In this remarkable editorial from Catholic World Report, the words of the Holy Father describe the world accurately, while utterances of the confused echo aimlessly in the halls of relativism.
“Pope Benedict XVI delivered an important meditation at the beginning of the October Synod of Bishops for the Middle East. The meditation addressed the “false divinities” that govern modern times. Though the Holy Father did not speak explicitly in the meditation about the media-labeled “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West, a topic central to many of the Synod’s discussions, his remarks apply to that struggle and offer the only real solution to it.
“The world suffers under two destructive idols, he suggested in the meditation, one from the East that assumes the form of false religion, one from the West that takes the form of no religion. Both idols must fall under the advance of true religion, which alone comes from the Son of God:
“Let us remember all the great powers of the history of today. Let us remember the anonymous capital that enslaves man which is no longer in man’s possession but is an anonymous power served by men, by which men are tormented and even killed. It is a destructive power that threatens the world. And then there is the power of terroristic ideologies. Violent acts are apparently made in the name of God, but this is not God: they are false divinities that must be unmasked; they are not God. And then drugs, this power that, like a voracious beast, extends its claws to all parts of the world and destroys it: it is a divinity, but a false divinity that must fall. Or even the way of living proclaimed by public opinion: today we must do things like this, marriage no longer counts, chastity is no longer a virtue, and so on.
“These ideologies that dominate, that impose themselves forcefully, are divinities. And in the pain of the saints, in the suffering of believers, of the Mother Church which we are a part of, these divinities must fall. What is said in the Letters to the Colossians and to the Ephesians must be done: the domination, the powers fall and become subjects of the one Lord Jesus Christ.”
“The “clash of civilizations” is at bottom a clash of irrational ideologies: a distorted faith without reason in the East advances upon a culture of distorted reason without faith in the West. Modernist commentators propose that the two find peace in “pluralism” and other articles of man-made faith, but Pope Benedict can see that secular humanism provides no resolution to the conflict at all. It is just one more false divinity.
“Peace will grow in proportion to the East finding Christ and the West rediscovering him. It is this diagnosis of the global crisis that contributes to the Pope’s urgency in calling for Middle Eastern Christians to preserve the faith in embattled lands. Inspired by his meditation, several Middle Eastern bishops spoke eloquently about the need for a continued Christian witness and presence in Muslim-dominated countries, despite the severe persecution Catholics endure in many of them.
“Unfortunately, not all the bishops in attendance at the Synod grasped the meaning of the Pope’s words. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, one of two US representatives at the Synod, sounded more interested in winning conversions for modern liberalism than for Christ. Secular missionary activity appeals to Mahony far more than Catholic apologetics. While he would never dare call Islam a false religion, he is anxious to evangelize Muslims in the merits of pluralism, feminism, reciprocity, and UN-decreed human rights.”