vrijdag, november 02, 2007

De memoires van Kardinaal Giacomo Biffi

Sandro Magister publiceerde recent enkele uittreksels uit de memoires van deze opmerkelijke kardinaal.
De volgende fragmenten liegen er niet om:
Over Johannes XXIII:
"We must look more at what unites us than at what divides." This statement, too - which today is often repeated and greatly appreciated, almost as the golden rule of "dialogue" - comes to us from the era of John XXIII, and communicates to us its atmosphere.

This is a practical principle of evident good sense, which should be kept in mind in situations of simple coexistence and for decisions on minor everyday matters.

But it becomes absurd and disastrous in its consequences if it is applied in the great issues of life, and especially in religious matters.

It is fitting, for example, that this aphorism should be used to preserve cordial relations in a shared dwelling, or rapid efficiency in a government office.

But woe to us if we let this inspire us in our evangelical testimony before the world, in our ecumenical efforts, in discussions with non-believers. In virtue of this principle, Christ could become the first and most illustrious victim of dialogue with the non-Christian religions. The Lord Jesus said of himself, in one of his remarks that we are inclined to censure: "I have come to bring division" (Luke 12:51).

In the questions that count, the rule can be none other than this: we must look above all at what is decisive, essential, true, whether it divides us or not.

Over Vaticanum II:
John XXIII yearned for a Council that would achieve the renewal of the Church not through condemnations, but using the "medicine of mercy." By abstaining from reproving error, the Council would by this very means avoid formulating definite teachings that would be binding for all. And in fact, it held consistently to this initial direction.
Was there not pastoral relevance in the clear statement that Jesus of Nazareth was God and consubstantial with the Father, as had been defined at Nicea? Was there not pastoral relevance in clarifying the realism of the Eucharistic presence and the sacrificial nature of the Mass, as happened at Trent? Was there not pastoral relevance in presenting the primacy of Peter in all its value and all its implications, as Vatican Council I had taught?

It is clear that the declared intention was that of placing special emphasis on the study of the best ways and the most effective means to reach the heart of man, without thereby diminishing positive consideration for the traditional magisterium of the Church.

But there was the danger of forgetting that the first and irreplaceable form of "mercy" for wayward humanity is, according to the clear teaching of Revelation, the "mercy of truth"; a mercy that cannot be exercised without the explicit, firm, steadfast condemnation of any distortion or alteration of the "deposit" of faith that must be safeguarded.

Tijdens het conclaaf op 15 april, 2005:
My state of mind and the dominant tone of may reflection emerges from the statement that, after great perplexity, I decided to make on Friday, April 15, 2005. Here is the text:

"1. After hearing all of the statements - correct, opportune, impassioned - that have been made here, I would like to express to the future pope (who is listening to me now) my complete solidarity, concord, understanding, and even a bit of my fraternal compassion. But I would also like to suggest to him that he not be too worried about what he has heard here, and that he not be too frightened. The Lord Jesus will not ask him to resolve all the world's problems. He will ask him to love him with extraordinary love: 'Do you love me more than these?' (cf. John 21:15). A number of years ago, I came across a phrase in the 'Mafalda' comic strip from Argentina that has often come back into my mind in these days: 'I've got it,' said that feisty and perceptive little girl, 'the world is full of problemologists, but short on solutionologists'.

"2. I would like to tell the future pope to pay attention to all problems. But first and most of all, he should take into account the state of confusion, disorientation, and aimlessness that afflicts the people of God in these years, and above all the 'little ones'.

"3. A few days ago, I saw on television an elderly, devout religious sister who responded to the interviewer this way: 'This pope, who has died, was great above all because he taught us that all religions are equal'. I don't know whether John Paul II would have been very pleased by this sort of elegy.

"4. Finally, I would like to point out to the new pope the incredible phenomenon of 'Dominus Iesus': a document explicitly endorsed and publicly approved by John Paul II; a document for which I am pleased to express my vibrant gratitude to Cardinal Ratzinger. That Jesus is the only necessary Savior of all is a truth that for over twenty centuries - beginning with Peter's discourse after Pentecost - it was never felt necessity to restate. This truth is, so to speak, the minimum threshold of the faith; it is the primordial certitude, it is among believers the simple and most essential fact. In two thousand years this has never been brought into doubt, not even during the crisis of Arianism, and not even during the upheaval of the Protestant Reformation. The fact of needing to issue a reminder of this in our time tells us the extent of the gravity of the current situation. And yet this document, which recalls the most basic, most simple, most essential certitude, has been called into question. It has been contested at all levels: at all levels of pastoral action, of theological instruction, of the hierarchy.

"5. A good Catholic told me about asking his pastor to let him make a presentation of 'Dominus Iesus' to the parish community. The pastor (an otherwise excellent and well-intentioned priest) replied to him: 'Let it go. That's a document that divides.' What a discovery! Jesus himself said: 'I have come to bring division' (Luke 12:51). But too many of Jesus' words are today censured among Christians; or at least among the most vocal of them."

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