Pope’s preacher suggests greater penitence for sins of Church ministers

.- Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the official preacher of the Papal household, began his Advent retreat for the Holy Father and members of the Curia today in the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel.  Continuing on his earlier Lenten reflections on the beatitudes, Fr. Cantalamessa reflected on the beatitude, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  In the course of his reflection, the preacher said that the Church should atone for sins perpetrated by those who are supposed to be acting in the name of Christ.

Cantalamessa said that the beatitude of those who mourn “contains a most formidable message, the revelation that while in this lifetime pleasure and pain are inseparable, in the Kingdom of God those who have mourned with just reason will know the comforting love of our Lord.”

Cantalamessa reportedly said the Church had, “wept and sighed” over the "abominations committed by its own ministers and pastors" and declared that the church "paid a high price for this."

"The moment has come, after the emergency, to do the most important thing of all: to cry before God,” over the scandal against "the smallest of its brothers," he said, urging the Church and its pastors to a more faithful representation of Christ, the Lord who transcends, and encouraging all the faithful to a greater penitence for sins committed in His name.

He said the Church should call a "a day of fasting and penitence, at the local and national level, where the problem was worst, to publicly express sorrow before God and solidarity with the victims."

Such a day would, he said, help "reconciliation of souls" so the Church could get back on the path of doing its work "with a renewed heart."

Fr. Cantalamessa also said a great cause of suffering in the Church stems from an improper understanding of Christ.  He quoted the Holy Father’s upcoming book on Jesus, saying that “the systematic refusal of the Christ of faith in the name of historic objectivity is the source of pain and sorrow for many Christians today.”

He said, as Pope Benedict points out in his book, this rejection of the Jesus of faith reduces Christ to a subjective thing, “a photographic representation of the author and their ideals.”  This tendency, he said, to reinvent Christ according to the dominant ideology of the time has always existed, however in the current era, which is obsessed with material pleasures has reduced Christ to a moral and sentimental figure. 

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