The U.S. media is in for a big disappointment this week — his holiness Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of allowing our secularized and largely agnostic media to set the agenda for his visit.
Unable to grasp either the real nature of or what motivates the holy father, the media sees both through the prism of their own misinformed world view: as being concerned solely with political and ethical questions, with bricks and mortar rather than the reality and destination of the human soul.
Matters of faith and reason that extend beyond this world are beyond their ken. They live and work in the here and now with nary a thought as to what lies beyond their narrow world.
Even the few among them who turn their thoughts to the eternal reality of a world unseen by human eyes and visible only through the light of faith tend to limit their understanding of what life is all about to the reality of their present existence in this realm. They do not see the reality of what awaits all human beings at the moment of their death.
They do not see the need to live a life that prepares us for that moment.
Benedict XVI is not here to deal with petty material matters that concern a minority of Catholics and most of the media such as the impossible ordination of women or to grovel before the angry crowd that is obsessed with the tiny minority of faithless priests who allowed their homosexual tendencies to overcome their vows of chastity and abuse teenagers.
He has pronounced his church's mea culpa and vowed his determination to root out the moral rot in the seminaries and the small part of the priesthood that led to this outrage.
Benedict XVI has come to the United States in furtherance of the sole mission of the Holy Roman and Apostolic Catholic Church he serves as the vicar of Christ: the salvation of souls.
As Brennan Purcell author of a magnificent new biography of the Pope "Benedict of Bavaria" has observed “Faith in Jesus Christ and fidelity to the message of the Gospel lie at the heart of Benedict XVI’s identity. While other great minds have drifted into the realm of speculative theology, Ratzinger drew upon his study of history, philosophy, and theology to make the case that sacred truths do not change, that what the Church has taught from the beginning is still true today,”
That is why the Pope has come to this country: to proclaim those ageless and sacred truths anew, and to use them to help revivify the faith of the Roman Catholic faithful and all Christians and arouse us from the moral slumber our out-of-control materialism as lolled us into.
All the rest — our indolence in practicing our faith, the lukewarm attention a sizeable number of priests and their bishops pay to the words of the Magistarium that ancient doctrine informs us are divinely inspired, the need to rein in those Catholic politicians who openly violate the ancient belief in the sanctity of all human life, the sanctity of marriage and the question of the legitimacy of the war in Iraq fit into the category St. Thomas Aquinas called "ut palea" (loosely: nothing but straw).
Salvation of souls is all that matters.
Benedict understands that the only role of the Church and the Papacy is to provide the faithful with the means by which eternal salivation may be attained. Those means have remained unchanged for 2000 years. For Catholics they reside within observation of the seven sacraments — gifts bestowed by Jesus Christ to enable us to live lives of holiness that will prepare us to partake in the divine mercy which allows us sinners to achieve unmerited salvation.
He answers Pilate's question, "Quid est veritas? (What is truth?)
"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Jesus Christ is the personified truth who attracts the world to himself. The light that shines out from Jesus is the splendour of the truth. Every other truth is a fragment of the truth that he is, and refers to him."
Benedict XVI is here to remind us that our cherished freedom exists solely within the framework of faith in Jesus Christ, creator and savior. Without him, democratic freedom cannot effectively serve humanity.
"Jesus is the pole star of human freedom: Without him it loses its sense of direction, for without the knowledge of the truth, freedom degenerates, becomes isolated and is reduced to sterile arbitration. With him, freedom is rediscovered, it is recognized to have been created for our good and is expressed in charitable actions and behavior.
"Therefore, Jesus gives men and women total familiarity with the truth and continuously invites them to live in it. It is truth offered as a reality that restores the human being and at the same time surpasses him and towers above him, as a mystery that embraces and at the same time exceeds the impulse of his intelligence."
That is what Benedict has come to tell us.
Sorry ladies and gentlemen of the media, his holiness' agenda is far different than yours. Stubborn pontiff that he is, he just won't dance to your discordant tune.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s.
He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
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