Traces N.4, April 2009

The Stone at the Door of the Tomb

Faced with the arguments that have involved Benedict XVI over the question of the Lefebvrian schism and the AIDS question in Africa, and the Pope’s presumed isolation, we run the risk of becoming inured to the idea that, in the end, these are things we have already seen and taken for granted, to be ascribed to the usual categories of for and against; on one side, the “papists,” and on the other, the “secularists,” and, in between, the audience of “adult Catholics” and atheist “theo-cons” shuffling the cards a bit.

This is a serious risk, because it prevents us from grasping the crucial nature of what’s at stake. For example, the attack on the reasonability with which the Church approaches man’s day-to-day problems–whether AIDS or the economic crisis–implies the denial of the most powerful evidence that we live, which is that recognizing Christ lets us know reality better, that faith broadens reason. Moreover, in the scandal over the mercy with which the Pope embraces those who go wrong–the “unequivocal gesture of God” and therefore “the greatest challenge” before which one can find himself, as Fr. Julián Carrón wrote in the Italian daily Avvenire (cf. Traces Vol. 11, n. 3, p.51)–lies an obstinate and terrible refusal of the very fact that Christ brought into the world: salvation. It is obstinate because it is fruit of a reason that is stubbornly suffocated, and terrible because it tries to rob our experience of hope.
What would life be without His mercy? How could we face up to sickness, our mistakes, or the present hard times? What would reality be without Him? An unbearable burden, like the stone at the door of a tomb.

It is in that tomb that Easter explodes. It is that stone that is thrown aside forever by the Resurrection. Because He is, here and now. Our contemporary. And all we have to do is follow Him, because, as Benedict XVI says, in a wonderful passage of a recent address, “in the mystery of the Incarnation, lies both the content and the method of the Christian announcement.”