Possumus et Non Possumus- Sermon of Archbishop Luigi Negri in St. Peter's
(Rome) The highlight of the 4th International Pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum was the Pontifical Mass in the Immemorial Mass of All Ages at the grave of the apostle Peter in St. Peter's Basilica. The celebrant was Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise OFMCap, Emeritus of San Luis in Argentina. The sermon was by Msgr. Luigi Negri, Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio and Titular Prelate of Pomposa. The Archbishop of Ferrara belongs, because of his clear language, authentic style and his willingness not to play favorites is one of the exceptional personalities in the European episcopate. His episcopal chair was therefore sawed violently last with sharp shots, as it was assumed that he wished for the imminent death of Pope Francis.
In his speech without notes, he went to the twofold position of the Church in its evangelizing mission to humanity. It should be seized by what it's received, and Christianize. It must at the same time keep away from worldliness and resolutely reject what is contrary to the teachings of Christ, however.
As Archbishop Negri held his sermon, found a few meters away, there was great anxiety about the vote on the final report of the Family Synod. The Synod Fathers also included Cardinal Carlo Caffarra who originally should have given the sermon, which was then given by Archbishop Ferrara because of the scheduling conflict.
IV. International Pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum ad Petri Sedem
Homily of Msgr. Luigi Negri
Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio St. Peter's Basilica Saturday, October 24, 2015
Praised be Jesus Christ
The Gospel reading of today's liturgy recalls the great expectation of the salvation of all mankind, to the expectation of the poor, the humble and the distressed. This expectation is like the circles that are drawn in the water when suddenly something is thrown in, because anyone can enter the water and participate in such a manner in the newness of life, which is identified with the Messiah of Israel.
There we have it! The expectation was fulfilled! The wait is over, because the coming of Christ has torn the heavens for all time, and he has entered into history - with all its greatness and all its miseries, with all its limitations and all its temptations, but - in the totality of history even with the immense capacity of the human being, from generation to generation, to responsibly confront the problem of the destiny of his life and the goal with which he is called to rediscover it: the kingdom of God, which is already among us.
Christ is the new life in our midst: life is fully realized in Him, in the mystery of His death and resurrection and His ascension, a secret that was all communicated in the depth of our faith and revealed in the strength of our love.
It is the new life, because there is only one salvation. It is a new extension of the intelligence and of the heart, towards themselves, others and the whole reality expressing itself in a new sensibility. This new humanity is in us as a grace, as a gift of faith, as undeserved truth that is offered to us generously in response to the great expectancy that moves our being.
Given this grace we can not be complacent and indulge in a fatalism that is not Christian. We must assume our responsibilities, that grace - the principle of new life within us, a seat of the new life in us - can mature in our humanity, penetrate it and unfold, but especially that by it unfolding in our humanity to principle of mission, we can communicate. Faith is given to us so that we can share it.
In Redemptoris Missio St.John Paul II. explained that the faith is strengthened by giving. The gratitude for the grace that was given to us, in the depths of our consciousness and in our daily lives is the intention to contribute to the great mission of Christ and the Church. A task that we should cooperate in with all our strength, in whichever areas of everyday life and whatsoever circumstances we will find ourselves, and at whatever place and in whatever capacity.
The Christian people has a great calling: to communicate Christ in the new life every human being, so that every person is grasped by this grace and he in turn can learn this newness. The Christian responsibility is therefore, mission. It is the great and extraordinary lesson of the Church in its two thousand year history, often achieved with difficulty, often marked by numerous imperfections, but also by a lot of glory.
The Church is the inexhaustible presence of Christ's life, which is offered to all, even those who sometimes do not even want it, but who are excited by our presence as a witness, to look to Christ, perhaps for the first time in a world in which we live, who is so far from the presence of the Lord.
This mission has its identity and morality expressed in two great words that could and had to be pronounced by the Church in Its history: The first word is POSSUMUS.
In this word, in this posture the Church encountered mankind from generation to generation. The faith is encountered in reason, Christian freedom is encountered in human law. The things of the life of peoples and nations were inculturated to the Catholic faith, and more than once, this Catholic faith has made a decisive contribution to the expression to the forms of civilizations and cultures.
The Church and the world encounter in POUSSUMUS. Seeking humanity has met with the Church that proclaims the God Who reveals himself. The human, personal and social existence, the great history of culture and civilization gets its meaning by the great Catholic culture that is not yet over and speaks to us through the various cultural expressions. Mission has had the great ability in the horizon of possumus to make a significant contribution to the growth of the personal and social human life.
The Church could and yet had to inevitably say another word: This second word is NON POSSUMUS.
The Church had said on many occasions that it is not allowed to supplant the Church's presence in the life of society, to suppress the rights of God, to extinguish the rights of the Church and thus inevitably to the degradation of humanity, of its contribution the human and social life. NON POSSUMUS. There has never been a moment in history, no matter how dramatic it may have been, especially in western Europe, where the Church often as not sometimes stood alone, took up Its responsibility and has denied the legality of certain ideologies, the legitimacy of certain cultural, social has denied and political requirements.
The Church has excluded itself in its NON POSSUMUS dialogue with the people, but denies that the ideologies may impact on their lives. The Church opposes them because they discourage and damage people, because they are directed against the mystery of life and to the mystery of love. The sanctity of fatherhood and motherhood, the most significant events in human life are overturned, smashed and replaced by completely unacceptable forms of personal, family or social life.
The Church will never only say POSSUMUS, just as She could never only be able to say NON POSSUMUS. She must make in Her missionary responsibility, the encounter between Christ and the hearts of people possible, She must know how to find the right rhythm for the openings and closures, for the intellectual and moral acceptance and the rejection of all that the right hand of God contradicts. Because by acting against the rights of God, it creates the preconditions for a decline, for a dehumanization of the human and social life. Especially it makes the society in which the Church lives a terrible experience.
Therefore, woe to us brothers, if we therefore replace the binomial POSSUMUS - NON POSSUMUS by a unilateral POSSUMUS that delivers Christendom to the prevailing mentality that makes the goal even of our lives, that which is sought by the world in its negative and diabolical objectives: the elimination of Christ and the Church. We can not accept the all too many events, initiatives and experiments are strongly marked by this well-intended Catholic world, which desires to please the world and to gain its support or applause. [See the Professional Catholics employed by various organs of the establishment.]
We want to see the face of Christ. This face of Christ lights below us in the beauty of the liturgy, and it leads us to the final glory of His countenance. The face, which is both Judge and Savior. We just want to direct our hearts and intelligence every day on the much beloved face of the Lord. For from Him will be born in us and in the world, a new intelligence. A new heart that makes us love all men, which comes as part of the mystery of Himself to us revealing Christ to the world. That makes us feel the usefulness of our time and our lives solely to confirm Christ and not as confirmation of our strength and power. That's what we want.
Do we trust the Holy Church of God, the Virgin Mary, so that with the joy that comes from faith, we can also carry the burden of sacrifice of our daily lives - the life of the whole Church as well as the life of every one of us - so that the binomial is inseparable, which seems impossible to the mentality of the world: joy and sacrifice.
So be it.
Translation: Paix liturgique / Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Paix liturgique