Saturday, October 29, 2005

Revealer of Man

Man cannot live without love.

He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.

This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself".

If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. ...The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being-he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must "appropriate" and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. ...[T]he name for that deep amazement at man's worth and dignity is the Gospel, that is to say: the Good News. It is also called Christianity. This amazement determines the Church's mission in the world and, perhaps even more so,"in the modern world".

John Paul II: Redemptor Hominis 10
Image: Guercino 'Christ With the Woman Taken In Adultery'

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A picture is worth a thousand words

First Go Here

Then read this, courtesy of my sister.

Well, guys, I guess we're busted. Now everyone knows that we really went to WYD for the drugs, rock n' roll, and orgies. Should we flee to Europe where no one will know what kinky things we are doing, or just go public officially now? I'm open to suggestions. I must admit it would be a relief to get rid of the three normal outfits left in my wardrobe and just go completely punk from now on. And Deathstripper will be sooo glad he can finally meet the family.

Actually, that's not us in the photograph. I almost wish it were. I never had that much fun at World Youth Day, though maybe if I had thought of a conga line I would have. And I certainly would never wear horizontal stripes.

Unfortunately, it is indisputable that any number of unfortunate antics take place at World Youth Day. I think part of it is because Europe is much more uninhibited in general about things like nudity and public displays of affection, and part of it is because today's youth are badly catechized, (if at all). It's a shame. There are people who don't go to WYD for the religious part at all. But to say that this is the norm rather than the exception, or that misbehavior is all the event is about is very far from the truth.

What is not depicted by these people is crowds of beautiful, vibrant religious in full habit. Or churches and catechetical sites crammed with pilgrims in prayer. Or the hours-long lines for confessions, or the cheerful sacrifice of big hungry young men who have to go without dinner. Or people kneeling in the mud in the middle of the night at Eucharistic Adoration; some of the same people, I might add, who were 'making out' on the lawn the afternoon before, and who I, for one, will not presume to judge. (Don't get me started on the "preventing bad instincts" part. Instincts are by definition neither good nor bad, but the other underlying assumptions are too insulting to dignify with a response. Antiquated and unhealthy attitudes only make these things worse.)

This Tradition In Action site is a trip.
"Cardinal Wojtyla in (gasp!) casual dress!" (see side)
"Bishop plays drums in (horrors!) a nightclub!"
"Conservative seminarians dance samba in Brazil!"
(You wouldn't expect them to be doing the Watusi there, now would you? And would it be better or somehow worse if they were liberal? I don't get it.)"
Nun dances with priest, performing obscene poses"
(For the record, that would be a swing arial that includes (gasp!) body contact: these people need to get out more).
"Young women hula dance for the Pope"
(Hula is an ancient cultural tradition. Would doing the Llandler for the Pope be inappropriate? Got a problem with people who aren't dead white Europeans?)

Which all begs the question: just whose tradition are we talking about here? I thought the Church was universal. I also thought it embraced other cultures and people who are under the age of 55. And I did get the distinct impression that holiness was a very joyful and even, dare I say, liberating experience. Though karl Keating's Jansenism comment was interesting, I have a feeling these same folks have been around even longer than that. Some of their reasoning is distinctly familiar:
"Messiah appears on earth in swaddling clothes!"
"Jesus Christ caught turning water into wine at wedding!"
"Galilean shares meal with tax collector!"
"Jew caught talking to Samaritan! Wait: there's more! She's also a woman!"
" Man healed by Jesus jumps up and runs off stark naked!"
"Healer sued! Read claims of Geserene pig farmer inside..."
"Christ's shocking connection with prostitutes!"

Gets a little old after 2000 years, doesn't it?

Images: Cathedral Square, Cologne, World Youth Day, 2005
Cardinal Wojtyla on a picnic outside of Krakow, 1975