Meeting with pastors and clergy of the Diocese of Rome on Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI discussed the economic crisis, the liturgy and evangelization. Naming the idolatry of money as a major shortcoming of the economic order, he warned that large-scale reform cannot be achieved without individual reform and conversion.
Pope Benedict said that the Church has the duty to present a reasonable and well-argued criticism of the errors that have led to the current economic crisis. This duty is part of the Church’s mission and must be exercised firmly and courageously, avoiding both moralism and obscurity.
He referred to his forthcoming social encyclical and presented a synthetic, two-level overview of the economic crisis.
Pope Benedict considered the macroeconomic aspects and the shortcomings of a system founded on selfishness and the “idolatry of money.”
These flaws cast a shadow over man’s reason and will and lead him into the ways of error, he explained to the Roman clergy. Thus, the Church must make her voice heard to show the path of true reason illuminated by faith, which is also the path of self-sacrifice and concern for the needy, he said.
The Pope also focused on small-scale economics, advising that large-scale reforms cannot be achieved unless individuals reform their ways. If there are no just people, there can be no justice he said.
He invited people to intensify their efforts for the conversion of hearts. This involves parishes not just being active in their local community but also being open to all humanity.
Pope Benedict said the evangelization of those who have moved away from the faith requires personal witness from individuals who live for others. Such witness must be associated with the Word because the Word reveals that the faith is not a philosophy or a utopia but a truth that becomes life.
He declared the need for priests who are capable of speaking to modern man with the simplicity of truth to show that God is not distant but active in the lives of all men.
Addressing the topic of the liturgy, the Pope compared it to a school in which one may learn the art of being human and where one may experience familiarity with Christ.
He said the Eucharist in particular must be lived as a sign and seed of charity.