Monday, April 13, 2009

"Beware 'desert of godlessness' Pope Benedict warns West"

Our newspaper carried a story this weekend that I thought was important. Pope Benedict said a few things that people felt worth reporting.

"Pope Benedict XVI used this year's Good Friday meditations at the Stations of the Cross to compare attempts to purge religion from public life to the mockery Jesus faced from the mob."

"We are shocked to see to what levels of brutality human beings can sink. Jesus is humiliated in new ways even today. When things that are most holy and profound in the faith are being trivialized, the sense of the sacred is allowed to erode. Everything in public life risks being desacralized: persons, places, pledges, prayers, practices, words, sacred writings, religious formulas, symbols, ceremonies. Our life together is being increasingly secularized. Religious life grows diffident. Thus we see the most momentous matters placed among trifles, and trivialities glorified." ... "May we never question or mock serious things in life like a cynic" he prayed. "Allow us not to drift into the desert of godlessness."

The Pope's Good Friday message follows several high-profile British cases in which Christians have been reprimanded by their public-sector employers for talking about their faith at work.

New National Health Service guidelines stated that doctors and nurses faced harassment charges if they were accused of "preaching" to staff or patients, while a draft code of practice for teachers could be used by schools to discipline those who discussed their beliefs with pupils.

Such developments led John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, to proclaim in February that many Christians now "have the daily challenge of living by a set of values that the world thinks are mad."

What do you think of this as part of a Good Friday message?

I don't think the fact that the program of the church is forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ should stop the church from speaking out publicly about matters of the the public sphere. This warning to the world about its cynicism, desacralizing, godlessness, restrictions on freedom of speech needs to be made. Or does it?

Dr. John Patrick, at our Love Life Conference last year, hit a few of the same ideas. He finishes his talks to audiences (friendly and hostile) with: "What kind of world do you want to hand down to your children?"

Individuals who work in public sectors really are impacted by these trends. How can you live your faith at work when you can't say anything? Being muzzled is dehumanizing.

I talked about this article with my brother, Peter, over Sunday dinner and he says some people call Benedict the "Panzer Pope." I had not heard that one. Let him stand for the right things. He even says Catholics should read some Luther. Lord help him.


Steve Martin said...

I think that the Pope was right to speak of how the world is in real danger of godlessness.

I guess wiorking for the state hese days poses certain restrictions which, for good or for ill, are conditions of employment.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why the American Founders favored a small govt. over a large one.

Mary said...

Thanks for posting Brigitte.

Godlessness society. We are so blessed that God is God ; the one and only TRUE GOD. Otherwise He would be depressed over this mess and forget what the rainbow's promise is, and revoke His promise of salvation by grace alone.

Brigitte said...

Thanks for your answers. I like them both. Mary is right about God's promises.

We are members of the local Christian Medical Dental Association and conscience issues are always big for staff of hospitals.

I thought, too, that since the pope has a world-wide audience, he also can preach to the whole world about its godlessness on Good Friday. Presumably he also had some other messages.

Gotta go to work, right now.