Wednesday, March 28, 2007
INTERVIEW WITH CARDINAL PELL
The following comes from an interview with Pell by National Catholic Register reporter Edward Pentin:
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, in his recent Vatican Lenten meditations, said the Antichrist presents himself as a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist. How much do you agree with this?
(Laughs.) There is a very worthy Christian pacifism. But there is a pacifism where people don’t support anything sufficiently to struggle for, perhaps to fight for. There’s no doubt, too, there can be an ecological enthusiasm that is not religious; it’s a very, very low form of religion. It’s a form of superstition, it’s a religious substitute. And the other one, what is ecumenism? Well a genuine ecumenism recognizes the importance of differences and ecumenism among Christians is the central figure of Christ. Any ecumenism must be not to avoid or escape from the teachings of Christ but to move more deeply into the secret heart of Christianity. Well, the heart of Christianity is not secret.
So all of these good things can be abused and the elusive figure or figures of the Antichrist is something in Christian literature and probably something in history. It’s a danger to try to identify it with any particular individual or movement, but I’ve been much taken by a marvelous contemporary novel by Canadian Catholic writer Michael O’Brien called Father Elijah. It’s an apocalyptic novel; it’s not meant to be an accurate, everyday sort of a book. It speaks about the possibility, the reality of the Antichrist within the Church and within Christianity. Now, he uses the paintings by [Luca] Signorelli in one of the side chapels of the beautiful cathedral of Orvieto. They’re paintings of the Last Judgment. They’re actually the ones Michelangelo went to study before he went to do the painting in the Sistine Chapel. The figure of the Antichrist there is standing behind Christ and puts out his hand from behind Christ and offers it to people as though it is the hand of Christ himself. So the figure of the Antichrist will have many elements that are attractive to humans as well as being deeply, deeply evil.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily for the link.