An extract from Cardinal Caffarraâ€™s speech at Rome Life Forum, before the â€śMarch for Lifeâ€ť of the 20th of May, 2017
Rome, the 19th of May, 2017
Human history is all about the fight between two different forces. The first one attracts to the Crucifixâ€™s staffed heart; the second one, is the power of Satan, whose aim is to not be dethroned. The battlefield is human heart and the freedom of humanity. And this battle has two dimension: inner and outer.Â
Godâ€™s Revelation, Jesus, has a strong attraction. On the other hand, Satan manages to counteract the Crucifixâ€™s Force. On human hearts are operating both the Truth, which makes us free, and the Lies, deriving from Satan, which enslaves us.Â
But we know humans are not mere spirits, so they are not only inner â€“ related. Manâ€™s inner dimension manifests itself in the way he contributes to build the society in which he lives. Manâ€™s inner dimension materializes itself in culture, an essential dimension of human life. Culture is the typical way in which man live.Â
Since the man is disputed by those two forces, he originates two different cultures: the culture of Truth and the culture of Lie.Â
The â€śApocalypseâ€ť, a book from the Scriptures, describes the final battle between the two forces. Jesusâ€™s attraction ends up winning over His enemies, commanded by Satan. He wins after a long battle, and the booty of war are the Martyrs. â€śAnd that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduced the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, (â€¦) And they (= the Martyrs) overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of the testimonyâ€ť (Apocalypse 12, 9.11).
Is there in Western culture any event clearly showing this battle between Crucifixâ€™s attraction and Satanâ€™s culture of Lie? My answer is yes. The events are two.Â
The first one sees the transformation of a crime, like the abortion, (Vatican Council II refers to it as â€śnefandum crimenâ€ť) into a right. I am not talking about it as the human act itself. I am talking about it as the juridical legitimation of the act. Abortion is going to be considered among the ethical category of personal rights. It means to call good the evil, and light the darkness. When he lies, he refers to himself, because he is a liar and the father of lies. This is an attempt to create a Counter-Revelation. Â
Which logic leads to abortionâ€™s legitimation? First, the negation of manâ€™s Truth. As Noah survived the Great Flood, God said: â€śWhosoever shall shed man's blood, his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God.â€ť (Genesis 9,6). The reason why the man should not shed human blood, is that man is at Godâ€™s image. Man is Godâ€™s tool to inhabit His Creation. The Creation is Godâ€™s Temple, because man inhabits it. Violating manâ€™s intangibility is a sacrilege against God. It is Satanâ€™s attempt to create a counter-creation. Legitimating the murder of a human being, Satan laid the foundation of his â€ścreationâ€ť. He canceled Godâ€™s image from Creation, he obscured His presence from it.Â
When manâ€™s right to administrate life or death of another man is affirmed, God is canceled from His Creation. His presence is denied. Human, which is His tool to inhabit the Creation, is desecrated.
The second one consists in homosexualityâ€™s legitimation. It completely denies the Sacrament of Marriage, and Godâ€™s projects on it.Â
Godâ€™s Revelation tells us which are Godâ€™s project on marriage. Itâ€™s the legitimate union between a man and a woman, which originates a new life. Marriageâ€™s structure remains unchanged in Godâ€™s Mind. Its base is on the duality of human nature: femininity and masculinity. Those two are not opposite, but one for and with the other one. This is the only way for man to overcome his solitude. Â
One of rules with which God rules the universe implies that He never acts alone. Itâ€™s the law of human collaboration to divine government. A man and a woman who merge themselves is human collaboration to the Creation. Every human being is created by God and conceived by his parents. God states his Creation in the holy shrine of the conjugal love.Â
Briefly. The Creation leans on two pillars: the human being in the impossibility to be considered only in his material dimension; and the marriage between a man and a woman, which permits to God to create new humans â€śto His image and likenessâ€ť. As abortion is declared a personal right, the first pillar is destroyed. As homosexual relations are raised and equated to the Marriage, the second pillar is destroyed.Â
This is the product of Satanâ€™s action in creating a mere â€ścounter-creationâ€ť. This is the last, terrible, way for Satan to challenge God. â€śI will show you that I am able to build an alternative to Your Creation. And people will say that they are living better in the alternative creation than in Your Creationâ€ť.
This is the strategy of the Lie, and it leans on the disdain of the man. The man cannot soar as to reach the glory of the Truth. He is not able to live together with his paradoxical endless desire of happiness. For these reasons, he cannot realize himself by giving his life.Â Â
Dostojevskiâ€™s Great Inquisitor, when talks to Jesus, says those words: â€śYou overvalued men. They are actually slaves, even though they are naturally rebelâ€¦ I swear: men are weaker and more coward than you thought! He is weak and meanâ€ť.Â
How are we supposed to behave in this situation?
The answer is simple: as creation and counter-creation are fighting each other, our vocation is to WITNESS. Witnessing is our role. The New Testament offers a great doctrine about this. Now I am naming solely the three main meanings of witnessing.
To witness means to say, to talk, to announce openly and publicly. If we do not witness in those ways, we are similar to a soldier which runs away from the battle during its climax. If we donâ€™t witness openly and publicly, we are not witness, we are deserters. The â€śMarch for Lifeâ€ť is actually a great witness.Â
To witness means to talk about, to announce openly and publicly Godâ€™s Revelation. It implies those evidences we can discover even solely utilizing our sense in the right way. To witness means also to announce the Gospel of Life and Marriage.Â
To witness means to announce openly and publicly the Gospel of Life and Marriage in an arbitration (see John 16, 8-11). This fight becomes more and more like an arbitration which defendant is Jesus along with His Gospel. Since it is an arbitration there are also witnesses defending Jesus along with His Gospel. The annunciation of the Gospel of Life and Marriage has to face up with hostility, controversy and disbelief. If we do not face up with opposition, it is because we are leaving out consistent parts of the Gospel, or we are not teaching the Gospel. Clearly, I am not saying that the Christians need to become unpleasant with the others.Â
Witnessing the Gospel, we must leave out irenicism or concordism. Jesus was clear. The irenic doctor is a bad one. Saint Augustine said â€śLove the sinner, persecute the sinâ€ť. The great Russian Faithâ€™s confessor, Pavel A. Florenskij, affirmed: â€śJesus is a witness in the mere meaning of the word. He is the witness. When He was crucifixed, the Jews and the Romans thought it was solely an historical event. But this event was actually the Truth.â€ť.
La traduzione, non rivista dal card. Caffarra, Ă¨ di Laura Giombini