Home > Archives > 03 - 2007 > A lover of truth who comes from God in the service of the Church
from issue no. 03 - 2007

A lover of truth who comes from God in the service of the Church

by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo

The Pope’s eighty years, lived under the loving look of God, give the impression of the flowing of a river, with various and successive summonses in the kairós, the providential time of God.
Reading of the events of his life, which he himself has recounted and reflected on with simplicity and spontaneity, despite various difficult moments and different circumstances, one sees that his existence and his faith have been a great gift of God in his family.
The successive summonses, in the dialogue with the Lord, appear as different and complementary paths that gain new light in his present mission of Successor to Peter.
His childhood and youth unfolded into the Christian vocation with the call to the priesthood, in generous and convinced service to the Lord. In that time of prayer and of study the impassioned love for the truth emerged in a compact integration as priest and theologian. The believer and the priest, with great gifts as teacher and thinker, are united in a harmonious reality. His many books are like a great road open for the many people who have drawn nourishment from their depth and clarity. They are not about a cold academic exercise but an invitation to immerse oneself in the truth, through the closeness of the priest and later of the bishop. One does not read his writings without an inner persuasion: the desire to become more convinced, more Christian, with a similar charism to that of Romano Guardini, that is to make accessible and less complex topics that are not easy. It is already common to speak of doing theology on one’s knees, in prayer. And in this Cardinal Ratzinger was always a teacher of extraordinary depth.
I remember that during the apostolic visit of John Paul II to Colombia, in which I had the honor of being a part of the retinue, the Servant of God took advantage of the trip by plane and helicopter to read a book by his great collaborator. For many years this was an impressive fellow-feeling that certainly encouraged fruitful dialogue in the Church.
I would like to dwell on the first two years of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, in the mission that he accepted albeit his plan was to return to prayerful study, after making available his manifold talents as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church would be sufficient to demonstrate how great his devotion was.
There would be many aspects to consider, but I will linger on only one.
Already at the beginning of his mission as Universal Pastor, Benedict XVI said he did not have a special program, like those usually promised by politicians, ruling powers, etcetera. Being Successor of Peter, visible principle of communion, as head of the Church, goes to the very heart of his ministry, which he performs serenely, firmly, with the energies and courage that come to him from God. He is a witness to truth, that he sows faithfully with great hope. That is the widespread experience of many people who, despite the challenges of today, feel in his speeches and in his various messages, the clear transmission of the faith. This drives him, with the profundity of the theologian, into the ministry of a Magisterium that gives new evangelizing energies to the Church, freeing it from the temptations of a dehumanizing secularism distanced from God. This ministry of his is very striking, in harmonious continuity with his precursors but having a personal creative stamp, especially in regard to the family and to life, that are like a proclamation of the Gospel and amazement at its beauty, in his necessary defense out of love of mankind, its well-being in time, in history and also in the Four Last Things. We ask the Lord to long preserve this Pontiff who offers us the bread of the Eucharist and of faith with the clarity and wisdom of a catechist.
The Poliglotta Vaticana is preparing a book edited by the Pontifical Council for the Family on the Magisterium relating to the Gospel of the family and of life in these first two years of the fertile pontificate of the Holy Father. All with “parresía”, courage, evangelic decision.
Benedict XVI administering Baptism to a child

Benedict XVI administering Baptism to a child

Those who fancy that his teachings are an opinion, subject to various and, at times, curious interpretations, and that they can become a view to adopt if one wishes, are mistaken. The Pontiff has repeated several times that some values are not negotiable, especially those concerning the family and life, and not only for believers, but also for those who, through reason, access the truth about mankind, a truth that faith deepens by giving reasons for certainty and hope. There are no two different Magisteria in the Church and what the Pope proclaims with a pastor’s love is the certain way, that is not to be relativized. It is a fact that one notices in all the speeches he makes moved by the Spirit and they do not constitute undue interference in the political world.
The heart of the Pope, as servitor, has always been open to God, from whom the certainty of faith comes. The Pontiff is also attentive to dialogue with the world, with the different religions, with respect and fidelity to what the Christian identity demands. He has stirred an ardent desire for real ecumenism. In the Church of Jesus Christ there is the wealth of the communion among pastors, who recognize and admire the Pope as rock of the faith, in his full devotion to the flock entrusted to him, which he guides with love. And this seems to me the essence of the Petrine ministry (cf. Luke 22, 32). He has greeted with gratitude, for example, the proposals of the Synod, in the apostolic exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, that stresses the central role of the family, founded on matrimony, community of life and love, sanctuary of life, with decision, firmness and sweetness, aspects that derive from a deep human and Christian anthropology. The passages devoted to a precise eucharistic coherence that demands serious social responsibility, above all in politicians and lawgivers on the fundamental values, are a real service to them and to society.

Italiano Español Français Deutsch Português