John Paul II Refutes Deepest Prejudice Against Christianity

POPE JOHN PAUL II

The prejudice of prejudices dominant at the end of the century is against Christianity in general, and the message of the Catholic Church in particular and concerns the temptation to reduce the Gospel to an ethical system, complete with prohibitions and impersonal precepts, but devoid of love.


Today John Paul II addressed what could be considered as the prejudice of prejudices that is dominant at the end of the century against Christianity in general, and the message of the Catholic Church in particular: the temptation to reduce the Gospel to an ethical system, complete with prohibitions and impersonal precepts.

With only three months left before the advent of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the Pope dedicated his traditional Wednesday meeting with the faithful, which on this occasion was held in a newly restored St. Peter's Square, to the primary objective of this historical event: conversion.

Ethics and Love; Love and Ethics. In speaking about conversion, the Holy Father necessarily addressed the topic of “Christian Ethics.” But, from the very beginning, he wished to dispel any misunderstandings. Morality in the Gospel “is totally concentrated on the commandment of love.” Without love Christianity and its ethics, are absolutely incomprehensible.

After going over very moving passages of the Old Testament, in which God expresses his love for man in pages brimming with tenderness, not because of his merits, but only because he exists, and in spite of his weaknesses and infidelities, the Pope reflected on Jesus' revolutionary message that culminated in the words pronounced just hours before he was crucified: “See what great love the Father has given us, that we should be called sons of God, and we really are!” (1 John 3,1).

Christianity is not an ideological conversion, therefore, is not living a series of soulless precepts. “The profound conversion Christianity proposes is a real experience of God,” the Pope clarified. Christianity is not an ideology; it is a personal encounter with Christ. The most consoling effect of this encounter “is, precisely, the certainty that, this everlasting and overwhelming love with which God loves us (means) he will never abandon us.”

The Holy Father ended his address by coining a phrase that summarizes the depth of Christian ethics: “The new heart, which loves and knows, beats in unison with God, who loves with an everlasting love.” ZE99100606

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

VATICAN CITY, OCT 7 (ZENIT).-

ZENIT is an International News Agency based in Rome whose mission is to provide objective and professional coverage of events, documents and issues emanating from or concerning the Catholic Church for a worldwide audience, especially the media.

Copyright © 1999 ZENIT


Subscribe to CERC's Weekly E-Letter

 

 

Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.