Monday, October 09, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI: Commitment to truth opens the way to reconciliation


VATICAN CITY, OCT 9, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for a meeting of Australian bishops commemorating the 20th anniversary of John Paul II's visit to their country. The meeting was held in Alice Springs, Australia, from October 2 to 7.

In his Letter, written in English, the Pope indicates how recalling John Paul II's visit provides an opportunity to renew the aims and repropose the challenges he identified. These include faithfulness "to your worthy traditions," the capacity to "adapt your living culture whenever this is required," and above all the ability to open hearts "to the consoling, purifying and uplifting message of Jesus Christ."

"How," the Holy Father asks, "might these challenges be embraced when there is much that could lead to discouragement or even despair? As Jesus, during His time on earth, moved from village to village preaching the Good News of truth and love, He captured the attention of those who heard Him." He "made a deep impression because He taught them with authority. Indeed, every human community needs and seeks strong, inspiring leaders to guide others into the way of hope.

"Much rests therefore," he adds, "upon the example of the elders of communities. I encourage them to exercise authority wisely through faithfulness to their traditions, ... and most especially through a renewed expression of their deep awareness of God, made possible through the Good News of Jesus Christ."

Addressing young people, the Pope writes "keep alight the flame of hope and walk tall. ... Don't allow your 'dreaming' to be undermined by the shallow call of those who might lure you into the misuse of alcohol and drugs, as promises of happiness. Such promises are false, and lead only to a circle of misery and entrapment."

The Pope praises achievements "along the path of racial reconciliation," though warning that "there is still much to be accomplished. No one can exempt themselves from this process. While no culture may use past hurt as an excuse to avoid facing the difficulties in meeting the contemporary social needs of its own people, it is also the case that only through the readiness to accept historical truth can a sound understanding of contemporary reality be reached and the vision of a harmonious future espoused.

"I therefore again encourage all Australians to address with compassion and determination the deep underlying causes of the plight which still afflicts so many Aboriginal citizens. Commitment to truth opens the way to lasting reconciliation through the healing process of asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness - two indispensable elements for peace."

Indeed, a commitment to truth opens the way to reconciliation. It's not that the message of reconciliation doesn't grab young people anymore. It's that young people are hungry for the truth. A truth which paves the way for an authentic reconciliation with God and neighbor. The La Salette Missionaries should reflect upon this truth.


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