Wednesday 20. October 2021

Santiago 2004 - Day 2

18 April 2004 Mass in the Santa Tecla chapel of the magnificent Cathedral of Burgos, with its golden stairway and chapels, presided by Archbishop Manuel Montiero de Castro, Apostolic Nuncio in Spain. The pilgrimage route begins near Castrojeriz, and concludes with picnic and prayers near Itero del Castillo. Vespers in the Romanesque Church of San Isidoro in León - "the Sistine Chapel of Romanesque art" -, followed by a reception with Mary Hanafin, Minister of State representing the Irish EU Presidency.

Speeches: Sr. Madeleine Fredell O.P., Meditation zu Epheser 2, 19 ? 22 Mary Hanafin, Minister of State representing the Irish EU Presidency Archbishop Monteiro de Castro, Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, Homélie Sr Madeleine Fredell OP Meditation on Ephesians 2:19 ? 22 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, we are part of God?s household! How do we realise this in our everyday life ? We, who are gathered here on this pilgrimage, certainly know intellectually what it means to be part of God's household and we are able to present a lot of beautiful images and attributes about this reality. But is it visible for our brothers and sisters around us, for those who would say that they are not part of God's household ? Especially for all those who find little if any meaning in their lives, for all those who have come to Europe to seek refuge and are denied the status of refugee, for all those who are socially and economically marginalized in our European house ? Do they consider themselves as fellow citizens in God's household ? The author of the letter to the Ephesians is not talking about a well-structured church and therefore not making an anonymous structure or system responsible for the way God?s household is concretised. The most he can be thinking of are the different parish-like groupings in his own geographical setting. Whose responsibility is it then that we are fellow-citizens in this household of God ? For the author it seems to be clear that each baptized person is an adopted son of God through Jesus Christ (cf v. 5a) and therefore enjoys both rights and duties within this household of God and consequently bears the responsibility for its contents and its face to the surrounding world. One of the most vital things for a human person is to be able to say that he or she belongs to a family or a specific group. We are becoming what we are through being called by another person or group of persons. We receive a vocation through the relationships we are either physically born into, or socially brought up with. It is vital for a human being to belong to a household. The author of the letter is considering three large groups: the Jews, the Christians and the pagans and they all belong to one society. He is addressing the Christians and he is aware that they have different ethnical backgrounds, both Jewish and pagan. Now, they all have the one and same citizenship, the right of access to God's household, the social as well as spiritual house. How do we concretise this fellow citizenship in God's household and in Europe today ? On a social and political level we Christians of all denominations in Europe, must welcome our brothers and sisters from the new member-countries in the European Union, with the same rights and duties we enjoy. This should however be fairly easy for us Christians to agree on. But how does this household look inside ? The foundations of the household are the apostles and the prophets and Christ Jesus is its cornerstone. Even if this seems to be a very Christian building, this body cannot be without its Jewish origins; the prophets, Jesus and the apostles were all Jews and the barrier between the Jews and the pagans has been broken down. Through Abraham we are all, Jews, Christians and Muslims, part of the covenants of the Promise, and have a special and personal relationship with the One God. We are, as the author of our letter says, being built up into a dwelling-place of God in the Spirit. This dwelling-place must be where we all can be confirmed in our different ways of expressing our faith, confirmed in our vocation of belonging to a faith-group, whether we come from different rites within the Catholic Church, whether we come from different Churches and denominations, whether we come from different religions, and perhaps most importantly, whether we come from an agnostic milieu or a context where we are searching for a meaning of our life. The best testimony of the citizens of this dwelling-place is to share their joy of belonging, belonging to a family, to a household in Europe, and to the European household as such. The household of God, his temple, is an open house where access is not denied, it is a dinner-table where there is always an empty seat for the unexpected friend, the unexpected other. We might feel bewildered among the diversity of rites, denominations and faiths, but our security lies in Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of this building. It is he who holds everything together, not we. We can only enjoy and share this gift with others, the gift of being fellow-citizens in God's own household! This joy lies not in conformity but in a rich diversity, not in exclusion but in inclusion, not in excommunication but in communication, a dialogue, a walking together with equal rights and duties. It is thus that it should be visible to our brothers and sisters around us, for those who say that they do not belong to God?s household. It is thus that meaning is offered to people. It is thus that each of us can welcome the asylum-seeker, the marginalized, the poor. It is thus that all can be citizens in Europe, and much more importantly citizens in God's household. Let us pray to the Lord that we may better understand the calling to a fellow citizenship! Address by Mary Hanafin, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach to participants in the COMECE Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela Leon, Sunday, 18th April, 2004 President and members of COMECE, Peregrinos on the Camino. It is a great pleasure for me to be with you this evening and to convey support and good wishes on behalf of the Irish Presidency of the European Union. In particular, I convey the good wishes of the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, T.D., who, as President of the European Council has, with Presidents Prodi and Cox, conveyed his support and encouragement to COMECE on its initiative in organising this pilgrimage and the subsequent conference. The Taoiseach was glad to meet a joint delegation of representatives of COMECE and the Council of European Churches some weeks ago, to discuss issues arising in the Irish Presidency. This unique event has been organised to reflect the significance of the current moment, when we are on the verge of welcoming into the Union the Ten Accession States. We are also close to the point when the Member States will, hopefully, agree to adopt a new Constitutional Treaty. That in turn will equip the Union to function more effectively at the service of the people of Europe and the values which unite them. The Irish Presidency The Irish Government are deeply conscious of the honour it is to hold the Presidency of the Union at this historic moment. As a country, we have benefited enormously from our own membership of the Union, not only in terms of material well-being but also in terms of our development as a society and as a people. As a small country, we have experienced the benefits of co-operation in the management of problems and challenges which, by their nature, transcend our boundaries. Through co-operation with others in the exercise of sovereignty, we have been able to play a more constructive role in charting the development not only of our own continent, but also of the wider international community. In forging new bonds with our partners in Europe, we have come to see more clearly aspects of our own inheritance, both good and bad. That wider European context has made a significant contribution, both direct and indirect, to the development of better relations on the island of Ireland. It has been a key force in nurturing a robust Peace Process in Northern Ireland and the development of new institutional arrangements and processes to build trust and confidence in place of suspicion and hostility. In that sense, the European project made a major contribution to the Irish Peace Process, complementing its original vision to bring about an enduring peace in post-war Europe. That was the background to the commitment of this Irish Presidency, under the slogan "Europeans Working Together", to apply itself with energy and imagination to the priority tasks: of preparing for the historic accession of the new Member States, of leading our partners towards a resumption and completion of the Intergovernmental Conference, of revitalising the Lisbon Strategy aimed at creating a sustainable prosperity for all of the people of Europe, and of helping Europe to address the challenges arising from the troubled international environment. Each of these priority concerns is relevant to the motivation which led COMECE to organise this event. Each will, therefore, feature in your discussions and deliberations during the days ahead. Europe?s Spiritual Tradition The spiritual dimension of Europe's heritage is evident in every aspect of our culture. It is manifest in a physical setting such as this. The continuity of the spiritual quest over the centuries is equally clear. Even here, on the Camino, we are following in the footsteps of Druids, Celts and Romans who trod these paths centuries before the birth of Christ. Their destination was the Finis Terrae, the end of the world, where a sacred spectacle of the sun dipping over the western horizon could be witnessed. On to this pagan ritual, the Christian tradition wove its own story of the life and work of Santiago, St. James the pilgrim, the story of his preaching in Spain, his martyrdom in Judea, the return of his body and the celebration of his life in the 7th century writing of St. Isodore of Seville whose tomb we are near. The story continued with the gradual decline of that cult and its restoration on the basis of the reported miraculous rediscovery of the remains of the saint by shepherds drawn to a field by a star, the Campos Stella. Against that background, Santiago grew to become one of the three holiest pilgrim routes in Christendom, together with Jerusalem and Rome. Its accessibility resulted in tens of thousands of pilgrims enduring the hazards of the journey every year, becoming the pilgrimage of Everyman (if not also Everywoman!). The spiritual dimension of Ireland's engagement with Europe is equally evident, from our evangelisation in the early fifth century, through the flowering of the Irish monastic tradition with Irish foundations attracting scholars from across Europe. We take pride in the fact that Irish monks led a missionary effort across Europe, where their names and traditions are honoured to this day. The religious conflict of the 16th and 17th centuries saw many seeking refuge from persecution and access to education in European centres of learning. To this day, Irish foundations in Rome, Paris, Louvain and Salamanca are the most tangible evidence of Ireland's long engagement with Europe. Spiritual Europe Today Whatever about the glories of the past, what can we say about the relevance of faith communities and the Christian church in particular, to the Europe of today. Some might argue that the decline in religious belief and practice and the secular character of much of modern culture makes religion a matter of minority interest. Others might claim that the excesses of the past, and the not very distant past, committed in the name of religion, make a secular Europe desirable or even necessary. Others still may argue that the tolerance required of a more pluralist Europe makes our Christian tradition at best problematic in constructing the basis of a new European civic order. For some, the debate about whether reference could be made in the preamble to the current draft Treaty to God or to Europe's Christian tradition is symbolic of the marginalisation of religion and Christianity in particular, in the life of contemporary Europe. I believe that such assertions are, ultimately unconvincing. It is undoubtedly true that, in the words of the Pope John Paul II: "Nowadays there is a tendency to claim that agnosticism and sceptical relativism are the philosophy and the basic attitude which correspond to democratic forms of political life". Such a narrow view of the pluralism appropriate to contemporary society diminishes the human person. It may literally disenfranchise those whose vision of society is informed by religious and moral conviction, where such beliefs are regarded as purely private matters of personal opinion, if not plainly idiosyncratic. The Irish Bishop, Donal Murray, has said that such an approach could lead us to a society that believes only that what is profitable is good, what is legal is moral and what is bigger is better, a society "with a life that is lived in the shallows by people without roots and without depth". The reality, of course, is that our European citizens do share a moral and religious inheritance, shaped in part through dialogue and interaction with those from other traditions, especially those who have now come to make their homes in Europe, enriching European society and culture with their distinct traditions of faith and culture. As the Belgian philosopher, Louis Dupré, has put it, Europe's spiritual heritage is multi-faceted: "the Greek sense of order and measure, the Roman respect for law, the biblical and Christian care for the other person, the humanitas of Renaissance humanism, the ideals of political equality and individual rights of the Enlightenment". He argues that each belongs permanently to Europe's spiritual patrimony and none may be neglected. This is a reality which persists, whatever the final wording agreed in the text of a Treaty. And this spiritual patrimony is alive and evident in the life of Europe today. It is reflected in the inspiration and working out of the institutions building up the European Union. It is evident in the contours of the European Social Model, which continues to dominate our policy and politics in such a distinctive fashion. That model impels us to provide the means to secure a high rate of employment for our people. It requires us, too, to provide a state of public welfare which secures social cohesion and promotes equality of opportunity, and which encourages engagement in the management of social change through social dialogue. That spiritual patrimony is also evident in the proud European tradition of human rights and respect for the dignity of the individual person. It is reflected in the search for a more equitable relationship with our partners around the globe, especially those in the developing world. It is evident in the vibrancy of the European missionary tradition, the non-governmental organisations associated with the Churches and faith communities, and in the role of the Churches in providing spiritual leadership and meaning at times of local, national and global crisis. In short, the European tradition sees economic progress as a way of liberating men and women, and not the other way around. Economic development is pursued for the service of society, a quest for what the Irish Bishops have called "Prosperity with a Purpose". This is not to diminish in any way the importance of securing sustainable economic development, through building Europe's competitiveness, upskilling its people and deepening its capacity for innovation. All of these are particular priorities within the programme of the Irish Presidency. Nevertheless, the European political, civil and social tradition reflect the reality that "man does not live by bread alone". The search for meaning is as urgent and relevant today as ever it was. The threat of terrorism, both local and global, reflecting in part cultural difference, political hostility and historical inequity, make that search all the more urgent. We can find cultural expression of this search in so many ways. Of particular relevance this evening, is to reflect on the increasing popularity of this very pilgrimage. The revival of interest in the Camino is a very potent symbol of a Europe-wide search for meaning, identity and spiritual renewal through engaging with the riches of Europe's spiritual tradition. I understand that over 200,000 people are expected to make the pilgrimage to Santiago this year alone. In celebrating that continued spiritual vitality, we must not, of course, neglect the reality of the pain inflicted by religious institutions and practices over the decades and centuries. Through the persecution of minorities, the suppression of religious and moral difference, the silence in the face of abuse and the betrayal of the trust of individuals and society by some of those exercising religious functions, there is much in our spiritual past with which we can only be most uncomfortable. That reality must be acknowledged and confronted. That burden is too heavy and too recent to be consigned to the past: it is a challenge to all who share the Christian inheritance. However, a clear-eyed realism about the past should not allow us to wind up in a situation where our heritage is denied and thus we are left with no foundation on which to build. Because the reality is that Europe needs a spiritual reintegration as well as a political and economic one. European unity will not, and indeed cannot be built on a spiritually and culturally neutral foundation. Our specific European identity derives from a unique past which is rich in the variety of its culture, much of which is imbued with the spiritual traditions and insights of past generations. In all its elements, rational and spiritual, this shared inheritance marks out the boundaries of a common homeland for all Europeans. A successful articulation of the foundations for European unity requires at this time clarity about the nature of the values which inform European society. This reflects, in particular, the fact that many of the negative forces against which European institutions were developed as a defence are no longer potent. The national rivalries which produced two world wars in the 20th century are now unthinkable, in itself the major achievement of the European project. The collapse of communism, enabling the liberation of countries whose membership of the Union we will celebrate in a few weeks time, removed the principal external threat. In their absence, we must now be clearer about what Europe is for. That is why the Treaty debate is so important. It is why the draft Treaty's statement of values and principles is so welcome. It is also why this is a moment when, as so many others in our history, European society is open to the spiritual. Response of the Churches If this moment of challenge is to be met by those exercising spiritual leadership, they will require what Pope Paul VI called "forward- looking imagination, both to perceive within the present disregarded possibilities, hidden within it, and to direct itself towards a fresh future". The Irish theologian, Dermot Lane, stresses the need for such imagination, defined as "that aspect of the human spirit which breaks boundaries, advances knowledge and expands horizons". He argues that a creative imagination instructs itself out of the past and not in disregard of history or tradition, citing the Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh: "On the stem Of memory imaginations blossom". A particular challenge for the Churches is to develop a new imaginative framework which, as Lane puts it, is able to express and hold in existence the reality of a Christian faith that is at least inclusive, historically self-conscious and pluralist. Gathered as we are at this time, in this place, we cannot reflect on this challenge without remembering the tragic victims of the terrorist outrage in Madrid only a few weeks ago. Insofar as that outrage, and other acts of terrorism reflect in some measure a clash of civilisations and cultures, then the search for understanding through dialogue must become an urgent task for European society. It is a task to which the leaders of the Christian Churches are particularly well-placed to contribute. It is, I am sure, on issues such as this that dialogue with the Churches will prove especially valuable for the institutions of the Union. At a more personal level we can recall here this evening the association of this venerable European pilgrim tradition with the conflict between Christianity and Islam many centuries ago. Perhaps a new spiritual dimension of the Camino will be the pursuit of right relations and better understanding between Christians and our Islamic neighbours, in Europe and abroad. Conclusion In the Christian tradition, our whole lives are a pilgrimage. Therefore, in life as on pilgrimage, the journey is as important as the destination. The pilgrim sets out to reach a far off destination, and discovers himself. That discovery is all the richer for being shared with others who are making the same journey. I commend all who have made this pilgrimage possible. I commend all of you for the effort you are making, not least to take time out to reflect on the future of Europe at this historic moment and the contribution which the Christian Church can make to our common future. I wish you God speed on the remainder of your journey and leave you with the old pilgrim greeting - Ultreya S.E. Mgr Manuel Monteiro de Castro Homélie Excellences, Chers Frères et Soeurs, 1. En cette Année sainte «Jacquaire», nous voici en route vers l'un des plus anciens lieux de pèlerinage de l'Europe : Saint-Jacques de Compostelle, un endroit vers lequel convergent, depuis des siècles, les attentes de nombreux fidèles venant de tous les coins de notre continent. «Mon regard, a dit le Saint-Père, s'étend au continent européen et je revois les chemins qui, déjà au Moyen-Âge, ont conduit, et conduisent encore à Saint-Jacques de Compostelle des foules innombrables de pèlerins, venus ici de France, d'Italie, d?Europe centrale, des Pays nordiques et des nations slaves. L'Europe entière s'est trouvée elle-même autour de la "mémoire" de saint Jacques, quand elle s'édifiait comme continent homogène et uni spirituellement. L'histoire de la formation des nations européennes va de pair avec celle de son évangélisation. On doit affirmer que l'identité européenne est incompréhensible sans le christianisme». Aujourd'hui encore, nous nous mettons en route pour marquer d'une manière solennelle la nouvelle dimension de l'Europe, pour souhaiter une Europe unie, solidaire, généreuse et, surtout, pour marquer notre condition de pèlerins. L'essence même du pèlerinage, c'est le désir d'une conversion plus profonde au Seigneur. En chacun de nous, il y a toujours place pour une conversion à Dieu qui soit plus réelle. Le pèlerin - dit aussi le Saint-Père - est appelé, en abandonnant progressivement sa conduite antérieure, à se redresser en homme nouveau, en assumant le nouvel idéal proposé par l'Évangile. 2. Les textes liturgiques de notre célébration eucharistique nous invitent à renouveler nos sentiments de foi dans le Seigneur, qui est notre joie et notre paix, à renouveler notre foi dans la Résurrection du Christ. La Résurrection de Jésus de Nazareth est un fait mystérieux, mais c'est aussi un fait incontestable, attesté par des témoins vraiment dignes de foi. Jésus est ressuscité avec son vrai corps physique, reçu de la Vierge Marie et crucifié sur le Calvaire, portant encore les traces de ses plaies qu'il montrera plus tard à ses disciples (Jn 20, 20 sq.). Mais il est ressuscité dans une condition toute nouvelle : à la différence de Lazare (Jn 11,44), il n'a pas repris sa vie antérieure, terrestre et mortelle. Il échappe aux lois ordinaires de l'espace et du temps. Quand il se manifeste, c'est en traversant mystérieusement les murs (Jn 20,19 sq.), en se faisant reconnaître de qui il veut et quand il veut (Jn 20,16). Tout ceci atteste bien qu'il est entré dans la gloire de Dieu. Jésus nous y a précédés, la Vierge aussi, et ils nous y attendent. Le texte de l'Évangile que nous venons d'écouter nous présente le témoignage de l'apôtre Thomas. Il était absent du Cénacle le soir de Pâques, quand Jésus est apparu à ses disciples. Il s'est trouvé, de ce fait, dans la même situation que nous, c'est-à-dire appelé à croire au Christ Ressuscité sur le simple témoignage de ceux qui l'avaient vu. Mais Jésus n'oublie pas l'âme blessée de Thomas. Huit jours après Pâques, Thomas se trouvant cette fois avec ses amis, Jésus revient parmi eux, peut-être exprès pour lui et pour chacun de nous. Et il pousse la délicatesse jusqu'à lui faire toucher de ses mains, comme Thomas l'avait réclamé avec prétention (Jn 20, 25), la réalité physique de son corps ressuscité. La réaction de Thomas est alors immédiate : «Mon Seigneur et mon Dieu !». Le Seigneur lui fait quand même un discret reproche : «Parce que tu m'as vu, tu crois. Heureux ceux qui croient sans avoir vu» (Jn 20, 29). La vraie foi au Christ ressuscité repose en effet non sur la vue, mais sur le témoignage de ceux qui ont vu alors que rien ne les y prédisposait. Notre foi repose sur la Parole du Seigneur, sur le témoignage de Marie-Madeleine, sur celui des Apôtres et en particulier de Thomas, qui renforce singulièrement notre propre certitude et provoque notre propre foi. Écoutons les paroles du Seigneur : « Heureux ceux qui croient sans avoir vu » (Jn 20, 29) ; « Heureux les artisans de paix» (Mt 5,9) ; « La paix soit avec vous !» (Jn 20, 21). Supplions le Seigneur, afin que le mystère pascal célébré dans cette sainte Messe ne cesse jamais d'agir en nos coeurs et nous fasse

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