(Rome) It was the 16th of August 1977 almost exactly one year before he was to be elected John Paul I as pope. At the Feast of St. Rochus, Patriarch Albino Cardinal Luciani of Venice held a sermon, calling the then Archbishop of Munich-Freising, just starting out in his office and elevated to Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger, as a "true prophet". He called the future Pope Benedict XVI. even the only example of a true prophet, which he opposed to the "false prophets."
Then the Patriarch spoke of the Prophet Elijah and the desire of Catholics, even today, for a powerful prophet. Luciani quoted the Apostle Paul, not to despise prophecies (1 Thess 5,20), but beware of those "prophets" who wish to subvert the gospel of Christ: "For there is no other gospel, there are some a few who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But those who preached to you another gospel than we have preached unto you, let him be accursed, even if we ourselves or an angel from heaven." (Gal 1,7-8).
Cardinal Luciani continues:
"Even before St. Paul the Lord himself already had warned: Many false prophets will arise and will deceive many" (Mt 24,11). In the Old Testament God lamented, 'I haven't sent these prophets, yet they run; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesy' (Jer 23: 21). The Bible reminds us of the prophets of Baal in the ungodly time of Jezebel and Jehu (see 1 Kings 18;. 2 Kings 10.19 to 25); it also reminds us of the house and court prophets who were concerned mainly to prophesy so that they had great favor with kings rather than God (1 Kings 22).
I think to be able to conclude that there is prophecy; that you can learn much from some prophets; that one but if you do not know to distinguish, can also can experience great setbacks.
A few days ago I congratulated Cardinal Ratzinger, the new Archbishop of Munich in a Catholic Germany, which he regretted as a part infested of an anti-Roman and anti-papal complex, he had the courage to declare publicly that 'the Lord is there to be sought where Peter is'.
Others do not seem to be prophets, but smugglers: they use the post from which they occupy to the impersonate the teachings of the Church, which in reality is their personal opinion or a distorted ideology very different or doctrine disapproved by the Magisterium of the Church. According to their speaking and writing, Jesus' resurrection a pure invention of his disciples who, after they had overcome their initial disorientation after the crucifixion, would have said to themselves. 'He's dead? Never mind, we simply continue his work when he was still alive among us'. So resurrection yes, but only in the mind and will of the disciples. They also write: the auricular or individual confession is not necessary: it is enough to have a general, common confession of guilt; one repents, receives general absolution and everything is in order; the rest had been first introduced by medieval monks. The avoidance of occasions of sin and premarital chastity of the betrothed were - according to them - exaggerations, because in reality, any sexual desire and every sexual desire - within or outside of marriage - was good; but we accused the Church, among many other things, of also, exercising sexual repression' Poor Church!
How all this will be reconciled with a Christ, who led his people to struggle against the tide, who called for great efforts of renunciation, asceticism and Cross, is a mystery. It is also a mystery how they want to explain the words of Jesus: "No one can be the servant of two masters" (Mt 6:24) and "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in the heart adultery with her" (Mt 5, 27). Another puzzling thing is that they suppress everything in the school and catechesis which challenges, inspires to emulate, what is cheering and encouraging. All should be equal, no young person should feel superior to others. Well, to curb the arrogance is a good and beautiful thing. It has nothing to do with arrogance if someone tries to intervene to move forward; Arrogance is when someone transgresses and tramples others [...]
Another "mystery" is that these prophets think in such a way as to decide and program, as all men are, that by nature they would be well, all just fine and all honest, hard workers who love effort and are all incapable of deceit and betrayal. This is the optimism of Rousseau and Victor Hugo. The latter wrote: Every school that opens, means a prison that is closed '. If he were alive today, Victor Hugo could see numerous schools, but also to prisons. [...] The road, the daily experience and the Bible say: Let's be optimists, man has received a benevolent foundation, but we do not close our eyes, we do not deny that the inheritance of original sin is overloaded upon him: the school benefits, but only on condition that it is coupled with the fear of God.
Speaking of God: many of today's "prophets" write and talk very often of the "Word of God", with which they should deal. Very good, but more than this, one has to discuss the "law of God", or of the held-Ten Commandments (Ex 20 147).
Many consider the Decalogue, although they read the Bible, obsolete, despite the fact that - were all to consider it - it alone would be able to make both individuals and the society good. Of the Decalogue Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, not one letter of the law will pass away '(Mt 5:18). This is really a frivolity, reading the Bible, but sweeping or passing over what Jesus solemnly reaffirmed.
In conclusion: we have quiet confidence in the prophet, but in the real ones. And should the Lord give us this calling, we remember that the profession of the Prophet is hard. Particularly in the case that we wanted to accuse others in the name of God or should, we need to be sure of two things: first, that we really have a mandate from God; secondly, that we are sufficiently in order. Jesus said, 'Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye, but the beam in your eye you do not notice' (Mt 7,3). St. James wrote: 'Only one is the lawgiver and judge: he who has the power to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge about your neighbor? ' (James 4:12). Beating their own breast is a good sign of repentance. But to knock on the chest of the other, is a much more delicate thing: It may be a sign of prophecy, of love, mercy and zeal, but also of arrogance. [...]
At this point it is good to remember that St. Paul has said, prophecy is good, are the other good charisms, but above all these things is the love of God and neighbor (1 Cor 13) , That's mainly what the Saints Rochus and Pius X did.
Albino Cardinal Luciani, preaching the Memorial of St. Rochus 16 August 1977 reprinted in Opera Omnia - Albino Luciani, Giovanni Paolo I, vol 8, p 193ff..
Text / translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Il Timone
Trans; Tancred email@example.com
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