Thursday, July 31, 2008

CANTERBURY & ROME? Cardinal Kasper's words . . .

IT'S WHAT WE HAVE SAID SINCE 1992 - and the so-called "liberal catholics" (sadly, both Anglican and Roman!) consistently told us we were wrong.

Well, yesterday at the Lambeth Conference, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that the Catholic Church believes its position on both sexuality and the ordination of women is “deeply rooted in Scripture.”

According to ZENIT, he went on:

“A clear declaration from the Anglican Communion [on sexuality] would offer us greater possibilities to provide a common testimony on human sexuality and matrimony, a testimony painfully necessary for the world of today.”

He also said that the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate “substantially and definitively blocks a possible recognition of Anglican orders by the Catholic Church.”

The cardinal recalled Church teaching that the practice of ordaining only men comes directly from Christ, and the Church is not in a position to change it.

As a result of women’s ordination, “full, visible communion, as the objective of our dialogue, has taken a step backward, [so] that our dialogue will have less defined objectives and, therefore, its nature will be changed.

“Though this dialogue can still produce good results, it will not be supported by the dynamism that comes from the realistic possibility of the union that Christ demands of us or of the common participation at the table of the one Lord, which we desire so ardently.”

Never mind all those Anglicans and all those Roman Catholics who have prayed, worked, and dialogued towards reunion, or those of us who were ordained into a church that had already solemnly and publicly committed itself to the vision of the Malines Conversations and reiterated by Pope Paul VI, that is, that as Anglicans we would be "united but not absorbed."

Never mind that even Archbishop Robert Runcie, who on a number of occasions described Anglicanism as a "provisional way of being Christian", signed a declaration with Pope John Paul II as recently as 1989:

" . . . Against the background of human disunity the arduous journey to Christian unity must be pursued with determination and vigour whatever obstacles are perceived to block the path. We here commit ourselves and those we represent to the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the confidence that to seek anything less would be to betray our Lord's intention for the unity of his people."

The extreme liberals in the Anglican Communion have destroyed the dream. Not OUR dream. Along with our leaders back then, we believed - and still believe - it to be the dream of Jesus himself.

The damage has been done.

We must still believe and pray toward unity, because that is what God wants. Sadly, it will not happen until well into the future, contrary to the expectation of those - on both sides - who inaugurated the ARCIC talks.

Anyway, for old times' sake, here are some of the memories:

Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Robert Runcie entering Canterbury Cathedral together.

Praying together at the nave altar.

Having signed the declaration . . .

". . . We are agreed that it is now time to set up a new international Commission. Its task will be to continue the work already begun: to examine, especially in the light of our respective judgments on the Final Report, the outstanding doctrinal differences which still separate us, with a view towards their eventual resolution; to study all that hinders the mutual recognition of the ministries of our Communions; and to recommend what practical steps will be necessary when, on the basis of our unity in faith, we are able to proceed to the restoration of full communion . . ."

The entire document is HERE.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How many CHURCHGOING Anglicans does Lambeth represent?

A lot of things have been said over the last few months about just who represents whom in the Anglican world. GAFCON, for example, is pilloried by the media and the leadership at Lambeth as a "breakaway" movement.

But, is this right?

Already some journalists are beginning to realize that while the Lambeth Conference might have a large number of bishops in attendance, those bishops actually represent a SMALL MINORITY of the world's Anglicans.

I have done some informed arithmetic, and the result is surprising.

When provinces such as Nigeria count "Anglicans" they mean those who actually go to church. In the First World the number of "Anglicans" includes those who are "C. of E." but who never darken the door of a church, many of whom are plainly not even "believers" in any real sense of the term. Now, I'm not saying that they don't matter, that we don't love them, that we don't have a ministry to them, or that they're they're not distantly related to us.

What I AM saying is that we should compare apples with apples, so as to avoid the figures being skewed (and perhaps grossly exaggerated) by the inclusion of "non-practising" or "nominal" Anglicans in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, increasingly in South Africa, and even, I'm told, Brazil.

In Australia, for example, there are just under 4 million Anglicans, according to the last census (2006). But we know that the National Life Church Survey puts attendees on any given Sunday at 180,000. (Even that figure is skewed in terms of the real picture when the disproportionate chunk of Sydney Diocese is taken into account!)

However, to get a true comparison, let's subtract from 75 million the estimated number of "nominal" Anglicans:

24 million (Eng)

3.8 million (Aust)

3.2 million (others in New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa, Brazil etc) and you get . . .

44 million Anglicans who actively identify with their church on Sundays.

Of those, 39 to 40 million are the "Global South", AND WERE MOSTLY REPRESENTED AT GAFCON.

Only 4, maybe 5, million come from liberal "First World" Anglicanism.

So . . .

39 million (GAFCON) as against 5 million (Lambeth).

That should put the Lambeth Conference in its place!

So . . . WHO are the "breakaways"?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

World Youth Day - A Blessing for Australia!

Apart from the mean-spirited whingeing miserable "liberal" Catholics who with the aid of the ABC (our national broadcaster) are still trying to adapt the Church to their memory of the 1960s (supported loudly by liberal Anglicans, other liberal protestants and the anti-religion faction in our society), the people of Sydney in particular, and Australia in general, overwhelmingly found themselves swept up in the spirit of the World Youth Day celebrations.

Sydney is my home town, although I haven't lived there for 28 years, and I was so proud and excited that the breathtaking beauty of its harbour and other landmarks has been seen by the world in a new way. The city itself became a stunning sacred shrine for the most amazing experience of the Stations of the Cross, televised to an estimated half billion people around the world.

I managed to view the telecast of the Mass celebrated by Cardinal Pell at Barangaroo on the shore of the harbour, as well as most of the Stations of the Cross. Those responsible for the liturgical planning have to be congratulated for seamlessly blending the old and the new. The juxtaposition of modern music, hymns and even Gregorian chant was skilfully done, and the altar arrangements and ceremonial (there and in the final Mass) made it quite clear that "catholic-lite" is becoming a thing of the past!

The pilgrims themselves represented the breadth of the Catholic Church, and demonstrably ranged from those with charismatic renewal backgrounds to communities who worship with the 1962 Latin Missal, and everyone in between. But clearly, as Cardinal Pell once quipped, "These days it's hard to find a so-called 'progressive Catholic' under 50!" On the whole, the youth who have remained or who have been evangelised in recent times want the REAL Gospel, the REAL Faith and the REAL Jesus!

And that's who Pope Benedict proclaimed. He didn't patronise the youth by dumbing down what he had to say. Indeed, some admitted to the media that they would have to re-read particular addresses in order fully to digest what he was saying. But the pilgrims from all over the world expressed their love and affection for the Holy Father throughout the week. And they were reverently and expectantly hushed as he spoke to them of their role in the Church and the wider community over the decades ahead.

The Traditional Anglican Communion had at the very least two official pilgrims. Ray Eyles, a professional media man and retired TV producer from our Mermaid Beach parish covered World Youth Day for The Messenger, and recently ordained Fr Stephen Hill from Patmos House (slightly more youthful than Ray!!!) took time off to be part of it all.

In St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney (19/7/2008)

Randwick Racecourse, Sydney (20/7/2008)

Randwick Racecourse, Sydney (20/7/2008)

Randwick Racecourse, Sydney, the Altar (20/7/2008)

Pope Benedict gave a number of addresses, including the following:

At his welcome by the young people at Barangaroo, Sydney Harbour (17/7/2008):

"Dear Young People,

"What a delight it is to greet you here at Barangaroo, on the shores of the magnificent Sydney harbour, with its famous bridge and Opera House. Many of you are local, from the outback or the dynamic multicultural communities of Australian cities. Others of you have come from the scattered islands of Oceania, and others still from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Some of you, indeed, have come from as far as I have, Europe! Wherever we are from, we are here at last in Sydney. And together we stand in our world as God’s family, disciples of Christ, empowered by his Spirit to be witnesses of his love and truth for everyone."
Click HERE to read the whole address.

At his meeting with a group of disadvantaged young people of a rehabilitation community (18/7/2008):

". . . All through the Gospels, it was those who had taken wrong turnings who were particularly loved by Jesus, because once they recognized their mistake, they were all the more open to his healing message. Indeed, Jesus was often criticized by self-righteous members of society for spending so much time with such people.

“Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?”, they asked. He
responded: “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick … I did not come to call the virtuous but sinners” (cf. Mt 9:11-13). It was those who were willing to rebuild their lives who were most ready to listen to Jesus and become his disciples. You can follow in their footsteps, you too can grow particularly close to Jesus because you have chosen to turn back towards him. You can be sure that, just like the Father in the story of the prodigal son, Jesus welcomes you with open arms. He offers you unconditional love . . ."
Click HERE to read the whole address.

To the pilgrims gathered for the Vigil at Randwick Racecourse on the Saturday night (19/7/2008):

"Once again this evening we have heard Christ’s great promise – 'you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you'. And we have heard his summons – 'be my witnesses throughout the world' – (Acts 1:8). These were the very last words which Jesus spoke before his Ascension into heaven. How the Apostles felt upon hearing them, we can only imagine. But we do know that their deep love for Jesus, and their trust in his word, prompted them to gather and to wait; to wait not aimlessly, but together, united in prayer, with the women and Mary in the Upper Room (cf. Acts 1:14). Tonight, we do the same. Gathered before our much-travelled Cross and the icon of Mary, and under the magnificent constellation of the Southern Cross, we pray. Tonight, I am praying for you and for young people throughout the world. Be inspired by the example of your Patrons! Accept into your hearts and minds the sevenfold gift of the Holy Spirit! Recognize and believe in the power of the Spirit in your lives!"
Click HERE to read the whole address.

Homily at the Final Mass at Randwick Racecourse (20/7/2008):

". . . this power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift. God’s love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church. Prayer is pure receptivity to God’s grace, love in action, communion with the Spirit who dwells within us, leading us, through Jesus, in the Church, to our heavenly Father. In the power of his Spirit, Jesus is always present in our hearts, quietly waiting for us to be still with him, to hear his voice, to abide in his love, and to receive 'power from on high', enabling us to be salt and light for our world.

". . . Dear young people, let me now ask you a question. What will
you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the 'power' which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make . . ."
Click HERE to read the whole homily.

Finally, I was not the only one to have been deeply moved by the Holy Father's Angelus Address following the Mass. Here it is in full:

"Dear Young Friends,

"In the beautiful prayer that we are about to recite, we reflect on Mary as a young woman, receiving the Lord’s summons to dedicate her life to him in a very particular way, a way that would involve the generous gift of herself, her womanhood, her motherhood. Imagine how she must have felt. She was filled with apprehension, utterly overwhelmed at the prospect that lay before her.

"The angel understood her anxiety and immediately sought to reassure her. 'Do not be afraid, Mary…. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you' (Lk 1:30, 35). It was the Spirit who gave her the strength and courage to respond to the Lord’s call. It was the Spirit who helped her to understand the great mystery that was to be accomplished through her. It was the Spirit who enfolded her with his love and enabled her to conceive the Son of God in her womb.

"This scene is perhaps the piv
otal moment in the history of God’s relationship with his people. During the Old Testament, God revealed himself partially, gradually, as we all do in our personal relationships. It took time for the chosen people to develop their relationship with God. The Covenant with Israel was like a period of courtship, a long engagement. Then came the definitive moment, the moment of marriage, the establishment of a new and everlasting covenant. As Mary stood before the Lord, she represented the whole of humanity. In the angel’s message, it was as if God made a marriage proposal to the human race. And in our name, Mary said yes.

"In fairy tales, the story ends there, and all 'live happily ever after'. In real life it is not so simple. For Mary there were many struggles ahead, as she lived out the consequences of the 'yes' that she had given to the Lord. Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her heart. When Jesus was twelve years old, she experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when, for three days, the child went missing. And after his public ministry, she suffered the agony of witnessing his crucifixion and death. Throughout her trials she remained faithful to her promise, sustained by the Spirit of fortitude. And she was gloriously rewarded.

"Dear young people, we too must remain faithful to the 'yes' that we have given to the Lord’s offer of friendship. We know that he will never abandon us. We know that he will always sustain us through the gifts of the Spirit. Mary accepted the Lord’s 'proposal' in our name. So let us turn to her and ask her to guide us as we struggle to remain faithful to the life-giving relationship that God has established with each one of us. She is our example and our inspiration, she intercedes for us with her Son, and with a mother’s love she shields us from harm."

Let's all pray for the pilgrims, that, empowered by these days of conversion, celebration and spiritual renewal, they will, as Pope Benedict said, use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to build the church and world of the future.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mary of Magdala

Mary Magdalene belonged to the inner circle of the Lord’s disciples. “Magdalene” indicates the place of her birth, Magdala, a town in Galilee, on the west shore of the Lake of Tiberias.

At a time of great need in her life Jesus healed her of evil spirits and disease. In fact we read that he had driven seven demons out of her (Mark 8:2).

I don’t really want to buy into the age-old debate as to whether or not Mary Magdalene was the prostitute who received new life from Jesus, or the one who in loving thanksgiving for sins forgiven poured rare perfume worth $35,000 (i.e. 300 days’ wages) over his feet.

We DO know, however, that Mary Magdalene spent the rest of her life serving the Lord.

She was one of the women who travelled with Jesus around the countryside, supporting his ministry with her own funds (Luke 8:1-3). She was part of the tiny sorrowful community at the foot of the cross, close to Jesus as he died. When most of the other disciples fled, she followed as the body of Jesus was taken to the tomb and watched as the stone was rolled into place (Matthew 27:55-61).

Mary Magdalene hurried back to the tomb on Sunday morning with spices and perfume to care for the body of Jesus. That’s when she found the stone rolled away and encountered him, risen from the dead, in the garden. She carried the Easter message to the other followers of Jesus, becoming the “apostle to the apostles” (John 20:1-18).

Here is part of the famous homily on St Mary Magdalene by Pope Gregory the Great (590-604), taken from today's Office of Readings:

"She longed for Christ, though she thought he had been taken away When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them.

"The text then says:
The disciples went back home, and it adds: but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb. We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away.

"And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved. At first she sought but did not find, but when she persevered it happened that she found what she was looking for. When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger, and becoming stronger they take hold of their object. Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation, and if they do not grow they are not really desires. Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a great love.

"As David says:
My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says: I was wounded by love; and again: My soul is melted with love. Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She is asked why she is sorrowing so that her desire might be strengthened; for when she mentions whom she is seeking, her love is kindled all the more ardently.

"Jesus says to her: Mary.
Jesus is not recognised when he calls her “woman”; so he calls her by name, as though he were saying: Recognise me as I recognise you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognises who is speaking. She immediately calls him rabboni, that is to say, teacher, because the one whom she sought outwardly was the one who inwardly taught her to keep on searching."

whose blessed Son did call and sanctify Mary Magdalene
to be a witness to his resurrection :
Mercifully grant that by thy grace
we may be healed of all our infirmities,
and always serve thee in the power of his endless life,
who with thee and the Holy Ghost
liveth and reigneth one God,
world without end. Amen.

Go HERE for a Canadian sermon on St Mary Magdalene.

Go HERE for a great set of resources to help you get your head around the Da Vinci Code and other fanciful nonsence regarding St Mary Magdalene.

And, finally, from her blog, details of Amy Welborn's book on St Mary Magdalene:

Amy Welborn

Are you interested in an objective examination of the life and lore of Mary Magdalene, a narrative that isn't agenda-driven or saturated with ideology?

Do you just want to learn more about Mary Magedalene's identity and role in Christian spirituality, literature and art?

I wrote this book for you.

There's a great deal of material out there on Mary Magdalene, it's true. Some of the scholarly material is really fine, but too many of the books for popular audiences are informed by one ideology or another, or fall completely into fantasy.

In De-coding Mary Magdalene I stick to the facts - what we know about Mary Magdalene from the Gospels, and then how Christian tradition in both East and West continued to meditate on the figure of Mary Magdalene, seeing in her the model disciple - and weaving all kinds of fascinating legends around her as well.

Here's the bottom line: The Da Vinci Code propogates the lie that Christianity through the ages marginalized and demonized Mary Magdalene as a "whore" in order to minimize her impact.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Mary Magdalene was the second most popular saint of the Middle Ages. And do catch that word - saint - Honoring someone as a saint (feastday July 22) is a truly odd way of "demonizing" a person. Don't you think?

So - come meet Mary Magdalene - as she comes to us in the Gospels, as Christians imagined her through the ages as they contemplated her fidelity and discipleship, and how some contemporary interpreters get her so completely wrong.

Table of Contents

* Mary of Magdala
* "Why Are You Weeping?
* The Real Mary?
* Apostle to the Apostles
* Which Mary?
* The Golden Legend
* Touching the Magdalene
* To the East
* The Penitent
* Mary and the Mystics
* The Magdalene in Art
* Rediscovery

Go HERE to purchase the book.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back again . . . in time for St Lawrence of Brindisi!

I do apolgise to those who look at this blog regularly for the absence of any posts over the last 17 days. When the blog began, it was as a vehicle of inspiration - something positive - and not a means of participating in the ongoing theological and political disputes among Anglicans. So over the last couple of weeks while these disputes have been to the fore, necessitating a good deal of reflection with others on the outcome of GAFCON and then the surprisingly rabid anti-catholic C. of E. GENERAL SYNOD, together with a surge of local pastoral matters, and my absence for some days, I've only today returned to the blog. In due course I WILL provide an article with links to some of the helpful responses to both Gafcon and the General Synod.


(1 Corinthians 9:16)
Today in the Calendar we celebrate the work of God's grace in the life and ministry of St Lawrence of Brindisi. Born at Brindisi, in the kingdom of Naples in 1559, he was educated by the conventual Franciscans there and by his uncle at St Mark's in Venice. When sixteen, he joined the Capuchin Order at Verona. After further studies at the University of Padua (in theology, the Bible, French, Greek, Syriac, German, Hebrew, and Spanish) he was ordained to the priesthood. He taught theology, and he served as a military chaplain and linguist. (He was asked to lead the German army into battle against the Turks and did so successfully, carrying only a crucifix!)

In 1602
Lawrence was elected Vicar General of the Capuchins. He was a successful Diplomat on peace missions to Madrid and Munich. He preached powerfully in all of the languages he knew, and wrote a number of instructions on the Faith. Eyewitnesses say that Lawrence would kneel in prayer to write his sermons and that he journeyed on foot from one European capital to another, singing hymns to Our Lady.

In 1618 Lawrence retired from worldly affairs to the friary at Caserta. But he was recalled to travel to Spain so as to smooth out some problems with King Philip thereby averting a bloody uprising. This journey in the sweltering heat of summer exhausted him, and he died a few days after his meeting with King Philip at Lisbon on 22nd July 22, 1619.

Lawrence's main writings are his nine volumes of sermons. He was canonized in 1881, and Pope John XXIII proclaimed him to be a Doctor of the Church in 1959.

Here is a famous passage about preaching the Word. It is from the writings of St Lawrence, and is, in fact, included in the Office of Readings for today:


There is a spiritual life that we share with the angels of heaven and with the divine spirits, for like them we have been formed in the image and likeness of God. The bread that is necessary for living this life is the grace of the Holy Spirit and the love of God. But grace and love are nothing without faith, since without faith it is impossible to please God. And faith is not conceived unless the word of God is preached. Faith comes through hearing, and what is heard is the word of Christ. The preaching of the word of God, then, is necessary for the spiritual life, just as the planting of seed is necessary for bodily life.

Christ says: The sower went out to sow his seed. The sower goes out as a herald of justice. On some occasions we read that the herald was God, for example, when with a living voice from heaven he gave the law of justice to a whole people in the desert.

On other occasions, the herald was an angel of the Lord, as when he accused the people of transgressing the divine law at Bochim, in the place of weeping. At this all the sons of Israel, when they heard the angel's address, became sorrowful in their hearts, lifted up their voices, and wept bitterly. Then again, Moses preached the law of the Lord to the whole people on the plains of Moab, as we read in Deuteronomy. Finally, Christ came as God and man to preach the word of the Lord, and for the same purpose he sent the apostles, just as he had sent the prophets before them.

Preaching therefore, is a duty that is apostolic, angelic, Christian, divine. The word of God is replete with manifold blessings, since it is, so to speak, a treasure of all goods. It is the source of faith, hope, charity, all virtues, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the beatitudes of the Gospel, all good works, all the rewards of life, all the glory of paradise:
Welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you.

For the word of God is a light to the mind and a fire to the will. It enables man to know God and to love him. And for the interior man who lives by the Spirit of God, through grace, it is bread and water, but a bread sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, a water better than wine and milk. For the soul it is a spiritual treasure of merits yielding an abundance of gold and precious stones. Against the hardness of a heart that persists in wrongdoing, it acts as a hammer. Against the world, the flesh and the devil it serves as a sword that destroys all sin.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Orthodox C of E Bishops in Rome Talks

This report is from today's TELEGRAPH in London. It has been known for some time that different configurations of Anglican Catholics (including the TAC) have been in serious conversation with Rome about the possibility of an "Anglican church in full communion" against the backdrop of the accelerating disintegration of first world Anglican churches under so-called "liberal" leadership.

"Senior Church of England bishops have held secret talks with Vatican officials to discuss the crisis in the Anglican communion over gays and women bishops. They met senior advisers of the Pope in an attempt to build closer ties with the Roman Catholic Church, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

"Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was not told of the talks and the disclosure will be a fresh blow to his efforts to prevent a major split in the Church of England.

"In highly confidential discussions, a group of conservative bishops expressed their dismay at the liberal direction of the Church of England and their fear for its future . . .

Go to the article HERE.

For an article I wrote two years ago about the TAC and Rome go HERE.

Friday, July 4, 2008

St Paul's world - not so different to ours

St Paul preaching in Athens (Raphael)

At his General Audience in Rome two days ago, Pope Benedict XVI began a new series of talks on the person and teaching of St. Paul. This first one deals with the historical background to St Paul.

"The Apostle Paul, an exceptional and virtually inimitable yet stimulating figure, is before us as an example of total dedication to the Lord and his Church, as well as of great openness to humanity and its cultures. It is just, therefore, that we reserve a particular place for him, not only in our veneration, but also in an effort to understand what he has to say to us, Christians of today, as well.

"In this, our first meeting, I would like to pause to consider the environment in which he lived and worked. Such a topic would seem to take us far from our time, given that we must insert ourselves in the world of 2,000 years ago. And yet, this is only apparently and partly true, because it can be verified that in many ways, the socio-cultural environment of today is not so different than that of back then.

For the rest of Pope Benedict's address, go HERE.