Friday, December 26, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI warns that the world is headed for ruin if selfishness prevails over solidarity

"If people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart."

- Pope Benedict XVI

"The human heart is constantly seeking good things that will make it happy; but if it seeks them from creatures, it will never be satisfied, no matter how many it acquires. If it seeks God alone, God will satisfy all its desires. Who are the happiest people in this world, if not the saints? And why? Because they desire and seek only God."

- St. Alphonsus de Liguori

The solution? Prudent education. Paragraph 1784 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that: "The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart."

Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, said that:

"The Church, like Jesus, has to go on denouncing sin in our own day. It has to denounce the selfishness that is hidden in everyone's heart, the sin that dehumanizes persons, destroys families, and turns money, possessions, profit, and power into the ultimate ends for which persons strive. And the church has also to denounce what has rightly been called 'structural sin:' those social, economic, cultural, and political structures that drive people onto the margins of society. When the church hears the cry of the oppressed it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to the misery from which the cry arises." (August 6, 1977.)

And: "To try to preach without referring to the history one preaches in is not to preach the gospel. Many would like a preaching so spiritualistic that it leaves sinners unbothered and does not term idolaters those who kneel before money and power. A preaching that says nothing of the sinful environment in which the gospel is reflected upon is not the gospel." (February 18, 1979)

And: "The church is obliged to demand structural changes that favour the reign of God and a more just and comradely way of life. Unjust social structures are the roots of all violence and disturbances. How hard and conflicting are the results of duty! Those who benefit from obsolete structures react selfishly to any kind of change." (November 1979).

Will we heed Pope Benedict XVI's warning? In San Salvador, Archbishop Romero was not heeded by those in power. And more than 60,000 people lost their lives. Will we choose solidarity or selfishness? Self-interest or justice?

1 comment:

Meredith said...

Selfishness is at the root of all disturbances and violence. God did not intend for some to have everything while others have next to nothing. Greed has crippled our entire culture. We see teenagers with cell phones and I-Pods and hugely expensive video games while adults - including veterans who have served this country in war) live on the street scrounging for their next meal. If that's not perverse, what is?

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