Saturday, 23 September 2006

The Ups and Downs of Church History

The following are the words of the Holy Father during his meeting with priests of the diocese of Albano on 31 August:

In the century of the Reformation, the Catholic Church seemed almost to have come to her end. This new current which declared: "Now the Church of Rome is finished", seemed to triumph. And we see that with the great saints, such as Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Charles Borromeo and others, that the Church was resurrected. In the Council of Trent, she found a new actualization and the revitalization of her doctrine. And she lived again with great vitality. Let us look at the age of the Enlightenment, when Voltaire said: "At last this ancient Church is dead, humanity is alive!". And instead, what happens? The Church is renewed.

The 19th century became the century of the great saints, of new vitality for a multitude of religious congregations, and faith is stronger than all the currents that come and go. And this also happened in the past century. Hitler once said: "Providence called me, a Catholic, to have done with Catholicism. Only a Catholic can destroy Catholicism". He was sure that he had all the means to be able at last to destroy Catholicism.

Likewise, the great Marxist trend was convinced that it would achieve the scientific revision of the world and open doors to the future: the Church is nearing her end, she is done for! The Church, however, is stronger, as Christ said. It is Christ's life that wins through in his Church.

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