Friday, March 22, 2013

John Allen: "Francis Vows to Press Benedict's Fight vs. 'Dictatorship of Relativism' " [UPDATED]

As I type this, heads are no doubt exploding at the publication for which John Allen works. Allen, who writes the only column I bother reading at NCReporter, has this report today:
For those tempted to draw an overly sharp distinction between Pope Francis and his predecessor, the new pope offered a clear reminder Friday that he may have a different style than Benedict XVI, but on substance, he's cut from much the same cloth.

In a speech to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See on Friday, Francis lamented not only the material poverty of the early 21st century but also its "spiritual poverty," meaning a rejection of God and objective standards of morality.

In that regard, Francis quoted Benedict's famous critique of a post-modern "dictatorship of relativism," delivered during a homily for the Mass in 2005 that opened the conclave that elected him pope.

Here's the text of what the Holy Father said:
... As you know, there are various reasons why I chose the name of Francis of Assisi, a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith. One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.

But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the “tyranny of relativism”, which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth...
God bless Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI!

(Hat tip: Elizabeth Scalia)

Be sure to read Robert Moynihan's "Letter #56: Holding to Benedict" on this topic:
Folks, Pope Francis has done it.

He has taken his stand.

He did it this morning, about three hours ago.

And his stand is with… Pope Benedict, his predecessor, with whom he will meet tomorrow.

The importance of Francis’s words today cannot be overestimated.

Francis today took his stand with the essential spiritual vision of Pope Benedict...

[Read the whole thing]
(emphasis in original)

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