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Papal letter to order of preachers for their general chapter
Made public today was a Pontifical Letter from Pope John Paul to Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, ...
Recalling that one of the first tasks the Order received at its foundingwas responding to the Albigensian heresy, "a new form of the recurrentManichaean heresy ... at whose core there lay the denial of theIncarnation," the Pope writes, "To respond to this new form of the oldheresy, the Holy Spirit raised up the Order of Preachers, men who would bepre-eminent in their poverty and mobility in the service of the Gospel."
"It is clear that the ancient afflictions of the human soul and the greatuntruths never die but lie hidden for a time, to reappear later in otherforms," he continues. "We live in a time marked in its own way by a denialof the Incarnation. For the first time since Christ's birth 2000 years ago,it is as if He no longer had a place in an ever more secularized world. Notthat He is always denied explicitly; indeed many claim to admire Jesus andto value elements of His teaching. Yet He remains distant; He is not trulyknown, loved and obeyed."
Pope John Paul writes that the consequences of denying the Incarnationare "clear and disturbing. In the first place the individual's relationshipwith God is seen as purely personal and private, so that God is removedfrom the processes that govern social, political and economic activity.This in turn leads to a greatly diminished sense of human possibility."
The Pope, continuing to list the consequences of denying the Incarnation,adds, "When Christ is excluded or denied, our vision of human purposedwindles; and as we anticipate and aim for less, hope gives away todespair, joy to depression. There also appears a profound distrust ofreason, and of the human capacity to grasp the truth, indeed the veryconcept of truth is cast into doubt. ... Life is not valued and loved,hence the advance of a certain culture of death, with its dark blooms ofabortion and euthanasia. The body and human sexuality are not properlyvalued and loved; hence the degradation of sex which shows itself in a tideof moral confusion, infidelity and the violence of pornography."
"In such a situation," the Letter concludes, "the Church and theSuccessor of the Apostle Peter look to the Order of Preachers with no lesshope and confidence than at the time of your foundation. The needs of thenew evangelization are great, and it is certain that your Order ... mustplay a vital part in the Church's mission to overturn the old untruths."
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