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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

29 Years Ago Yesterday...

...Pope Paul VI, of happy memory, died. This quiet pope carried the Church on his shoulders during one of the most troubling times in all of human history. Overshadowed as he is by the greatness of his successor and his monarchical predecessors, Paul VI can be said to be the pope who kept the faith. Indeed, he may be said to be the pope who kept his head, that is, he maintained reason. In publishing, Humanae Vitae, he spoke with clarity and courage the truth about man as made in the image of God and took upon himself the assaults of the world--even of his own disobediant children. He was grieved at seeing the error into which fell many of his flock, but he was the rock, and the gates of Hell were not going to prevail against him. And so they didn't. Today we see that the Church, like a battering ram, is still thrashing against those very gates. To quote a Prince of the Church in 1969 defending the great encyclical:
For contemporary men who are restless and impatient and who are at the same time threatened in the sphere of their most fundamental values and principles, the Vicar of Christ recalls the laws which rule over this sphere. And since they lack patience and seek after simplifications and apparently easy solutions lie reminds them of the necessary price for true values and of how much patience and effort are necessary for the realization of these values. It seems that throughout all the arguments and appeals of the encyclical which are full of dramatic tension, we can hear the words of the Master: "by your endurance you will gain your lives" (Luke 21, 19). For in the last analysis that is precisely the point.

Christ is the Light that has come into the world; and at the height of the world's darkness, Paul VI was--and remains--a most powerful reflection.