Saturday, April 21, 2007

Two articles for reflection

The following are two current articles from Zenit, a Catholic news source:

Panel Backs Hopes for Unbaptized Infants Who Die
Pope OKs Publication of Report on Limbo

Benedict XVI authorized the publication of a report that expresses the hope that babies who die without baptism are able to get to heaven. The report by the International Theological Commission, published (Friday), concluded that there are serious theological and liturgical grounds for the hope that such babies are saved and enjoy the beatific vision.

The commission says the theological hypothesis of "limbo" appeared to be based on an unduly restrictive view of salvation. The 41-page document noted this is an "urgent pastoral problem," especially because of the large number of unbaptized babies who die as victims of abortion.

The commission's documents are not considered official expressions of the magisterium. But the commission does help the Holy See to examine important doctrinal issues.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in No. 1261 explains: "As regards children who have died without baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. "Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,' allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without baptism. "

All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy baptism."
Here (are excerpts of) a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy…

Jesus' triple question is explained by his desire to give Peter the possibility of canceling out his triple denial of Jesus during the passion. God always gives men a second chance, and often a third, a fourth and infinite chances. He does not remove people from his book at their first mistake.

What does this do for us? His master's confidence and his master's forgiveness made Peter a new person; strong, faithful unto death. He fed Christ's faithful in the difficult moments in the Church's beginning, when it was necessary to leave Galilee and take to the roads of the world.

Peter will be able in the end to keep his promise to give his life for Christ. If we would learn the lesson contained in Christ's interaction with Peter, putting our confidence in someone even after they have made a mistake, there would be a lot fewer failures and marginalized people in the world!

The dialogue of Jesus and Peter should be transferred to the life of each one of us. St. Augustine, commenting on this passage of the Gospel, says: "Questioning Peter, Jesus also questions each of us." The question: "Do you love me?" is addressed to each disciple.

Christianity is not an ensemble of teachings and practices; it is something much more intimate and profound. It is a relationship of friendship with the person of Jesus Christ. Many times during his earthly life he asked people: "Do you believe?" and never "Do you love me?" He does this only now, after giving us proof of how much he loves us in his passion and death.

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