Commentary on PCJP Note

The following article was published by the international news service Lifesite News,  27 October, 2011

Michael O’Brien comments on Vatican call for ‘world financial authority’

There is, apparently, much that is good in the “Note on Financial Reform…” from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.  However, while its author(s) seem to draw upon the fundamental principles of the major social encyclicals of the past 120 years, the problem is what they do with the material. In short, they take it and run wild with it:

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Are We Living in Apocalyptic Times? (part 1)

The question is a volatile one and leaves plenty of room for a vast amount of commentary and interpretation. Indeed, our times seem to be rife with wildly differing interpretations of the meaning of the book of Revelation. In addressing our topic tonight, I hope to make a contribution to what should always be a sober discussion, yet is so often otherwise. Even so, I suppose that everything I am about to say on the matter this evening could be summed up in a single word: Yes.

Yes, we are living in apocalyptic times. But this needs qualification. The Church, the sacred scriptures, the saints, the approved mystical apparitions, all speak about the end times within the context I would like to lay before you.

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Pope Benedict at Auschwitz

 

To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass crimes were committed against God and man, is almost impossible —and it is particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a Pope from Germany. In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can only be a dread silence — a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?

In silence, then, we bow our heads before the endless line of those who suffered and were put to death here; yet our silence becomes in turn a plea for forgiveness and reconciliation, a plea to the living God never to let this happen again.

Twenty-seven years ago, on June 7, 1979, Pope John Paul II stood in this place. He said: “I come here today as a pilgrim. As you know, I have been here many times. So many times! And many times I have gone down to Maximilian Kolbe’s death cell, paused before the execution wall, and walked amid the ruins of the Birkenau ovens. It was impossible for me not to come here as Pope.”

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