2005-2015 — Ten Years After the Enthronement of Pope Benedict XVI

from: The Eponymous Flower,  http://eponymousflower.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04

(Vatican)  It was April 25th 2005 on a Sunday, a day with picture perfect weather as the enthronement of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI took place beyond the magnificent facade of St. Peter’s. The new Pope gave an impressive sermon, which was already in a series which he gave as Dean of the College of Cardinals in the Exequies before the burial of John Paul II on April 8th and for the Mass Pro Eligendo Romano pontifice on April 18th. The speech was most notable for the statement: “Pray for me, that I do not flee for fear of the wolves.”

Ten years later it is appropriate to read again what the German Pope said then at the beginning of his pontificate.

 
Your Eminences,
My dear Brother Bishops and Priests,
Distinguished Authorities and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Dear Brothers and Sisters
,
During these days of great intensity, we have chanted the litany of the saints on three different occasions: at the funeral of our Holy Father John Paul II; as the Cardinals entered the Conclave; and again today, when we sang it with the response: Tu illum adiuva – sustain the new Successor of Saint Peter. On each occasion, in a particular way, I found great consolation in listening to this prayerful chant. How alone we all felt after the passing of John Paul II – the Pope who for over twenty-six years had been our shepherd and guide on our journey through life! He crossed the threshold of the next life, entering into the mystery of God. But he did not take this step alone. Those who believe are never alone – neither in life nor in death. At that moment, we could call upon the Saints from every age – his friends, his brothers and sisters in the faith – knowing that they would form a living procession to accompany him into the next world, into the glory of God. We knew that his arrival was awaited. Now we know that he is among his own and is truly at home. We were also consoled as we made our solemn entrance into Conclave, to elect the one whom the Lord had chosen. How would we be able to discern his name? How could 115 Bishops, from every culture and every country, discover the one on whom the Lord wished to confer the mission of binding and loosing? Once again, we knew that we were not alone, we knew that we were surrounded, led and guided by the friends of God. And now, at this moment, weak servant of God that I am, I must assume this enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity. How can I do this? How will I be able to do it? All of you, my dear friends, have just invoked the entire host of Saints, represented by some of the great names in the history of God’s dealings with mankind. In this way, I too can say with renewed conviction: I am not alone. I do not have to carry alone what in truth I could never carry alone. All the Saints of God are there to protect me, to sustain me and to carry me. And your prayers, my dear friends, your indulgence, your love, your faith and your hope accompany me. Indeed, the communion of Saints consists not only of the great men and women who went before us and whose names we know. All of us belong to the communion of Saints, we who have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we who draw life from the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood, through which he transforms us and makes us like himself. Yes, the Church is alive – this is the wonderful experience of these days. During those sad days of the Pope’s illness and death, it became wonderfully evident to us that the Church is alive. And the Church is young. She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future. The Church is alive and we are seeing it: we are experiencing the joy that the Risen Lord promised his followers. The Church is alive – she is alive because Christ is alive, because he is truly risen. In the suffering that we saw on the Holy Father’s face in those days of Easter, we contemplated the mystery of Christ’s Passion and we touched his wounds. But throughout these days we have also been able, in a profound sense, to touch the Risen One. We have been able to experience the joy that he promised, after a brief period of darkness, as the fruit of his resurrection.
The Church is alive – with these words, I greet with great joy and gratitude all of you gathered here, my venerable brother Cardinals and Bishops, my dear priests, deacons, Church workers, catechists. I greet you, men and women Religious, witnesses of the transfiguring presence of God. I greet you, members of the lay faithful, immersed in the great task of building up the Kingdom of God which spreads throughout the world, in every area of life. With great affection I also greet all those who have been reborn in the sacrament of Baptism but are not yet in full communion with us; and you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God’s irrevocable promises. Finally, like a wave gathering force, my thoughts go out to all men and women of today, to believers and non-believers alike.
Dear friends! At this moment there is no need for me to present a programme of governance. I was able to give an indication of what I see as my task in my Message of Wednesday 20 April, and there will be other opportunities to do so. My real programme of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history. Instead of putting forward a programme, I should simply like to comment on the two liturgical symbols which represent the inauguration of the Petrine Ministry; both these symbols, moreover, reflect clearly what we heard proclaimed in today’s readings.
The first symbol is the Pallium, woven in pure wool, which will be placed on my shoulders. This ancient sign, which the Bishops of Rome have worn since the fourth century, may be considered an image of the yoke of Christ, which the Bishop of this City, the Servant of the Servants of God, takes upon his shoulders. God’s yoke is God’s will, which we accept. And this will does not weigh down on us, oppressing us and taking away our freedom. To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found – this was Israel’s joy, this was her great privilege. It is also our joy: God’s will does not alienate us, it purifies us – even if this can be painful – and so it leads us to ourselves. In this way, we serve not only him, but the salvation of the whole world, of all history. The symbolism of the Pallium is even more concrete: the lamb’s wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life. For the Fathers of the Church, the parable of the lost sheep, which the shepherd seeks in the desert, was an image of the mystery of Christ and the Church. The human race – every one of us – is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; he cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon his shoulders and carries our humanity; he carries us all – he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. What the Pallium indicates first and foremost is that we are all carried by Christ. But at the same time it invites us to carry one another. Hence the Pallium becomes a symbol of the shepherd’s mission, of which the Second Reading and the Gospel speak. The pastor must be inspired by Christ’s holy zeal: for him it is not a matter of indifference that so many people are living in the desert. And there are so many kinds of desert. There is the desert of poverty, the desert of hunger and thirst, the desert of abandonment, of loneliness, of destroyed love. There is the desert of God’s darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer aware of their dignity or the goal of human life. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast. Therefore the earth’s treasures no longer serve to build God’s garden for all to live in, but they have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction. The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance. The symbol of the lamb also has a deeper meaning. In the Ancient Near East, it was customary for kings to style themselves shepherds of their people. This was an image of their power, a cynical image: to them their subjects were like sheep, which the shepherd could dispose of as he wished. When the shepherd of all humanity, the living God, himself became a lamb, he stood on the side of the lambs, with those who are downtrodden and killed. This is how he reveals himself to be the true shepherd: “I am the Good Shepherd . . . I lay down my life for the sheep”, Jesus says of himself (Jn 10:14f). It is not power, but love that redeems us! This is God’s sign: he himself is love. How often we wish that God would make show himself stronger, that he would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way, they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity. We suffer on account of God’s patience. And yet, we need his patience. God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.
One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep”, says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends – at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more – in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.
The second symbol used in today’s liturgy to express the inauguration of the Petrine Ministry is the presentation of the fisherman’s ring. Peter’s call to be a shepherd, which we heard in the Gospel, comes after the account of a miraculous catch of fish: after a night in which the disciples had let down their nets without success, they see the Risen Lord on the shore. He tells them to let down their nets once more, and the nets become so full that they can hardly pull them in; 153 large fish: “and although there were so many, the net was not torn” (Jn 21:11). This account, coming at the end of Jesus’s earthly journey with his disciples, corresponds to an account found at the beginning: there too, the disciples had caught nothing the entire night; there too, Jesus had invited Simon once more to put out into the deep. And Simon, who was not yet called Peter, gave the wonderful reply: “Master, at your word I will let down the nets.” And then came the conferral of his mission: “Do not be afraid. Henceforth you will be catching men” (Lk 5:1-11). Today too the Church and the successors of the Apostles are told to put out into the deep sea of history and to let down the nets, so as to win men and women over to the Gospel – to God, to Christ, to true life. The Fathers made a very significant commentary on this singular task. This is what they say: for a fish, created for water, it is fatal to be taken out of the sea, to be removed from its vital element to serve as human food. But in the mission of a fisher of men, the reverse is true. We are living in alienation, in the salt waters of suffering and death; in a sea of darkness without light. The net of the Gospel pulls us out of the waters of death and brings us into the splendour of God’s light, into true life. It is really true: as we follow Christ in this mission to be fishers of men, we must bring men and women out of the sea that is salted with so many forms of alienation and onto the land of life, into the light of God. It is really so: the purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men. And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd, the task of the fisher of men, can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world.
Here I want to add something: both the image of the shepherd and that of the fisherman issue an explicit call to unity. “I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must lead them too, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd” (Jn 10:16); these are the words of Jesus at the end of his discourse on the Good Shepherd. And the account of the 153 large fish ends with the joyful statement: “although there were so many, the net was not torn” (Jn 21:11). Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has been torn! But no – we must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of your promise, which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path towards the unity you have promised. Let us remember it in our prayer to the Lord, as we plead with him: yes, Lord, remember your promise. Grant that we may be one flock and one shepherd! Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity!
At this point, my mind goes back to 22 October 1978, when Pope John Paul II began his ministry here in Saint Peter’s Square. His words on that occasion constantly echo in my ears: “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!” The Pope was addressing the mighty, the powerful of this world, who feared that Christ might take away something of their power if they were to let him in, if they were to allow the faith to be free. Yes, he would certainly have taken something away from them: the dominion of corruption, the manipulation of law and the freedom to do as they pleased. But he would not have taken away anything that pertains to human freedom or dignity, or to the building of a just society. The Pope was also speaking to everyone, especially the young. Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.
Photo: Trinta Giorni
Post: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com
Link to Katholisches…
AMDG

About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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60 Responses to 2005-2015 — Ten Years After the Enthronement of Pope Benedict XVI

  1. toadspittle says:

    “Pray for me, that I do not flee for fear of the wolves.”
    Wolves, 17 – Pope, 0
    (Match abandoned during injury time.)

    “Mate if you can’t understand the nature of Prayer and the way God responds to it, by the above then you never will….” OK. I’ll take your word for it, Geoff.

    “And now, at this moment, weak servant of God that I am, I must assume this enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity. How can I do this? How will I be able to do it?”
    …Good questions.

  2. Brother Burrito says:

    The stand-out line for me is:

    “The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.”

    Truly Benedict XVI was a holy Pope.

  3. toadspittle says:

    True, Burrito. We have a great deal to thank Benedict for.

    And he’s right about “impatience,” I agree. Too much cheap, quick, sloppy, short-lived, junk around – in all manner of fields. ….Not enough care. Nobody’s building cathedrals like Burgos any more.
    But how can the Nepalese earthquake be reconciled with the “patience” of God?

  4. GC says:

    I’ve just this minute returned home from a Bavarian (pace Pope Benedict) restaurant, yes here near the Equator. It serves Paulaner beer. Paulaner was originally brewed in the 1600s in Munich by the reformed Franciscans of St Francis of Paola ( the Minim hermits). I had just one Paulaner Munich Dark (most nutritious!) before requesting several shandies from the north Indian waiter. No gins and tonics on the drink list, Toad, but Schnapps was there, which is sort of gin, I hear.

    The chef (age 23), prepared for us an unpronounceable cured Bavarian sausage that began with “k” and very much resembled a salami (the sausage, not the chef) except it was thinner, together with dark bread, cheese, mustard and tiny pickled cucumbers. Chef is a Nepalese, very well trained up by unser Bavarian host.

    Cook lost his whole in-laws in the earthquake just the other day and their entire village, close to the capital, doesn’t exist now.

    When I expressed my greatest sympathy and concern to him, patience (stoicism?) seemed to be his natural response. A bit too foreign a response for toads, I suspect. I shall look in on him (the chef, not Toad) in a day or two, if not before.

  5. toadspittle says:

    “When I expressed my greatest sympathy and concern to him, patience (stoicism?) seemed to be his natural response. A bit too foreign a response for toads, I suspect. “
    Not at all, GC. Stoicism is an admirable response, to the world’s little geographical quirks – indeed, what else can we do, but shake our heads, thank God, pick up the pieces, and get on with life as best we can?

    Did earthquakes happen before Original Sin, I wonder? If not…

  6. GC says:

    How very strange. Toads have never espoused patience or “stoicism” before on this humble blog. How could that be? Toadist fun and games, eh, and want of sincerity? But surely not.

  7. toadspittle says:

    Toads are free to modify their ideas whenever the fancy takes them, GC.
    When, for example, evidence persuades them they have been wrong up ’til now.
    But that is not the case here.
    When confronted with what we might call “natural disasters,*” there are two attitudes to be taken, (I suggest.)
    1: Ask what God is up to.
    2: Accept these horrors as the price we must pay for living on a highly unstable, often fatal, and mindlessly volatile planet – and, as I said earlier – get on with it – that is, if we are fortunate enough not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In which case, we are dead.

    The second has been my attitude for many years now. No doubt, it’s yours, as well.

    *They are not “disasters” to Planet Earth, who couldn’t care less – only to us.

  8. johnhenrycn says:

    An interesting yet poignant story by GC at 17:13. Two parts mirth, one part grief. Stirred. Not shaken.

  9. GC says:

    Oh well, there we have it. Toads, really, are not grumpy with God at all, they’re just “stoical”. Wish they’d just sort of said that in the first place and spared us CP&Sers years of this “God is not fair” business so He can’t exist. Or are toads going to change their minds very presently about all of that?

    Don’t know about others, but as a Catholic I could easily identify with cook’s stoicism/patience. The whole thing doesn’t shake my faith one little bit. Toads will now tell us exactly why it should, I suppose. Of course, Catholics throughout 2000 years have never faced hardship or disaster before. Perhaps that’s it

  10. toadspittle says:

    Toad? Grumpy? Fie, GC!
    Where do you get these ideas? He thinks life is a great joke played on us all by God, possibly. But then, possibly not. Don’t know. Either way, he enjoys life hugely.
    To put it another way – does Toad think God is, in any conceivable fashion, responsible for – or in favour of – earthquakes, Tsunamis, snakebites, leprosy, income tax, Herod’s Evil, senile dementia, or the movies of Mel Gibson ?
    No. Absolutely not.
    …More stuff we can all happily agree on. No “grumpiness” there!

    Could Toads suddenly begin to believe in God – as seen by Christians, Jews, Mormons and Muslims?
    Of course.
    Stranger things have happened. Often.
    However, back to business – was this latest earthquake a result of Original Sin – or not?
    “Yes,” or “No,” will do nicely.

  11. Frere Rabit says:

    From a geography teacher’s point of view, it was a great weekend: a 7.8 earthquake in Nepal and an avalanche on Everest; plus a volcano in Chile. And just before the GCSE and A-level exams. Geography happens. Pain consumes thousands. Theodicy just goes on and on, rarely satisfying its participants.

    But if you want to try to draw it all together and make sense of it properly, you could not do better than listen to a God-given genius like Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus: a philosopher, theologian, and liturgist who excelled in all three disciplines. Ad multos annos.

  12. toadspittle says:

    “Geography happens.”
    Amen.
    Man proposes, geography disposes.

  13. GC says:

    Oh yes, we the rest of us should be always concerned with what would suit toads nicely.

    You’ve ignored the response of incalculably vast numbers of ordinary people to hardships in their lives. People have had to face such trials for millennia and their descendants are here today.

    A nihilist or exclusively “stoical” response has not been the belief in practice for the overwhelming number of humans throughout the ages, They have nearly all picked themselves up and hopefully rebuilt everything or as much as they could. Suicide is very much a minority past-time. And very few of our ancestors have had the means to “enjoy life hugely”. Somehow, I think that very few of these innumerable clodhoppers were philosophically “stoics”.

  14. toadspittle says:

    “Suicide is very much a minority past-time. And very few of them have had the means to “enjoy life hugely”.”
    When did I ever suggest differently, GC? I agree with every word you say.
    “No man with a promising two-year -old ever committed suicide.” Or wanted to see what will happen next Saturday, in, Louisville, Kentucky.
    I’m well aware that life is nothing but a crap shoot. it’s been amazingly good to me so far. And, when it all goes pear-shaped, as it inevitably will – it would be ridiculously churlish, and ungrateful, of me to “grumble.”

  15. GC says:

    What do rabits geography purveyors look forward to together with comfortably retired toads?

    The next natural disaster.

  16. toadspittle says:

    “Oh yes, we the rest of us should be always concerned with what would suit toads nicely.”
    No, GC. Not necessary. Toads are notoriously self-sufficient, and easy-going.
    But you sound a little bit “grumpy” yourself. Is everything all right?

  17. toadspittle says:

    “What do (rabits)geography purveyors look forward to together with comfortably retired toads? The next natural disaster.”

    Are you suggesting Rabit and I enjoy the the apparently random, and devastating, events that afflict unfortunate people daily GC?
    …No, I’m sure not. That would be a very unchristian view, indeed.

  18. GC says:

    One innocently but inevitably notices that toads seem to get active every time a typhoon wrecks a part of our neighbours, the Philippines, or an earthquake swallows down towns and outlying villages. No doubt a false perception. To be truthful, I’m not sure about rabits as we have not yet been properly introduced.

    But at least Lapin has drawn our attention back to the topic of this article and Pope Benedict’s magnificent inaugural homily.

  19. Brother Burrito says:

    Death is inevitable. Old age, disease, accident and natural disaster are the greatest killers of all, and they are beyond our control.

    Deliberate neglect and murder make up the balance. These are within our control.

    Original Sin explains the self serving stupidity that erected high rise buildings in a geologically unstable region, or badly secured nuclear reactors on a tsunami prone coastline, homes on flood plains etc.

  20. johnhenrycn says:

    Why anyone wants to live on this mortal coil forever is a mystery. I look forward to leaving Earth. Not quite yet, of course. Like Toad, I “enjoy life hugely” despite its never ending struggles, but unlike him, I – and most others here – see it as a beginning, not an ending. And incidentally, I’d rather die from cancer than in an avalanche, if that makes any sense to people like him who hate the idea of suffering.

  21. johnhenrycn says:

    …I’d rather die in any situation that gave me time to think about my death, even if at the end I was yearning for it. Easy to say, granted, but an honest statement nonetheless.

    I also pray to die poor (as a voluntary act of abnegation) although again, not quite yet.

  22. toadspittle says:

    Very stimulating comments.

    “Original Sin explains the self serving stupidity that erected high rise buildings in a geologically unstable region, or badly secured nuclear reactors on a tsunami prone coastline, homes on flood plains etc.”
    So, Original Sin explains the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, when 60,000 people died. It explains why dirt -poor people perversely choose to live in wretchedly-built, overcrowded, slums rather than in architect-designed, expensive, “earthquake proof” edifices, like the New Zealanders put up in Christchurch. Or as in Tokyo or San Francisco.
    Well, that’s comforting to know.
    I read, re: Nepal, that people who live in tents, in deserts, far from water, seldom – if ever – get killed by earthquakes. So let’s all go and do just that.

    “One innocently but inevitably notices that toads seem to get active every time a typhoon wrecks a part of our neighbours, the Philippines, or an earthquake swallows down towns and outlying villages. No doubt a false perception. “
    No, GC – it’s not an “innocent” (Ooh, sarkie!) false perception on your part. When these things happen Toad inevitably asks how Christians (or Muslims, or Mormons) can explain them. One day he might get an answer worth a light.

    I’ll try it again: Is Original Sin responsible for the existence of earthquakes? Simple enough question, surely? Yes? No?

    True JH – avalanches and cancer each have their own appeal.

  23. Frere Rabit says:

    Original sin is not responsible for the existence of earthquakes, Toad. I can assure you that they are mostly caused by plate tectonic action. In the case of the Himalayas, a collision zone between two plates, a bit like we experience here in the Iberian peninsula which will eventually disappear in 500 million years, when the Mediterranean Mountains take the place of the sea and become higher than any existing mountain range and England will then not be challenged by Spain any longer in the World Cup, as Spain will have disappeared but the British Isles miraculously still continues. Original sin unfortunately doesn’t correlate with plate tectonics. Most Catholics manage to keep the questions sensibly in their appropriate categories.

  24. Frere Rabit says:

    Oh, and by the way, Rabits don’t do theodicy very well. Never been much interested in it. Unlike some who go on and on about it. But Mark Lambert just posted something which the perplexed might find useful: http://marklambert.blogspot.com/2015/04/praying-for-nepal-asking-god-why.html

  25. Original sin is not responsible for the existence of earthquakes, Toad. I can assure you that they are mostly caused by plate tectonic action.

    That humans are killed by earthquakes is a consequence of original sin, though. And it seems highly unlikely that the tectonic plates would be active had the Fall not occurred.

  26. johnhenrycn says:

    But, THR, you seem to be taking the position that there really was a geographically discrete (specific) Garden of Eden somewhere, that there is no human history much futher back than 6,000 years ago (à la Bishop Ussher) and that there were no earthquakes or other cataclysmic events during the Cambrian Explosion. I suggest that the Garden of Eden, whether in Mesopotamia or in East Africa, is mythical, which is not to say it is fictional. And for the record, I do accept the doctrine of Original Sin, but the Garden is, in my view, a limited human way of coming to grips with and putting into words the otherwise inexplicable.

  27. johnhenrycn says:

    …which reminds me of the time I found a trilobite fossil in a piece of shale on a lakeshore. Father told me it must be a fake planted there by the Chamber of Commerce, which was a pretty silly thing to say now that I think about it, but I was only 8, and father knew everything back then. Wish I hadn’t thrown it away after he said that.

  28. JH,
    I refused to rephrase anything that’s been already correctly said, so I will leave this discussion with a quote from my ultimate quote-source, the ever-present G.K. You-Know-Who.

    Whether or no the Garden was an allegory, the truth itself can be very well allegorized as a garden. And the point of it is that Man, whatever else he is, is certainly not merely one of the plants of the garden that has plucked its roots out of the soil, and walked about with them like legs.The Thing: Why I am Catholic

    As for human history, whether it began 4,000 years ago or 4,000,000,000,000, the main historical truth about its origin is that before the Fall, the world operated perfectly according to God’s plan, and after the Fall, it did not.

  29. toadspittle says:

    “…before the Fall, the world operated perfectly according to God’s plan, and after the Fall, it did not.”
    But God knew His plan would fail before the world even existed. Why would He make “plans” that He knew would be thwarted by mankind, whom He also made – while knowing in advance that man was going to commit Original Sin – and so get the tectonic plates all sliding about?
    Did animals die before the Fall, do we know? The notorious apple tree clearly had seasons. Would it have eventually have died if man had not sinned? What silly questions.
    …I suppose it’s all one of them mysteries, innit?

    “Most Catholics manage to keep the questions sensibly in their appropriate categories.”
    I see, Rabit – Theology on Sundays, Geography during the rest of the week, with Saturdays off. Good idea. No confusing “cross-overs.”

  30. Tom Fisher says:

    That humans are killed by earthquakes is a consequence of original sin

    HRM’s refreshingly erudite insanity has cheered me right up. So there’s an end of the commenting hiatus. The earth has been geologically active throughout it’s entire history. And humans (and our much cuter predecessors) have been vulnerable to the effects of earthquakes throughout our evolution. If there was a primeval state when this wasn’t the case, when was it?

  31. toadspittle says:

    “…If there was a primeval state when this wasn’t the case, when was it?”
    The trouble is, Tom, as I understand it, Christians are bound to believe in a pre-Fall paradise.
    (or so I think. If I’m wrong, I’ll be put right, toot sweet.)

  32. GC says:

    Very nice, Rabit, the article you linked by Mark Lambert. I think that if God did create the universe and it is the way it is we need to have the mind of God in order to know why it is. Toads seem to think that we each have a basic human right to having God’s mind. They perhaps just think that they should be God and that’s it.

    Well, I am not aware that scriptures say sin causes earthquakes. Most interestingly our warmists assure us, but, that human wickedness does cause melting ice caps, extreme weather, bananas growing in Scotland and Mel Gibson movies. I don’t know if they’ll soon find a link between rising global temperatures and seismic activity involving the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates.

    But the scriptures do seem to indicate that sin brings death:

    Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

    I’m not sure whether this means that people wouldn’t die in earthquakes and the like but for sin. They might possibly heal or something similar.

    Quite a few sins, though, can bring death, obviously, like smoking (I’m cutting down!), so the proposition is not without merit. They can certainly bring spiritual death, which is probably not all that good for you either.

    However,

    the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

    (Amen!)

  33. toadspittle says:

    “Toads seem to think that we each have a basic human right to having God’s mind.”
    Not at all, GC. What Toad thinks (I can’t answer for my fellow-toads) is we can’t be certain, or even mildly confident – that God has a “mind” at all in any coherent sense to human beings – and, if He/She does, whether it exists in any “knowable” form.
    Or if God gives a damn whether or not we live or die.
    The Nepal earthquake would seem, superficially, to suggest He/She doesn’t.
    But that might be a false reading of the situation, because we know nothing.

    “I’m not sure whether this means that people wouldn’t die in earthquakes and the like but for sin. They might possibly heal or something similar.”
    Ah, the non-lethal tsunami, the non-fatal, deadly disease. GC. Glad you brought that up. It’s a tremendously comforting thought. Which is exactly what it’s supposed to be. (In my opinion.)
    “Know then thyself,
    presume not God to scan
    The proper study of mankind is man.”

    (A. Pope*, Essay on Man.)

    *Catholic.

  34. toadspittle says:

    …And, since I’m on a Wednesday rant here…
    Every time anyone on CP&S declares, “God wants,” “God has a plan,” “God is sad,” “God is angry,” – and so on … Toad has to bite his little green tongue to stop asking the same dopey question: “HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT?” to which there can never be any reasonable, coherent, or logical answer.
    That’s obvious.
    …Innit.

  35. Tom Fisher says:

    I think that if God did create the universe and it is the way it is we need to have the mind of God in order to know why it is.

    Strictly speaking the inference runs the other way. If the universe is how it is then we need to develop very good reasons for claiming that it was created by a being with the characteristics we ascribe to ‘God’. It is putting to the cart before the horse to suggest that the problem can be solved by postulating divine inscrutability.

  36. Tom Fisher says:

    From GC (her quotation in italics providing word-press cooperates):

    “But the scriptures do seem to indicate that sin brings death:

    Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

    I’m not sure whether this means that people wouldn’t die in earthquakes and the like but for sin. They might possibly heal or something similar.”

    It’s the last part that I find most intriguing. This once again raises the question, when precisely is the dividing line that constitutes the fall? We know of people who died of hypothermia in the European Alps 6,000 years ago, people who died of bone cancer in central Asia 60,000 years ago, people who were crushed by rockfalls in southern Africa 100,000 years ago, and pre-human ancestors who were devoured by leopards 2.2 million years ago. — It is quite clear that there was no ‘pre-Lapsarian’ period in human development. There is a clear trajectory back in time of mammalian fragility, and rocky solidity, which makes it completely silly to argue that a putative early human sin is responsible for our susceptibility to natural disasters.

  37. GC says:

    If the universe is how it is then we need to develop very good reasons for claiming that it was created by a being with the characteristics we ascribe to ‘God’.

    Lucky I never claimed that then, eh.

  38. toadspittle says:

    “..Lucky I never claimed that then, eh.”
    Then just what did you claim, GC?
    (Write on one side of the paper only, please.)

    Tom, your thinking is getting dangerously close to logical.

    “But the scriptures do seem to indicate that sin brings death:”
    What warrant do we have for accepting everything “the scriptures” say as being , “Gospel”?
    How do we know they aren’t the invention of somebody – for some obscure reason that we don’t comprehend?
    We can’t. And don’t.
    We can believe them, if it suits us to do so. Or not, if it doesn’t. (I reckon.)

  39. We know… pre-human ancestors who were devoured by leopards 2.2 million years ago.
    Do we know that they were pre-human ancestors and not post-human descendants? No, we don’t Do we know that they were alive 2.2 millions years ago? No, we don’t. Do we know that humans evolved? No, we don’t. Do we know that humans are a fallen race, lacking something integral to our beings? YES, we do. Death is not Natural, though it has since become a part of our nature. Evolution has never been a part of our human nature, as it has never happened to a well documented human and isn’t happening now. You ask us to refused to believe well witnessed and documented miracles, and then have us believe by faith alone a mythological shapeshifting which no one has ever witnessed.
    What warrant do we have for accepting everything “the scriptures” say as being , “Gospel”?
    As to that Toad, that is one of the primary reasons that the Catholic Church exists. And finally:

    This once again raises the question, when precisely is the dividing line that constitutes the fall?
    The dividing line is the Sin of Adam. Before Adam sinned, Man was unfallen. After he sinned, Man was fallen.

  40. toadspittle says:

    “What warrant do we have for accepting everything “the scriptures” say as being , “Gospel”?”
    As to that Toad, that is one of the primary reasons that the Catholic Church exists.”

    I’d suggest – The Habsburg Restuffinger – that even the most devoted and blinkered Catholic would regard that as an incredibly lame and circular answer.
    …But I’m probably wrong. Usually am.

  41. toadspittle says:

    “Do we know that humans evolved? No, we don’t.”
    Yes, we do.

  42. that even the most devoted and blinkered Catholic would regard that as an incredibly lame and circular answer.
    How so Toadl? Do you trust scientists with science? Why? How do we know that evolution* is not the invention of some man named Charles Darwin? In fact, we have more evidence for Christ's miracles than for evolution, to name one thing that some at CP&S take for granted. Indeed, five reliable accounts as opposed to the wild speculation of a man who never saw his theory actually happen.

    *I'm not saying evolution didn't happen, I just saying that we have no proof for it.

  43. “Do we know that humans evolved? No, we don’t.”
    Yes, we do.

    Well, someday you must show us how you managed to move beyond your present amphibious state, Toadl.

  44. johnhenrycn says:

    THR:
    You are right to say we don’t know that humans evolved, but then seem to contradict yourself by saying it (evolution) has never been part of our human nature and has never happened to a “well documented” [?] human and isn’t happening now. I’m not sure whether humans and other creatures evolve (although I am sure we are all hybrids), but what, in your view is a “well documented” human? Were Neanderthals as human as Homo Sapiens? They had an overlapping existence, as you know. Were do you draw the line between homonids and well-documented humans? I suggest that you/we don’t know where to draw that line, and if (mythic?) Adam had more in common with, for example, Homo Habilis or Homo Erectus (both tool makers, but not much else) than with Homo Sapiens, where does that leave your traditional conception of The Fall?

  45. You’re assuming that Homo Erectus and Homo Habilis were ancestors of Man, which there is no evidence for, if indeed the few fragments of deformed bones were ever even separate species. And what do you mean by hybrids? As for Neanderthals, they were just Humans, (just Homo Sapiens if you like) with certain hereditary features and defects.

  46. Gertrude says:

    Having read through the comments, finding them interesting, educational, perplexing and sometimes irrelevant to the post I just leave Pope Emeritus Benedict’s closing words:

    “Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.”

    Amen indeed.

  47. johnhenrycn says:

    THR:
    What did I mean by hybrids? Not purebreeds is all. No technical meaning intended.

    But I thought most biologists and anthropologists view Neanderthals as a separate hominid species that interbred with Homo Sapiens? If so, why not interbreeding between Homo Sapiens and other earlier hominids?
    http://www.thewire.com/technology/2011/09/it-wasnt-just-neanderthals-ancient-humans-had-sex-other-hominids/42117/

    …but yes, Gertrude is right – we’ve somehow lost the plot.

  48. JH,
    The problem with all that is that it’s Speculation, pure & simple, and what’s worse, speculation from a few fragments of deformed bones.

  49. JabbaPapa says:

    Did earthquakes happen before Original Sin, I wonder?

    Cripes, not this rubbish again …

    And are you really stooping so low as to use the currently ongoing death, destruction, and suffering in Nepal to make yet another pointless expression of anti-Catholic cliché ??

  50. GC says:

    Tom Fisher, April 29, 2015 at 14:27 :

    If the universe is how it is then we need to develop very good reasons for claiming that it was created by a being with the characteristics we ascribe to ‘God’.

    I’m interested in reading more about that. Any reading you could suggest?

  51. toadspittle says:

    GC: No doubt, “The God Delusion,” tackles this aspect (although, I haven’t read it myself.)
    http://shepherdproject.com/the-god-delusion-book-summary/
    Devotees of C.S. (“Protestant Jack”) Lewis, will advocate “The Problem of Pain.” (I will not.)

    “And are you really stooping so low as to use the currently ongoing death, destruction, and suffering in Nepal to make yet another pointless expression of anti-Catholic cliché ??”
    Sorry, Jabba – I didn’t realise Catholics had the monopoly on Original Sin.
    I do now.
    But, why don’t you personally, calmly, and briefly – explain, yet again, why God so often permits these horrible things to happen, instead of spluttering and seething?
    If you do, I promise I’ll never mention earthquakes again.
    (And I don’t have to “stoop low.” I’m a toad.)
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/01/nepal-earthquake-death-toll-passes-6000-with-thousands-still-missing
    Look! He’s stooping again!

  52. JabbaPapa says:

    But, why don’t you personally, calmly, and briefly – explain, yet again, why God so often permits these horrible things to happen, instead of spluttering and seething?
    If you do, I promise I’ll never mention earthquakes again.

    Past experience demonstrates that this is most likely a 100% empty promise.

    Not only does our Original Sin — our “knowledge of good and evil” — give us knowledge of evils, which knowledge is the cause and locus of the moral/spiritual/existential suffering that you allude to ; but the existence of Free Will in a world of sinners who are removed by this Sin from the perfect understanding of Truth that is in Heaven, and who thus, from their Sin, fail to have surety of understanding and agreement amongst themselves, simply because this Free Will is exercised in an environment containing both incomplete knowledge and direct falsehoods of opinion, cannot fail but to falsely, sinfully, ascribe notions of “evil” to various natural events that are often not actually evil at all (death is not intrinsically evil, but it is a part of the Natural Order of Creation, as it exists), due to the moral/spiritual/existential suffering that is the primary consequence of our Original Sin.

    Pain, and disease, and suffering, and grief are not evils in themselves, but we suffer from them and consider them as being evils as a direct result of our Sinful nature that provides this tendency to view these natural events via the prism of that moral/spiritual/existential suffering that is the direct result of that Original Sin.

    The proper attitude towards such a disaster as the earthquake in Nepal is compassion and charity towards the sufferings and the ongoing material needs of the people there ; it is NOT any sort of proper attitude to try and present these sufferings as if they demonstrated the validity of anti-Catholic propaganda of Voltairian origin and of little real pertinence towards anything actually Catholic.

  53. JabbaPapa says:

    As to why the Universe is ordered as it is ?

    That question is beyond my pay grade. Ask God ; He’s the only One who knows the answer.

  54. toadspittle says:

    Well, since you put it so beautifully, Jabba – I concede. Earthquakes are tip-top chaps. Can’t get enough of them, really.

    “As to why the Universe is ordered as it is?”

    This is nice:
    “All proofs or disproofs that we tender
    Of His existence are returned
    Unopened to the sender.”

    ..Auden. “Friday’s Child.” Quoted at the front of Sir Anthony Kenny’s marvellous little book (only 169 pages) “What I Believe.” Required reading for us all.

  55. GC says:

    Required reading for us all

    But then one wonders, Toad, what St Thomas Aquinas could have meant when towards the end of his life he reportedly said to Brother Reginald after offering Mass one day:

    Everything I have written seems like straw by comparison with what I have seen and what has been revealed to me.

    Kenny has spent a lot of his time on Aquinas’ straw proofs, hasn’t he, Toad?

  56. JabbaPapa says:

    But then one wonders what St Thomas Aquinas could have meant when towards the end of his life he reportedly said to Brother Reginald after offering Mass one day:

    All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me.

    The Presence of God and the Truth of the Revelation is of course infinitely greater than any theological musings.

  57. toadspittle says:

    “The Presence of God and the Truth of the Revelation is of course infinitely greater than any theological musings.”

    Very likely, Jabba. But “theological musing” is what we do on here, isn’t it? We have no option.
    Are Jabba and GC suggesting we take Aquinas’ comment literally, regard his writings as “straw,’ and proceed to ignore them? I think not.

    “Kenny has spent a lot of his time on Aquinas’ proofs, hasn’t he, Toad?”
    He certainly has, GC. Far more than you or I ever will. Let’s hope it wasn’t wasted, and that Sir Anthony might have been better employed trying to find the winner of The Kentucky Derby. But I think not on that one, as well.
    (Nice pic of Uncle Cyril. He would have been pleased, but he croaked.)

  58. GC says:

    Well, we’ll have to let Mr Aquinas tell us what he meant by straw and why, Toad. But since that could be a bit difficult to arrange, one guess could be that all he had previously reasoned out and had his secretaries write down seemed like a pale reflection of the “real thing”, of which he’d had some vision while saying Mass that day. And why wouldn’t it be?

    And that’s the best I could do for “straw”, Toad, on such short notice.

  59. toadspittle says:

    “…all (Aquinas) had previously reasoned out and had his secretaries write down seemed like a pale reflection of the “real thing”,”
    Well, everything, any of us writes down is a pale reflection of the real thing, isn’t it, GC? (Bit of Plato there) A description of an earthquake is a pale reflection, etc. etc,. A review of a Mel Gibson movie, likewise.

    But we are getting even more nowhere than usual here – with our pale reflections.
    So I will call it quits.

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