Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What did the Pope really say (Part II)...

Last week we saw the Holy Father's words regarding his response to a reporter's question about the Church's position on abstinence versus the use of condoms. Now, here is what he actually said when he heard the deluge of criticism for remitting the excommunication of four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X. This society broke away from some of the teachings of the Catholic Church more than thirty years ago. The Pope's action in no way approves of the positions of this society nor of its members. Pope Benedict is trying to open the way for communication between himself and its members so that possibly there might be conversion, reconciliation and reunion.

But I ask now: Was it, and is it, truly wrong in this case to meet halfway the brother who ‘ has something against you’ ( cf. Matt. 5: 23ff.) and to seek reconciliation?

I have been told that consulting the information available on the Internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on. I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news. I was saddened by the fact that even Catholics who, after all, might have had a better knowledge of the situation, thought they had to attack me with open hostility. Precisely for this reason I thank all the more our Jewish friends, who quickly helped to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust which—as in the days of Pope John Paul II—has also existed throughout my pontificate and, thank God, continues to exist.

“At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them— in this case the Pope— he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.

The Pope does not want to write anyone off. It is only by opening up the way to dialogue that one can hope that the truth will prevail. When someone is thinking and speaking in error, laying out the facts can lead to a change of mind and heart of the misguided person.

We can only hope that the media will report only what our Holy Father says without any spin or agenda of its own. May no one be prejudiced against Pope Benedict nor against the Church. If we truly knew what the Catholic Church teaches and have open minds, then we would not only be understanding and accepting, but also grateful and joyful for having this truth.

Fr. Stanley