At left: I know he is technically Pope Benedict XVI, but to me, he will always be Cardinal Ratzinger, ideological hit-man for the Vatican.
And today, he did some ideological sermonizing that few expected. Now, this is the kind of New Year's Day sermon I can get behind.
Lots of people are surprised, quoting and misquoting right and left (if you'll pardon the expression) and so I went to the Vatican website to get the actual text verbatim:
[The] world is sadly marked by hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism, as well as by various forms of terrorism and crime, I am convinced that the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift. All of this led me to draw inspiration for this Message from the words of Jesus Christ: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’ (Mt 5:9)...
The splendour of the face of God, shining upon us and granting us peace, is the manifestation of his fatherhood: the Lord turns his face to us, he reveals himself as our Father and grants us peace. Here is the principle of that profound peace – “peace with God” – which is firmly linked to faith and grace, as Saint Paul tells the Christians of Rome (cf. Rom 5:2). Nothing can take this peace from believers, not even the difficulties and sufferings of life. Indeed, sufferings, trials and darkness do not undermine but build up our hope, a hope which does not deceive because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (5:5). May the Virgin Mary, whom today we venerate with the title of Mother of God, help us to contemplate the face of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. May she sustain us and accompany us in this New Year: and may she obtain for us and for the whole world the gift of peace. Amen!The reviews are coming in fast and furious; some predictably stating that the Pope's New Year's address "left many scratching their heads"... while others approvingly quoted his words and nodded in agreement.
In other news: Carolina kicked Michigan's ass! (You shoulda heard the whooping and hollering in the Mellow Mushroom today.) And Georgia beat Nebraska, which was welcome news in my household.
It's going to be an interesting year. :)