News in Church
Unlike the Jewish moral, the Christian proposes an unattainable goal: the perfection of the Father who is in heaven (Mt 5:48). On the road to life, the accurate and detailed signpost of the Torah, with its well-defined commandments, remains behind. In front it opens up the endless horizon of the perfection of the Father and the way toward him is to be invented.
The Torah revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, however, was not the final word of God. On the Mount of the Beatitudes, Jesus has recognized its validity, but, considering only one phase, he indicated a new goal, a more distant and boundless horizon: the perfection of the Father who is in heaven. The one who does not practice the new justice, vastly superior to that of the scribes and Pharisees, stops halfway and does not enter into the kingdom of God.
A wide-ranging sociological study commissioned by the Bayard group and published jointly by La Croix and Pèlerin sheds unprecedented light on the makeup of French Catholicism. The two authors have distinguished six profile types, which provide tools for understanding the logic of a Catholic world that is far more diverse than may have appeared.
Incredible but true: A nun in Nebraska who teaches in a secondary school has been told that she is not allowed to wear her habit in the classroom. 37-year-old, Sister Madeleine Miller, was shocked to learn that, under a little-known law nearly a century old, habits were banned.
“Today, there is no more faith. Once there was so much.” A wonderful parable of Jesus (Mt 25:31-46) reveals how God’s way of evaluating is different from ours. Instead of paying attention to religious practices, loyalty to the traditions, the scrupulous observance of rites, God is interested in concrete adhesion to his plan of love for people.
The Bible guarantees a paradox: true and lasting joy is born of commitment, renunciation, self-denial, sacrifice and accompanied by pain. “Now I am glad to suffer for you,” says Paul to the Colossians (Col 1:24). To persecuted Christians, James recommends: “My brethren, consider it as the greatest happiness to have to endure various trials” (Jas 1:2). And Peter recognizes: “You … rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy” (1 Pet 1:8).
For the pope, a world order based on the unlimited satisfaction of individual wants is unattainable, and the attempt to reach it destructive of the world around us, and of the peace of our inner worlds. As he wrote 18 months ago in his powerful encyclical on the environment: “When people become self-centred and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume.
The dream of God came true when a star appears in Israel, Christ the Lord, as the Lord has promised (Nm 24:17). His light drives away the darkness created by ancestral hates and convokes all the people in one family. This is the message of hope of the Epiphany, the feast of light.
Today's solemnity, Mary Mother of God, puts a deep theological focus on the Christmas celebration. Going back to our dogmatic theology, the study of the truths of the faith, we focus in on whom this Jesus is. By asking the who question, as distinguished from the what question, we are looking to the person of the Lord.