03 June, 2005

Biffi remembers Antichrist Соловева; Martini and Benedict oblige Biffi

Jesus held firm on his affirmation, in all its reality, even when faced with the defection of many of his disciples (John 6.66). Indeed, he showed himself disposed to accept even the defection of his very apostles, so as to modify none of the concreteness of his discourse, asking: Perhaps you also want to leave? (John 6.67)
An amusing encounter of coincidences in words, documented in an article at www.chiesa (which is not however located at the website www.chiesa.whatever). The original Italian version is here. In a nutshell: Cardinal Biffi of Bologna remembers the Antichrist as described by the Russian philosopher Solovyev: a man schooled in Christianity who sought to "rise above" Christianity by uniting all religions in a feel-good spirituality.

Cardinal Martini miraculously obliges Biffi with just such a suggestion in a homily delivered on the anniversary of his consecration as bishop. The final words of Martini's homily are especially obliging:
Beyond ethnical, social, and even religious and confessional differences, humanity will discover its capacity to live together, to grow in peace, to defeat violence and terrorism, to overcome reciprocal differences. It is then that the message of God's grace will be fully manifest. [emphasis added]
A few weeks later, Pope Benedict provides a firm, but gentle rebuke to those of Martini's mind, with a homily combining the memory of martyrs with the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (see the quote above, from Benedict's homily).

While drawing such words together makes for an entertaining appearance of conflict, I doubt that we should give this coincidence of words the gravity that www.chiesa intimates. This is after all the press, and the press loves a fight, even where no fight exists. In particular, I am not so sure that Martini's words can be interpreted so clearly as the position of Solovyev's Antichrist; there is a big of ambiguity there.

By the way, while searching for the Vatican link, I also found this great quote by Benedict:
The true purpose of our journey is communion with God.
And another (from the first link):
We need a God who is close, a God who puts himself in our hands and who loves us.

No comments: