Re-write: A message on peace to all Catholics — as the pope might wanted to tell us but did not

Rewrite

Here is my re-write of the pope’s speech, because I think he could have done it shorter, simpler (with a lot less difficult words I otherwise needed a thesaurus for) and with a more clear focus on the main elements.

Bold is added to make clear where the emphasis needs to be when the speech is given and where a new topic begins.

You can find the original transcript here.

And by the way: his statements about Gay marriage are not new. See here in the Daily Mail, January 2012

“Blessed are the peace makers” — As the pope might have wanted to do it

Dear fellow Roman Catholics — and the rest of the world.

The Roman Catholic Church  is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Its bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles and the Pope is the sole successor to Saint Peter who has apostolic primacy.

Therefore I can say, with thankfulness to God and bliss in my heart, that only we hold a full understanding of the will of God and the teachings of Jesus.

I want to make a call to the peace makers. I want to thank the peace makers. I want to bless the peacemakers.

The peacemaker, according to Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke,  is the one who seeks the good of the other, the fullness of good in body and soul, today and tomorrow.

The world is in trouble and it is not getting better. We have seen many events lately that only increase our worries that we, humans, are forgetting what it is all about and what Jesus taught us and what for and why He gave His life for us.

We need common sense. We need peace. We need a peace according to the values as Jesus Christ himself conveyed them to us via Matthew and Luke. A peace that is based on true compassion, on love for the good in others on bringing out that good in others. We need the schools on our side for this peace, the law-makers, the policy makers, the politicians. We need a common sense.

Problems. There are several things that hinder the process of peace and peace making today. And while I can not address them all, I want to address some of them here, today.

The lack in knowing the true will of God. Peace concerns the human person as a whole, and it involves complete commitment. It is peace with God through a life lived according to his will.

Many people who claim to be peace-makers do not know the true will of God. They either follow false gods or question or deny the existence of God at all. These people can only bring false peace: a peace that does not reflect the true will of God and the message and values as brought by our holy savior, Jesus Christ.

The disrespect for human life. Human life already starts at the moment of inception. To allow this life to be taken is murder. To end a life of a human being by human hands — even if this is at the very explicit request of that human being — is not happening with God’s approval. Abortion and euthanasia are a disrespect for human life. They are murder and do not follow proper Catholic or Christian values. They do not reflect God’s will and — by the very corruption of basic moral human values — threaten the process of peace.

The undermining of human dignity. All offenses against life itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and willful suicide; all are violations of the integrity of the human person. That human dignity which is rooted in being created in the image and likeness of God. The human dignity that springs from human agency and free will.

Same sex marriage. Hear this. The doctrine of the Catholic Church explicitly states that: “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring”.

Same-sex marriage allows for legal sex without the purpose of procreation, is unnatural in nature and does not reflect our vision on the holy institute of marriage: which is a bond between a man and and woman sealed by god. Homosexual acts are contrary to natural law and they are sinful. They are not divinely intended to be unitive and procreative. They do not proceed from a genuine, affective and sexual complementarity.

These principles are not truths of faith. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. They form an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.

Same-sex marriage and the allowance of same-sex marriage therefore hold two immediate dangers: (1) the corruption of the holy concept of marriage and (2) a direct threat to the traditional family unit. That same family unit which is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and states.

Radical liberalism and technocracy. The ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy have lead to a de-humanization of labor, the promotion of greed and the creation of several crisis in the world market.  We cannot continue to believe that economic growth should be pursued even to the risk of damaging and even destroying a state’s social responsibilities towards the people and a damage to civil society’s networks of solidarity, together with the undermining of people’s social rights and the undermining of the social duties of the state and the people. One of these social rights most under threat today is the right to work.

The undermining of religious freedom. Religious intolerance is becoming more and more present, leading for instance to the bombings of Christian Churches, endangering the very right to freedom of religion itself. People should be free and allowed to bare witness of their beliefs, making its teachings known to others, teach these beliefs at school and engage in benevolent fields and charity works.

Sadly, even in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, instances of religious intolerance are becoming more numerous, especially in relation to Christianity and those who simply wear identifying signs of their religion.

Fundamentalists.  Peace is endangered by those forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism which distort the true nature of religion and which is about — among other things — fostering fellowship and reconciliation among people.

War is bad, but not necessarily a threat against the natural state of marriage or an offense to life. While we consider war and the threat of war a threat against peace, we do not consider war specifically to be a threat against the natural state of marriage, nor do we explicitly consider war an offence to life. In general — apart from the fact that war is bad for the process of peace — we will not have a specific opinion on this specific topic.

To reach a true peace. There are several elements that play a crucial role in the strive for peace. To reach a true peace. I will name the most important ones today.

A (Catholic) Christian Family. The family is and always has been an important cornerstone in the process of peace-building and peace making. The first thing I want to press to your heart: make sure you fight for your right to teach morality and religion. This must be safeguarded. Not all countries are lenient against the Christian religions. Do not let yourself be intimidated by that. It is in the family that peacemakers, tomorrow’s promoters of a culture of life and love, are born and nurtured. Understand that — specifically — the Christian and, more specifically, the Catholic family hold something that is unique and special: a proper understanding of divine love as taught by our savior Jesus Christ.

(More) Children. Maybe now, more than ever, it is relevant to think about the promotion of life. Ask yourself. Is one child enough? Two children? We need children. More children.  As said before: it is in the family that peacemakers are born and nurtured.

(Christian/Catholic) Education. Make sure children get the right education. Proper education and a proper education of the right values are crucial. A good understanding of Gods will is essential for the process of peace and peace making. Make sure schools teach a proper view on the values that play a crucial role in the process of true peace-making. By this I specifically mean: the values and the truth as given by our savior Jesus Christ and according to the doctrine of the holy Catholic Church.

(Christian/Catholic) Peace makers and pedagogy of peace. It is all about the peace makers. You, us. Your children. It is important — as stated before — that these peace-makers understand the proper values. And the only proper values are those from the doctrines of Roman Catholic Church. All other values and beliefs — following false idols — will create a false peace: which dulls consciences and which leads to self-absorption, to a withered existence lived in indifference. The proper Catholic pedagogy of peace, instead, implies activity, compassion, solidarity, courage and perseverance.

Refusing laws and measures that undermine human dignity. Another important way to help build peace is for legal systems and the administration of justice to recognize and use the right to refuse laws or government measures that offend against human dignity.

(Christian/CatholicPolitics and law. Help politicians and law-makers understand that things like abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage are fundamentally wrong and are undermining human dignity. That they undermine the process of peace making. Help them change their mind. Help them incorporate a Christian point of view that promotes and protects life in all its forms, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death as God intended and that protects the sanctity of marriage in the way God intended it.

Evangelization. We cannot allow the denial of what makes up the true nature of human beings in its essential dimensions: its intrinsic capacity to know the true and the good and, ultimately, to know God himself. This denial jeopardizes peacemaking. Without the truth about man inscribed by the Creator in the human heart, freedom and love become debased, and justice loses the ground of its exercise. So we need to remind the world, the entire world, the schools of this world, all the people of this world who Jesus was according to the Roman Catholic Church and what his true message embodied.

We need to take action. And this is your call to action.

It is your duty as a Christian and as a human being to go out and change the world. In the name of peace.

Let us now go in prayer.

End of the re-write

Short set of comments

I tried to stay as close and true to the original speech as possible. It is possible I misunderstood some things. Especially the part on “Children”. When the pope states:

The family has a natural vocation to promote life: it accompanies individuals as they mature and it encourages mutual growth and enrichment through caring and sharing. The Christian family in particular serves as a seedbed for personal maturation according to the standards of divine love. The family is one of the indispensable social subjects for the achievement of a culture of peace. The rights of parents and their primary role in the education of their children in the area of morality and religion must be safeguarded. It is in the family that peacemakers, tomorrow’s promoters of a culture of life and love, are born and nurtured.

I take it that “the promotion of life” in combination with “the natural vocation of the family” means something like this: fuck and make a lot of babies (within your marriage). Note in this the added and extra recommendation: “It is in the family that peacemakers, tomorrow’s promoters of a culture of life and love, are born and nurtured.”

When I write: “Understand that — specifically — the Christian family hold something that is unique and special” I simply rephrase ” The Christian family in particular serves as a seedbed for…”

Claim of ownership on God and knowing God

I added the following two sentences in the very beginning to make clear what view the Pope has on God and his relationship with God when he makes his speech:

The Roman Catholic Church  is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Its bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles and the Pope is the sole successor to Saint Peter who has apostolic primacy.

Therefore we are the only ones who can truly say we understand the will of God.

The Roman Catholic is not mystic or vague about that. See this Wikipedia page for the original definition below:

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world’s largest Christian church, with more than one billion members worldwide. It is among the oldest institutions in the world and has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilisation. The Catholic hierarchy is led by the Pope and includes cardinals, patriarchs and diocesan bishops. The Church teaches that it is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ, that its bishops are the successors of Christ’s apostles and that the Pope is the sole successor to Saint Peter who has apostolic primacy

When talking about “true peace” and “according to God’s will” they (probably) assume that they — due to their special status — are the only ones who really know what that God’s will is.

The lack of knowing the true will

The denial of what makes up the true nature of human beings in its essential dimensions, its intrinsic capacity to know the true and the good and, ultimately, to know God himself, jeopardizes peacemaking. Without the truth about man inscribed by the Creator in the human heart, freedom and love become debased, and justice loses the ground of its exercise. To become authentic peacemakers, it is fundamental to keep in mind our transcendent dimension and to enter into constant dialogue with God, the Father of mercy, whereby we implore the redemption achieved for us by his only-begotten Son. In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures.

We will find references to false peace, also related to idols. Idols are very generically images/objects representing God or a god. Or a false God.

Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenceless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.

[…]

There is a need to renounce that false peace promised by the idols of this world along with the dangers which accompany it, that false peace which dulls consciences, which leads to self-absorption, to a withered existence lived in indifference. The pedagogy of peace, on the other hand, implies activity, compassion, solidarity, courage and perseverance.

I assume talking about idols we take them in the broadest sense.

Gays / same sex marriage

Same-sex marriage undermines the concept as the Church sees it. God created the marriage and the marriage is a bond between man and woman. No doubt there is a better source than this, but Wikipedia:

 Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians and many Anglicans consider marriage termed holy matrimony to be an expression of divine grace.

The Roman Catholic tradition of the 12th and 13th centuries defined marriage as a sacrament ordained by God […]

The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring;

On same-sex (sexual) relations:

The Catholic Church considers human sexual behavior to be sacred, “when properly expressed”. The Church considers homosexual behavior to be ‘sinful’ because “sexual acts, by their nature, are divinely intended to be both unitive and procreative”

On same-sex marriage:

The Roman Catholic Church argues from a theological perspective against recognizing same-sex unions. According to Catholic moral doctrine, acts of sexual intimacy are only proper between a man and a woman within wedlock. Secular government recognition of any other union within the definition of “marriage” would therefore reflect a belief in the moral equivalence of acts between a husband and wife and acts between two men or two women; this belief is contrary to Catholic doctrinal teaching.

Same-sex marriage causes serious harm to justice and peace

From the transcript:

These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.

While most follows the transcript, I made this one up myself to add some extra drama to the whole: “It leads people away from the truth and true understanding of the will of God.”

Call to action/evangalization

The call to action made by the pope comes back in this quote, almost in its full form. From the transcript:

Religious communities are involved in a special way in this immense task of education for peace. The Church believes that she shares in this great responsibility as part of the new evangelization, which is centred on conversion to the truth and love of Christ and, consequently, the spiritual and moral rebirth of individuals and societies. Encountering Jesus Christ shapes peacemakers, committing them to fellowship and to overcoming injustice. Cultural institutions, schools and universities have a special mission of peace. They are called to make a notable contribution not only to the formation of new generations of leaders, but also to the renewal of public institutions, both national and international.

In other words: Christians, there is work to do. We MUST educate peace. We have a NEW EVANGALIZATION. It is OUR responsibility for Peacemakers to encounter Jesus Christ (by means of conversion).

True peace and false peace/pedagogy of peace

The pope mentions “false peace” several times. One example:

There is a need to renounce that false peace promised by the idols of this world along with the dangers which accompany it, that false peace which dulls consciences, which leads to self-absorption, to a withered existence lived in indifference. The pedagogy of peace, on the other hand, implies activity, compassion, solidarity, courage and perseverance.

False peace is destructive. It dulls consciences, leads to self-absorption and so on.

Abortion and euthanasia threatening peace

From the transcript:

Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.

What about war?

What about war? War is mentioned once. Here:

In effect, our times, marked by globalization with its positive and negative aspects, as well as the continuation of violent conflicts and threats of war, demand a new, shared commitment in pursuit of the common good and the development of all men, and of the whole man. It is alarming to see hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism. In addition to the varied forms of terrorism and international crime, peace is also endangered by those forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism which distort the true nature of religion, which is called to foster fellowship and reconciliation among people.

Strangely enough, in this speech, sending soldiers to war is not considered an offence to life (or murder) and a threat to the “natural structure of marriage” (when you kill the father of a child in war, that child will grow up without that father).

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