially in the West. Only if the truth about freedom and the communion of persons in marriage and in the family can regain its splendour, will the building of the civilization of love truly begin and will it then be possible to speak concretely—as the Council did—about "promoting the dignity of marriage and the family".

Why is the "splendour of truth" so important? First of all, by way of contrast: the development of contemporary civilization is linked to a scientific and technological progress which is often achieved in a one-sided way, and thus appears purely positivistic. Positivism, as we know, results in agnosticism in theory and utilitarianism in practice and in ethics. In our own day, history is in a way repeating itself. Utilitarianism is a civilization of production and of use, a civilization of "things" and not of "persons", a civilization in which persons are used in the same way as things are used. In the context of a civilization of use, woman can become an object for man, children a hindrance to parents, the family an institution obstructing the freedom of its members. 

To be convinced that this is the case, one need only look at certain sexual education programmes introduced into the schools, often notwithstanding the disagreement and even the protests of many parents; or pro-abortion tendencies which vainly try to hide behind the so-called "right to choose" ("pro-choice") on the part of both spouses, and in particular on the part of the woman. These are only two examples; many more could be mentioned.

It is evident that in this sort of a cultural situation the family cannot fail to feel threatened, since it is endangered at its very foundations. Everything contrary to the civilization of love is contrary to the whole truth about man and becomes a threat to him: it does not allow him to find himself and to feel secure, as spouse, parent, or child. 

So-called "safe sex", which is touted by the "civilization of technology", is actually, in view of the overall requirements of the person, radically not safe, indeed it is extremely dangerous. It endangers both the person and the family. And what is this danger? It is the loss of the truth about one's own self and about the family,together with the risk of a loss of freedom and consequently of a loss of love itself. "You will know the truth", Jesus says, "and the truth will make you free" (Jn 8:32): the truth, and only the truth, will prepare you for a love which can be called "fairest love" (cf. Sir 24:24, Vulg.)....

This kind of critical reflection should lead our society, which certainly contains many positive aspects on the material and cultural level, to realize that, from various points of view, it is a society which is sick and is creating profound distortions in man. 

Why is this happening? The reason is that our society has broken away from the full truth about man, from the truth about what man and woman really are as persons. Thus it cannot adequately comprehend the real meaning of the gift of persons in marriage, responsible love at the service of fatherhood and motherhood, and the true grandeur of procreation and education. Is it an exaggeration to say that the mass media, if they are not guided by sound ethical principles, fail to serve the truth in its fundamental dimension? 

This is the real drama: the modern means of social communication are tempted to manipulate the message, thereby falsifying the truth about man. Human beings are not the same thing as the images proposed in advertising and shown by the modern mass media.They are much more, in their physical and psychic unity, as composites of soul and body, as persons. They are much more because of their vocation to love, which introduces them as male and female into the realm of the "great mystery".

1 comment:

Everyday For Life Canada said...

This is a wonderful posting and reminder that Blessed John Paul II was truly a gift to the Church. He was a prophet, priest and king. His Letters to Families should not only be read but lived and shared in the Catholic community.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention again.