A recent post from Whispers in the Loggia features Pope Benedict's recent talk on two themes that are profoundly affecting the Church and the world. Often branded his "State of the Church Address," in truth it is his annual address to the members of the Roman Curia.
This year's two concerns are: the crisis of family life and the nature of authentic dialogue.
Pope Benedict found it necessary to address the first topic in light of the relativization of the structure of the family, the decrease in commitment, and the reduction of sexuality to the self-directed choice(s) of "gender." Affirming the given duality of the human person as male and female, we affirm the mind and will of the Creator. Denial of the male-female duality leads to the denial of the objective nature of the family as man-woman-child. The child becomes a "right" that can be fulfilled however one wishes.
Regarding the second matter, His Holiness acknowledges the need for mutual openness to each other's stance, while reminding parties-in-dialogue that they are searching together for truth, with which religion is vitally concerned. The Christian, he says, can be "supremely confident, yes, fundamentally certain, that he can venture freely into the open sea of the truth, without having to fear for his Christian identity."
Now the Pope did begin his speech with several positives from the year, even as his encouraging observations led him to treat the areas of concern. Benedict is always encouraged by the enthusiasm of young people. It is no wonder that he constantly addresses the issues he does, because their current direction will threaten the human community.
Catholics and people everywhere must answer whether this is the disgruntled discourse of an old man lamenting the tempora and the mores, or the Vicar of Christ bringing the Gospel to bear on people's free and conscientious choices. The process of answering this question engages our faith and reason alike. "When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith upon the earth?" (Lk 18:8). Will He find reason?