Homily of H.E. Mons. Claudio Gatti of September 17, 2006
24th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B)
1st reading: Is 50:5-9; Psalm 114; 2nd reading: Jas 2:14-18; Gospel: Mk 8:27-35
You know that when I speak before celebrating Holy Mass it means that the situation is very difficult and critical. I do it so that you can pray, during the celebration and beyond, to avert an enormous danger by taking up the appeal coming from God, through the Mother of the Eucharist. This night Jesus himself spoke about it for the first time, asking again Marisa to offer her sufferings to God for such a delicate and important cause.
I do not want to go deeply into the situations existing in the Muslim world, but I must say that there is no reciprocity, they demand mosques everywhere and they do not allow churches to be built in their territories; they want the spread of their religion and put on trial and under torture those who spread Christianity or simply testify to it. For this reason they even went so far as to kill priests who were on the spot only to witness Christianity with their presence. It is useless to discuss these facts, historically we know that Islam has spread with wars, thanks to armies prepared and led by talented generals who destroyed the various Christian principalities and replaced them with Islamic nations. Just think that the North African countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Libya were regions characterized by a very strong Christian presence. History teaches this, it is useless to think otherwise.
In a heated context like the current one, it seems that the extremist wing is taking hold of the situation of the various governments or in some way making its influence felt, forcing those who are moderate or opposed to certain expressions of exasperated violence, to adapt in order not to lose power, adhesions and consents. I am shocked by what has been created.
I am the first to describe the real situation, but prudence is one of the four cardinal virtues, you cannot add fuel to the fire because otherwise the fire flares up and then it is useless to complain.
We must not add fuel in such an upsetting situation as it is today. I said 20 years ago, when these events had not yet erupted, that the real danger for the West is not China but Islam because I studied, I got informed and I read how much the extremist root was present in them; they are happy to meet death because they are convinced that they will be rewarded; I have seen pictures where mothers celebrate the death of their children, the well-known suicide bombers, offering pastries to relatives and friends.
This is the situation, we cannot change it, but we must keep it in mind and even if objectively the speech could be valid, it goes against prudence and sparks could be ignited that could flare up in terrible fires. Benedict XVI was not prudent, this must be said, we must not keep silent because he is the Pope. His words have triggered situations that are not reported in the mass media, newspapers and television. God sees with deep eyes and knows well the situation which is considerably worse than what is described to us. There is a real danger of attacks and wars, it seems that they are waiting for nothing else; behind there are governments that arm and encourage, there is a language of power and wealth concerning oil areas or particularly important and influential areas, all over the world stage. Those who make mistakes must recognize it. It is useless that Benedict XVI, for fear that assailed him later on, did not sleep tonight. May God want that by appearing at midday, he will do what they ask: to humble himself to avoid destruction, death and war. If he truly loves the people, he must humble himself for the people. This is what God is asking, this is what they ask. Then we absolutely have to pray for this to happen.
To us as a community our Lord has given many tasks beyond that of the triumph of the Eucharist, the spreading of devotion to St. Joseph, the rediscovery of the figure of Paul VI, the importance of Confession and bible meetings. All these missions started from here, where actually there is a small, simple, weak community made up of small and simple people, not powerful, not rich and not learned. God does not need the powerful, the rich and the learned; He has infinite power and riches and can do without all the wise, rich and powerful men of the Earth. He also entrusted us, as you will remember, with the task of writing to various presidents and heads of state to avoid, in certain circumstances, the outbreak of another war. Those in the Vatican and in the Vicariate laughed at us and to those who asked for explanations, they gave the following answer: "Don't listen". All the predicted wars took place and the weigh is on their conscience because they could have avoided them if they accepted the appeal of God.
Today the situation is even more difficult, critical, precarious and more exposed to big dangers. We will pray, Marisa will still suffer, she will offer her body to this new request of immolation, even if, believe me, I said: "How is it possible that we must always pay? The others do wrong and we pay." It is not the first time, we hope it will be the last, but I understand the drama of the situation. The mere thought that children or the elderly or people who have nothing to do with it must succumb because injured or killed by these suicide bombers who do not spare shots or attacks, hurts and irritates me deeply, because this situation could and should have been avoided.
It is useless for the Vatican to say that there was no intention to offend, they should read the speech and interpret it rightly, the speech is read for what it is, interpretations are then personal, but when one is responsible and knows that his words will reach every corner of the world, when he talks about certain topics he must calibrate his words. If he does not, he is not wise and therefore he is not worthy of exercising the role he plays or at least he is incapable of doing it or has incapable advisors, but the responsibility is still someone's.
Nothing like this ever happened under the papacy of John Paul II, on the contrary, he was almost considered a friend of the Islamic world; it thundered against wars, against aggressions of the western world.
I had to turn around everything I thought I'd tell you because what I understood is dramatic and I ask you for collaboration. I would beg you to have the text of the message for review today and put it immediately in Internet and I hope that at least this time they will not react by offending us and God.
That letter I wrote to Benedict XVI last year caused a sensation, but I don't even know for sure if it was delivered to him. Around him there is an iron curtain that prevents contacts, that is, it prevents news or information from entering or leaving, but if God has asked for this, He will certainly make it known among the high prelates and even to Benedict XVI. Faced with this, I hope that he really knows how to bow his head and say what his nature can feel repugnant and his office perceive as inappropriate, for the love of the little ones, the weak and the poor who would suffer from it; love should push me to pronounce a word even if it humiliates me before the others.
There is a very good testimony: my great Paul VI was able to speak with humility and ask on his knees for the release of Aldo Moro from the red brigades. He said it in a trembling voice, both because he was suffering and because he was deeply moved. He was innocent of the situation, but was ready to get on his knees and beg the assassins who held Aldo Moro prisoner, to free him. Paul VI was great, but in this situation he was really great. We hope that his example is counting thus encouraging the one who occupies his place to do the same. Now the Holy Mass begins but don't expect the homily because I have nothing else to add. This is the most important thing I could tell you.