Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rehabilitating the Political




Rehabilitating the Political

Address of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., improvised for the end of the 4th Archdiocesan Pastoral Social working-day meeting, completed in the college of the Sacred Heart, the 30th of June of 2001

This is a sphere [or area/place; span: ambito] of encounter, of dialogue; one without exclusions. This is a sphere where all we who responsible are located, in one way or another, in the aid of our peoples concerning social and political participation [activity].

There were things that you here said which made an impression of me and I would like to revisit them in a conclusive manner very briefly.

The political person. Another of those citizens who has the responsibility to not devalue the Political, and in that thought, today more than ever it is asked of us the work of rehabilitating the political [political life or policy]. Because at the hour to lower heads [perhaps a reference to prayer?] a politician is resisted [span: tirarse contra] and that is made widespread against the political, and the political is one of the highest forms of charity, because it points to the common good.

The political vocation is a vocation – here I twist the word a bit, I twist in order to indicate that which is noble – a vocation almost sacred because it is intended to aid the growing of a common good.

The politics of cross-cutting [span. here has trasversalidad which I am assuming is a typo of transversalidad, playing metaphorically on a mathematical concept. If anyone has a better translation please let me know.] I urge that this is the method. Not a method of social atomism, nor of reserved hunting leases. I would say that there is no transversality if there is no dialogue. If there is no confrontation of ideas in searching for the common good, we paralyze ourselves. This is a good path on which to reorient the political and that within the realm [lit. line] of creativity.

I make the remark that the political [exists] not only as a way to manage crises. That can be true momentarily, to get out of a crisis. But not to reduce itself to managing crises; as if we were to say: “Good, now that we have tranquilized the surroundings, we can now rest.”

Creativity, fecundity. That phrase: “The political does not exists to manage crises,” may we write it well within our hearts. Sometimes we have to put out a fire, but the vocation of the politician is not to be a fireman. The political vocation is to create, to fertilize [span: fecundar; there seems to be no intention of metaphor here].

In this state, uniting the political with the social, I would like to note a problem which is bothering me and which can be a temptation to the social crisis. That maintenance carries the State to decline [ignore] it’s responsibility to the promotion of social assistance. It is anti-human to privatize social advancement [span: promoción] and social assistance. On this point, the State has to assume the role of animator, integrator, responsible, auditor, delegator, but it cannot decline those responsibilities which is given to it [the State] by it’s own vocation: to care for the common good of the nation.

I said that this was a sphere of dialogue and of human participation. And it is distinct when one finds oneself through [span: a través de] a writing, an article, or from a distance, or from a bad confrontation, distinct [from] when one finds onself in a respectful [lit: relaxed] environment, knowing that we [each] think distinctly, we have point of view which are distinct but we participate respectfully, humanly, in search of the common good.

The human is like a key in the word of the politico-social, where the human person – every man and every woman – is the central preoccupation, the end of political activity and furthermore the subject of this activity. That is to say, we are going to create this human act if we intergrate ourselves, not as professionals alone but as men and women. Or as is said, to put the meat out on the grill [this metaphor means to do something risky without leaving oneself a way to get out.]

And that, the human – that is the value [think axiological value] – against the anti-value. The anti-value of today, in my opinion, is humans as commodity [lit. goods], or as is said, mercantilism of persons. Men and women become commodities over the projects which come to use from the other side, which commence in socity and which in some way run against our human dignity.  That is anti-value; the human person as merchandise [a product] in the politico-economico-social system. And, in regards to this value, the human, and it’s anti-value, the human as commodity, I note two points in [human] life which should be a personal preoccupation:

Children today run the risk, because of poor nutrition, poor or insufficient education, of not being apt enough to intergrate themselves fully into society. It is possible to create a cast of minus-habens. A child who does not receive sufficient vitamins and minerals the first two years of his/her life is going to become mentally-handicapped. For this we must take responsibility and act.

Childhood today is treacherously delayed and depreciated. We rip our garments when we read in the dailies [newspapers] what little is done for enslaved children upon boats. That does not only occur there; this occurs each time there is not a political concern for childhood which regards the human person, at the center of the human person with value. I note this with great worry.

And the other point concerning life: the older adults, the elderly. With these two points in life it is not possible to experiment, nor should we experiment.  It must be acted that children grow [in/and have] life so that they can give their rich contribution, to it’s large and full extent to their society.  And in the elderly to make grow the wisdom which they have accumulated throughout the length of their life.

This is what it occurred to me to say to you and I thank you again for your participation.

Cardenal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J.,

Friday, March 29, 2013

I Know that My Redeemer Lives

In honor of this Triduum and it being the Holy Saturday before the Vigil Mass, I have translated an Easter Vigil homily of the Pope. It was originally accessed here.




Easter Vigil

Homily of the Carinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio S.J., archbishop of Buenos Aires, during the Easter Vigil – April 10th, 2004

The walk of the people of God stops this night in front of a sepulcher, an empty sepulcher. The body of Jesus, the Son of the promise, was no longer there; they only say the sheets in which they had wrapped him. The march of an entire people stops today like others have done before a rock in the desert (Exodus 17:6), or like orhter on the bank of the sea on the night of Easter, when the Israelites “the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were in great fear. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord,” (RSV-CE; Exodus 14:10) and furious, reproached Moses: “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, in bringing us out of Egypt?” (RSV-CE; Exodus 14:11)  This night, however, is not of panic but of confusion (Luke 24:4) and of fear (v. 5) from these women before the incomprehensible: the Son of the promise was no longer there. When they return and recount everything to the Apostles (v. 10) “these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” (RSV-CE; Luke 24:11) Confusion, fear, and the appearance of delirium: these are feelings which themselves are a sepulcher and there stops the march of ages of an entire people. The disoriented confusion, the paralyzing fear, the appearance of delirium suggests fantasies.

The women “were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground” (RSV-CE Luke 24:5). Confusion and fear close off all gazing to heaven; confusion and fear without a horizon twists hope. [The women] react surprised to the [Angel’s] reproach: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” (Ibid.) but they were more surprised still with the prophetic word “Remember.” (v. 6) and “the women remembered” (v. 8) in their hearts and reflected then on what happened outside: the first peak of dawn of the day stalled the shadows of doubt, fear and disconcertment…and they run and announce what they have heard from the Angels: “He is not here, he is arisen” (Luke 24:6).

This reminder resituates them in reality. They recover the memory and the conscience of being a chosen people, they remember the promises, they reaffirm in alliance and feel newly elected. A strengthened vigor is born in them then,  which is from the Holy Spirit, to go and evangelize, to announce the good news.  The entirety of the history of salvation puts itself on mission. The miracle of that specific night in Egypt of the Red Sea repeats itself “The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.” (Exodus 14:15). And the people of the Lord went forward running with the women who had remembered the promises of the Lord.  

This has occurred to us all at some point, as individuals and as a people, we find ourselves stopped on our Christian path, without knowing which way to go. In those moments it appears that the frontiers of life close, we doubt the promises of our Lord and a gross positivism is raised as the interpretive key of the situation. And when this happens fear and confusion become lords of our lives; a limited reality is imposed upon us, one without hope, and we must desire to return to our paces towards that same slavery from which we have left and until we arrive to reapproach the Lord who instead puts us on the path of liberty: “Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:12) In these situation, such as on the banks of the Red sea or infront of the sepulcher, the answer arrives: Do not fear (Exodus 14:12), Remember (Luke 24:6). Remember the promise, but, above all, remember the proper story. Remember the marvels that the Lord has done for us throughout life. “Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children” (RSV-CE; Deuteronomy 4:9); when you a re satisfied “then take heed lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” (RSV-CE Deuteronomy 6:12); “And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wildernessYour clothing did not wear out upon you, and your foot did not swell, these forty years…’ (RSV-CE; Deuteronomy 8:2,4). Do not forget the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, out of slavery. “But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings” (RSV-CE; Hebrews 10:32); “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel,” (RSV-CE; 2 Timothy 2:8). This is what the Word of God exhorts of us so that we continually reread the history of our salvation so that we can continue going forward in it. The memory of the path walked by the Lord is strength and a foundation of hope to continue walking. May we not allow that the memory of our salvation atrophy for confusion and fear which might overcome us before whatever sepulcher that acts to overtake our hope. May we always leave a place for the Word of the Lord, like the women, in the sepulcher: “Remember.” In those moments of greatest obscurity and paralysis urges us to recuperate this deuterornomical dimension of existence.

In this holy night I would like to petition most holy Virgin that she concede to use the grace of memory of all the marvels which the Lord has done in our lives, and that this memory cleanse us, and compel us to continue going forward in our Christian lives, in the news that it is not necessary to look among the dead for Him who is alive, in the news that Jesus, the Son of the Promise, is the Paschal lamb and is alive. May she teach us to tell ourselves unhurriedly, with the certainty of one who knows the length of live, that which she herself surely repeated that early morning during which she waited for her Son: “I know that my Redeemer lives.” (Job 19:25).

Out on the Christian Way




Solemnity of the Body of Christ
Homily of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop  of Buenos Aires, on the solemnity of Corpus Christ on the 29th of May of 2005

Dear brothers and sisters:
1.      In the readings of this Feast day, there are two phrases which I wished to share with you. One of these is form Saint Paul, and it speaks to us of union, of union among many people, of the union of the Church, which is a large assembly. It says it this way:

“Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:17, RSV)

The other phrase opens and closes today’s Gospel. It is from Jesus, and it speaks to us of a bread which walks, which comes down from heaven, which gives life to a travelling people and which is offered in order to give life to the whole world. It is a bread which goes out to encounter all, a missionary-bread. It says it this way:

“This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever, and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (Combined text of John 6:51 and 6:58, RSV)

Upon hearing these texts, I think of our own Archdiocesan Assembly. Today we are people walking in Assembly,  each one in his/her own state of life, which his/her own personal charisms. Parents, priests, religious, catechists…walking [together] in Assembly. Children, elderly, youth, fathers, mothers….walking together in Assembly.  The faithful People of God walking together in Assembly, in procession, around the Body of Christ, the Bread of Life. Like the people of Israel upon going out of Egypt, walking in Assembly towards the promised land, for us it is the Heavens from which it [most likely reference with manna] comes down, walking towards an encounter with us in each Eucharist. That is the bread given for the live of the world.

2.      The summons to the Diocesan Assembly put this question to us all: “What does this mean, how does one prepare oneself, and why now…? And there appeared questions, propositions, diagnostics, plans…Upon seeing and reviewing in prayer all of the reactions the memory came to me of John Paul II’s manner of procceding. When problems were presented to him,  or a challenge was outlined to him, he asked two questions:  the first – Which passage of the Gospel illuminates this challenge?; the other – Whom can we convoke and prepare to affront or resolve this challenge?

The response to the last question is clear: The Lord calls us all. Whom can we call and prepare to affront the challenges which face the Archdiocese?  We can call upon all, upon all in the Assembled Church.  As for a passage of the Gospel which can illuminate this challenge, the end of the Gospel according to St. John came to my heart, that night in which Peter said:

“I am going to fish,” and the others answered him, “We all will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they did not fish anything.

However, they fished something by means of their fatigue and sterility. That small group, that first Church – still in a small boat – which went out to “navigate the inward sea in Assembly” [apparently this is a reference to a publication by the Argentine Pastoral de Juventud], attracted the Lord. They fished for Jesus, we could say. En reality, it was He for whom they had gone out to search. Or, better said, they had gone out to home that He would come to search for them, like before. And Peter, when he sees Him, throws himself into the water with boldness, with courage.

3.       To walk in assembly, like the people of Israel in the desert, to navigate in assembly, like the first disciple of the Resurrected [Christ] is a exposition of ourselves together so that the Lord may see us, may search us, and may manifest Himself to us [I think there is a typo in the Spanish I used to translate this.].

To walk in assembly like Jospeh and Mary have done,  is to do together the passioned experience of discerning with others, so that it may be God who writes the story. To walk in assembly like the travelers from Emmaus have done is to enter into the “time of God,” so that his accompanying presence permits us to deepen our true identity and to be aware of our mission. To walk in assembly is to put ourselves in the occasion of dialogue on the way, like the disciples who followed Jesus have done, allowing that later, upon sharing the bread, He helped them to overcome disagreements and to grow in communal and missional saintliness. To walk is assembly is to go out an encounter other people, to care for the weak,  believing in the promise of Jesus which will give a truth to the Word and the actions with which we give testimony to His love.
4. When a particular Church meets and perseveres in prayer, in the company of Mary, the Spirit feels newly called and comes to our aid. We put ourselves on the path, then, to attract the look of our God.
We want to attract to ourselves the providential watch of our Father in heaven, who, at us, prodigal Sons,  He watches from afar, as soon as we have gotten up and on the Christian way of return to Him who has prepared the banquet of the Eucharist, the banquet of the Bread of Mercy, capable of delighting us beyond every human expectation.
We want to attract to ourselves the loving watch of Jesus, the beloved Son, who also goes offshore [reference to apostles and Peter’s literal actions in Gospel] and comes to meet us in our weaknesses and difficulties of life when He sees that, because of love of Him, we have been exposed and we need that He give us His hand because, by faith, we have launched ourselves into the deep [waters] and we are no capable of doing this [Christianity; sharing the evangel] alone. For those favored friends who throw themselves into the sea [like] Peter, together with the apostolic witness, the Lord has prepared on the bank the breakfast of the Eucharist, the banquest of the Bread of the Way which is shared fraternally, in adoring silence, between mission and mission, capable of restoring strength beyond all expectation.
We want to attract to ourselves the watch of the Spirit, who makes our hearts to burn, attracted by a Church which, united, awaits Him. The spirit He who converts us in truth and puts us on the way to go out and announce the Gospel to all peoples/nations. The spirit is the one who marks the rhythm of the life of the Church.  And He marks it Eucharistcally: He marks in the time in which the Assembled [Church] unites to await Him, and those who maintain unity those consolidated to the Bread of mercy which pacifies and guards the unity of the assembled.

He is the one that marks the time when the Assembly sets off on the way, revived by his living breath, and those who dare to go out on mission, the Spirit accompanies them and serves them in their time the Bread of free charity, which nourishes slowly the life of the Assembly, multiplying loaves and reviving those who follow the Lord.
5. When, with apostolic courage, we walk together in Assembly, the Lord walks also with us. And, then, it is He who writes the story. To put oneself among an Assembly is to allow God to be the one who directs the story, that God be He who leads the good-fight, that God be the one who makes everything new. And that He do all of this with us: with the signs that we makes with our own hands, with the footprints that we leave in our paces…God writes the story. And He knows how to even write straight with crooked lines.
Mary, the Eucharistic mother, was the first set out on the way, with Jesus in her womb, later around which the first assembly united in hope of Pentecost, we petition of her to come with us on our y and that she keep us united in prayer so that, through us, the Lord can come to give life to the entire world, as is his desire.