The worldwide crisis of faith has entered a new phase of deterioration – Pope Benedict

In his address to the participants of plenary session of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity Pope Benedict XVI said that the worldwide crisis of faith has entered a new phase of deterioration with many people not even aware that the absence of God in their lives was a deprivation:

‘The spiritual poverty of many of our contemporaries, who no longer perceive the absence of God from their life as a deprivation, constitutes a challenge to all Christians. In this context, we believers in Christ are asked to return to the essential, to the heart of our faith, to bear witness together to the world to the living God, that is, to a God who knows and loves us, under whose gaze we live; of a God who expects the response of our love in everyday life.

 The commitment of Churches and ecclesial Communities to a renewed proclamation of the Gospel to today’s people is thus a cause of hope. Indeed, bearing witness to the living God who made himself close in Christ, is the most urgent imperative for all Christians, and it is also an imperative that unites us, in spite of the incomplete ecclesial communion that we still feel. We must not forget what unites us, namely, faith in God, Father and Creator, who revealed himself in the Son, Jesus Christ, pouring out the Spirit who gives life and sanctifies. This is the faith of Baptism that we have received, and is the faith that we can profess together in hope and charity. In the light of the priority of faith we also understand the importance of theological dialogue and conversations with the Churches and ecclesial Communities to which the Catholic Church is committed. Even when the possibility of the reestablishment of full communion cannot be glimpsed in an immediate future, they make it possible to perceive, as well as resistance and obstacles, also a wealth of experiences, of spiritual life and theological reflections that become an incentive for a witness ever more profound.

Protect the Pope comment: We need to face the reality that many of our contempories comes from familes that for generations have not had a living relationship with Christ, have no knowledge of the Gospel, and don’t even know that the absence of God from their lives is a tragic deprivation that frustrates their search for happiness and meaning. Their position is in fact worse than that of genuine pagans, because they often think they know what they are rejecting, when in fact they are rejecting a twisted caricature of the faith.

Pope Benedict is right that in the face of this unprecedented crisis we need to work with other Christians, but the problem with this is that many of the Protestant ecclesial communities have abandoned the apostolic faith and embraced the modernity that results in loss of faith in God. The gulf has grown so wide between the Churches who remain faithful to the apostolic tradition and these communities that reflect secular values that it is difficult to see how a deeper theological dialogue can be worthwhile or fruitful.

The Holy Father rightly exhorts us to concentrate on what unites us, particularly ‘faith in God, Father and Creator, who revealed himself in the Son, Jesus Christ, pouring out the Spirit who gives life and sanctifies.’ But can those communities that accept contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, and same-sex unions any longer be recognised as holding faith in God, Father and Creator, who revealed himself in the Son, pouring out the Spirit who gives life and sanctifies. Just because they say they share this faith doesn’t make it so. Their actions speak louder than their words when it comes to accepting Almighty God’s Lordship over human life.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2012/november/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20121115_chrstuni_en.html

38 comments to The worldwide crisis of faith has entered a new phase of deterioration – Pope Benedict

  • Joseph Matthew

    I hope we can work with some Eastern Orthodox Christians on most matters and some Evangelicals on life issues. But you are surely right : before inviting guests we need to clean out the house.

  • Michael Petek

    If there are any Christian denominations that officially accept same-sex unions, homosexuality and abortion, you can write them off up front.

    For those that accept divorce and remarriage – not excluding the Eastern Orthodox, see Malachi chapters 2 and 3.

    The importance of the contraception issue is easily underestimated, but it comes clearly into view once we recognise that it obstructs God’s exercise of sovereign power in creating new human beings.

    • I don’t understand why do you refer to Malachi chapter 2 and 3 regarding the Orthodox..Perhaps you could enlighten us??

      • Michael Petek

        The Eastern Orthodox allow a second and occasionally a third marriage during the life of a first spouse. It is said among them that the Church blesses a first marriage, allows a second tolerates a third and forbids a fourth. Malachi chapters 2 and 3 are about breaking faith with the wife of your youth. Go study!

        • Well Michael, I am afraid it is you who should spend more time in study. First of all, Malachi chapter 2 and 3 are not primarily about the mystery of marriage. It is about our relationship with God. Leaving the wife of your youth is an expression of this broken relationship with God. However, it would be wrong to suggest the Orthodox Church is happy to accept second and even third marriages. This is a gross and false misinterpretation. You are right the Orthodox Church allows the second and tolerates the third marriage…in theory!! In practice the Orthodox Church is quite strict in this regard and certainly a divorcee doesn’t have a “right” to marry for the second or the third time. The Orthodox Church allows the second and rarely third marriage, but it does so reluctantly and certainly such behaviour is not encouraged. Don’t forget even our Lord said it is allowed to divorce your wife if she committed the sin of adultery.

          • Anonymous

            Actually the Greek word Christ uses isn’t “adultery” but suggests a sexual sin such as marrying within the bounds of consanguinity. In other words, He was referring to an impediment to true marriage, which, if marriage appeared to be contracted, is grounds for annulment, not divorce.

  • Gurn

    Where to start with our culture is the question. I notice a total lack of understanding of basic beliefs especially in light of the C of E’s rejection of women Bishops. You often hear a sneering at the ‘Anglo Catholics’ because of tradition they hold to, little do people know that the Church existed before they New Testament was put into writing, in fact it was Church tradition that produced scripture and the Church itself is guided by the Holy Spirit, this is why Church tradition is important to Catholics and people totally unaware of this.

    They also scream and shout saying the Church should ‘move with the times’ being totally unaware of the issue of moral relativism, the is ought gap and objective morality. They also made the usual sideswipe at the Church’s teaching on sexual matters. There is a total lack of understanding here, teenagers are never given any answers to such things at Catholic schools either. Yet the Bishops continue to engage only on very superficial terms, pussyfooting around the issues in a very PR manner. It is just so boring and so unengaging.

  • Simon

    I see all the time the impact for those who do not recognise God in their lives. The impact that this has on their life and the choices they make. I cannot imagine the absence of God in my marriage and in my role as a father. Without God it is too easy to become ensnared in this secularised material world where money and the evasive search for pleasure becomes the god of people’s lives. I do see it as the role of the Catholic to evangelise and believe that the most effective way to do this is through personal witness as to how God has acted in my life and the strength gained from a personal relationship with a God of love and mercy. I do find it difficult to understand how full communion with other Christian Church’s can occur when many permit and even support the grave sin of abortion and do not recognise the sanctity of life from conception to natural end. This is one example where I struggle to see how full communion could take place and of course their are others. For me the catholic faith does not, and should never compromise on such truths.

    • Pedro

      “Without God it is too easy to become ensnared in this secularised material world where money and the evasive search for pleasure becomes the god of people’s lives.”

      I’ve seen many a “good Catholic” drive a flash car and many irreligious devote all their spare time to charity work. Religion and materialism don’t correlate in any way at all.

      • Pedro

        That’s no correlation, positive or negative.

        • Gurn

          That’s all very well. But please don’t tell me that you are one of those ‘there are exceptions to everything’ kind of person who then goes onto ignore all general trends because there are a few outliers. Just look at the decline of faith and the rise of marriage breakdown, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, impropriety and culture. You cannot ignore the correlation here.

  • Eric

    Inspiring words from the Holy Father. I love the way Nick manages to make his post about Gay marriage. Was that really central to this particular message from the Pope?

  • You are right Eric, it wasn’t the main point of His Holiness Benedikt XVI. However, deacon Nick rightly pointed out the horrible sin of sodomy as one of the most poisonous fruit of our post-Christian society. You should rejoice in a fact we still have brave priests who are not afraid to fight the evil.

    P.S. Along with sodomy, deacon Nick mentioned the murder of unborn babies…be fair.

    • Eric

      …well that is where we disagree.

      The statemment “the horrible sin of sodomy as one of the most poisonous fruit of our post-Christian society”

      ignores much worse things happening in the world. Are you really saying that what two people get up to in private is as bad as war, famine and genocide (or indeed as bad as abortion)?

      • Augustine

        VATICAN II ON CONSCIENCE

        “It often happens that conscience goes astray through ignorance which it is unable to avoid, without thereby losing its dignity.

        This CANNOT be said of the man who takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”

        (Vatican II: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World paragraph 16)

        Abortion is often the end result of “what two people get up to in private”. All of our actions whether in public or in private have consequences – on the individuals concerned, on the wider community and also on their relationship with Almighty God.

        Anyone sincerely seeking to find out what is true and good should read the Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 3: Life in Christ.

        • Eric

          Abortion is often the end result of “what two people get up to in private”

          I don’t think anyone ever got an abortion after having gay sex either in private or in public. And as for the impact on wider society – well there are undeiably some, but in teh main there are really more important things to worry about.

        • Augustine

          “It often happens that conscience goes astray through ignorance which it is unable to avoid, without thereby losing its dignity.

          This CANNOT be said of the man who takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”

      • Dear Eric, I would like to avoid a debate about what kind of sin is more evil. However, I hope you will agree with me that some sins are more evil than others. Sodomy is intrinsically evil. If you disagree with me..fine, you have a free will. But know also this – you don’t disagree withe me as such – you disagree with the whole Church. I agree with you that killing of unborn babies is one of the worst sins we as humanity commit- daily! The point is the sin of sodomy and killing of innocents are two main weapons of current diabolical attack on family as we know it. I have a sympathy for a repentant homosexual who sincerely fights his evil inclinations. I really do – but I don’t have sympathy for those who would like to impose their twisted view of human sexuality on others. That’s the real problem we are facing here.

        • Eric

          There is a huge distinction between an abortion and a gay marriage. With an abortion you have a third party involved – the innocent fetus. That makes it your business and my business. With gay marriage it is much more difficult to argue that it has anything to do with you unless it is your own marriage.

          • Wrong again Eric. Homosexual “marriages” have an impact on the whole society. The impact is normalization of sodomy and eradication of traditional values, including traditional family. As I said previously, the murder of unborn babies and sodomy are two expressions of the culture of death. I really do not understand your constant attempt to excuse inexcusable.

        • John Dare

          So will the new gay marriage laws make anal sex compulsary?

  • Ioannes

    On a recent TV discussion programme the recent CofE decision was aired. The consensus was that a) such discrimination on the grounds of sex was intolerable and b) ‘religious groups’ (not just the CofE) should no longer be exempt from ‘equality laws’ including the Sex Discrimination Act. No-one raised the obvious point that the UK Parliament, or for that matter, the US Congress, has no authority whatsoever to alter the Canon Law of the Roman Church, just as the Roman Church has no authority whatsoever to ordain women.

  • peter

    The Gay rights movement is really an equal rights for and celebration of practioners of sodomy movement. In my country, the USA, a small, rabid minority of sodomy rights advocates attempts to compare the sodomy rights movement to the civil rights movement. This small, radical, vocal minority of sodomy advocates feel justified in defining marriage to be a institution that must protect, glorify and celebrate a sexual deviation and codify that definition into law. When that happens, and it is happening in the states happens, this provides the legal justification for teaching the ligitimacy of sodomy based relationships in our schools- to do otherwise would be breaking the law of the land. Enter the culture of death. Practitioners of sodomy do not as a population live as long as practitioners of monogomous heterosexual, procreative sex within the confines of marriage. Prove me wrong! The life insurance industry has known this for years. Moreover, same sex intercourse will never produce one child. At 23 i bought the lie that my tendency to same sex attracion was normal and healthy. At age 29 I was diagnosed with HIV. At age 49 I am lucky go be alive. I am living the consequence of turning my back on God, and believing a lie; but for the grace of God and my conversion to the one true Church, I would be damned. Oh yes, I grew up in very liberal diocese (San Francisco) of the Episcopal church and was confirmed into that apostate church. All my choices were mine but I had plenty of support from the culture of death, even my “church” in making those wrong choices.

  • peter

    For those Catholics who find themselves bearing the cross of same sex attraction, I have found hope, support and friendhip within a the Courage group I attend. Chastity is the answer and there is help and support for a life devoid of sexual sin in the Courage Apostolate.

  • peter

    last post a little too in your face. I will work on telling the truth with love. I do admit surprise you did not post. When you ask for name, is that my first and last name?

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Dear peter, sorry for the delay in posting your first comment, which was fine. I’ve just got home after visiting friends for the weekend. Thank you for your testimony to the great work being done by Courage. First name is OK. Deacon Nick

    • John Dare

      Don’t worry about it Peter, we quite understand. I’m aware that many Amercians find British understatement difficult to get to grips with. You’ll be very much at home on this site.

  • peter

    hmmm rules of posting, not necessary to attack another church or denomination specifically? maybe that was the offense. thanks

  • Augustine

    agent provoateur

    “I really do not understand your constant attempt to excuse the inexcusable.”

    GK Chesterton rightly observed in the 1930′s that the next heresy would come not from Moscow but from Hollywood – meaning that the apostasy of the Modern Age would be caused by a rejection of the sixth commandment.

    The sixth commandment is of course about more than simply cheating on your spouse.

    Peter Hebblethwaite (ex-Jesuit and no fan of Humanae Vitae) wrote: “Paul VI was generally pooh-poohed when he said that the widespread availability of contraceptives ‘could open the way to marital infidelity and a general lowering of standards’…” (Peter Hebblethwaite: Paul VI, page 8)

    In the UK of 2012, we see Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” as fact not fiction.

    And as Paul VI was right about infidelity and the lowering of standards, perhaps his judgement was not so bad after all.

    But as Hebblethwaite also wrote: “Once the link between the procreative and unitive goals of marriage has been broken, it becomes more difficult to condemn buggery or bestiality.” (Hebblethwaite, ibid)

  • Augustine

    agent provoateur

    “I really do not understand your constant attempt to excuse the inexcusable.”

    GK Chesterton rightly observed in the 1930′s that the next heresy would come not from Moscow but from Hollywood – meaning that the apostasy of the Modern Age would be caused by a rejection of the sixth commandment.

    The sixth commandment is of course about more than simply cheating on your spouse.

    Peter Hebblethwaite (ex-Jesuit and no fan of Humanae Vitae) wrote: “Paul VI was generally pooh-poohed when he said that the widespread availability of contraceptives ‘could open the way to marital infidelity and a general lowering of standards’…” (Peter Hebblethwaite: Paul VI, page 8 )

    In the UK of 2012, we see Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” as fact not fiction.

    And as Paul VI was right about infidelity and the lowering of standards, perhaps his judgement was not so bad after all.

    But as Hebblethwaite also wrote: “Once the link between the procreative and unitive goals of marriage has been broken, it becomes more difficult to condemn buggery or bestiality.” (Hebblethwaite, ibid)

  • peter

    thanks… but looks like the courage post is waiting moderation. God bless you Deacon Nick

  • John Dare

    This thread seems to have become divorced from all sense of reality. You need to get our more folks.

  • John Dare

    Soz, should read ‘out’ of course.

  • Deacon Augustine

    Deacon Nick, well done for questionning the value of some of these “ecumenical” relationships. It is all very well to speak of “what we have in common”, but the sad truth is that Catholics had far more in common with Arians, Nestorians and Monophysites than we do with many of the modern-day heretical sects. Back then the Church didn’t curry favour with them – rather it condemned them for the danger they posed to souls. The poor old Nestorians were positively angelic compared to the sects that we deal with now.

    Perhaps if we had a proper fear of the possibility of damnation, we wouldn’t be so quick to lump Christ together with Belial – even in the uppermost reaches of the Church.

  • peter

    Dare I say, smug comments abound from the homeland- “lost all sense of reality”- specificty please. Mind you i have been warned and my Catholic sensibilities, dare I say radar, is keenly attuned to the smug assertions of moral relativists. This is very real Mr. Dare, Your head in the sand not withstanding.

  • John Dare

    Peter isn’t G W Bush in disguise is he? :)

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