The Catholic Beat has a report on
a recent address given by Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, at the
Athenaeum of Ohio/Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West this past
Wednesday. The address was the Athenaeum’s annual Le Blond Lecture; in
it, Archbishop DI Noia emphasized that
the Church today faces one over-arching problem and must combat it with one message.
The problem, he said, “internal secularization” not a fight from
without by the forces of secularization, but a fight from within the
Church and indeed within each Catholic, as secular ideas become the
unquestioned way of thinking about the world.
The many Catholics who live together before (or instead of) marriage,
or who scatter the ashes of the dead or keep them on their mantles
rather than burying them, exemplify this problem, he said. They don’t do
these things in defiance of the Church, they do them without any
comprehension that they are morally wrong. They have lost their
underlying sense of what is sacred.
“It is a very big mistake to blame the culture,” he said. “The culture is inside.”
And though the New Evangelization called for by Popes John Paul II
and Benedict XVI (and even by Paul VI) has many tasks, +Di Noia says its
main task is to communicate the message “that the Triune God, for
reasons utterly mysterious and unknowable, desires communion with
creaturely beings that God desires this more than anyone has ever
desired anything” and that only Christ and His Church can bring about
“We have nothing else to say but that,” he said. “Nothing else to offer.”
The Archbishop further noted that the messagethe good news, or gospelof real and
transforming communion with the Triune God is unique among all
religions, even other monotheistic religions.
Even Protestants fail to deliver it,
focusing instead on rescue from sin. “Rescue for what?” he
said. For communion with God through Christ by means of the Church. It
is that communion, and that alone, that will restore people to their
correct relationship with God.
Read the entire report on The Catholic Beat website. The longer quote about communion with God brings to mind the opening paragraph of the Catechism, which is, I think, the interpretive key for that magisterial text:
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer
goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life.
For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to
man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his
strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into
the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the
fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In
his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit,
his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. (CCC, par 1)
Read more on the USCCB site.