in Gods vineyard
believe in the grace of the office. It isnt just the
man we talk about. Its how God uses each one of his
Cardinal Adam Maida about Pope Benedict XVI
It is with great joy and profound gratitude to God that CCSJ
welcomes our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th successor
For nearly 30 years he worked closely with the late Holy Father,
Pope John Paul II, who called him a trustworthy friend.
He advised him on theological issues. Since 1981 he was the
head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. He
was also the dean of the College of Cardinals.
At this time in our history God knew that among the many multi-talented
cardinals who were all ready to serve, Cardinal Ratzinger
(now Pope Benedict XVI) stood out. This gentle, soft-spoken
diplomat is a committed churchman of deep personal faith/spirituality.
As President Bush says, he is a man of great wisdom and knowledge
who serves the Lord.
His Holiness faith is rooted in Bavaria, Germany, where
he was born. Those who know him state that he is a kind, collegial,
warm and spiritual man; a good listener, a reconciler and
an approachable priest.
John Allen, in his 2002 biography of Cardinal Ratzinger, Conclave,
says that someone with a religious or spiritual problem would
find him a sympathetic and compassionate man with whom to
He is a consistent supporter of the traditions of the Catholic
faith. He is also a respected theologian with a keen intellect,
sound academic background, a deep understanding of the workings
of the Roman Curiathe administrative section of the
church in Rome, and an eye for institutional detail. He speaks
several languages and is an accomplished pianist.
As Kofi Annan said, he would bring a wealth of experience
to his papacy and, according to Cardinal Roger Mahony, Los
Angeles, he has a lot of zeal and energy.
In my article on April 11, I said that John Paul II had been
a rock in an age of moral relativism and cultural decadence;
an unbending and fearless defender of the faith. I was
therefore pleased to read that even as the cardinals prayed
before the conclave, Cardinal Ratzinger urged them in his
homily to cling to church tradition and warned about the dangers
of abandoning it.
He referred to the maturity of the faith of Catholics and
said that they cannot remain immature in the faith,
in a state of inferiority, as they run the risk of being tossed
about and carried here and there by any doctrinal wind.
He said that having a clear faith, based on the creed
of the church, is often labelled today as fundamentalism.
Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and
swept along by every wind of teaching, looks like
the only attitude acceptable to todays standards. We
are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does
not recognise anything as for certain and which has as its
highest goal and ultimate measure only the measure of ones
own ego and ones own desires.
He emphasised that Christians have another measure, which
is the Son of God true Man. Mature faith, he said, does not
follow fashions and the latest novelty, but is profoundly
rooted in friendship with Christ. During his homily
at the late popes funeral on April 9, Cardinal Ratzinger
described the Catholic Church as a little boat of Christian
thought tossed around the waves of extreme
ideologies, including liberalism and radical individualism.
I welcome his condemnation of the dictatorship of relativismthe
modernist notion that there are no universal truths or universal
standards of right and wrong. It is time for Catholics to
stand proudly behind our vision of truth and morality. We
must have the courage to speak our traditional truths boldlyparticularly
in the face of the culture of death that surrounds us.
Although it will be inevitable that the Holy Father will make
his own mark on the life of the church and on the world, as
he outlined his goals he made it clear that he would follow
in the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.
I was particularly pleased to hear his pledge on Wednesday
that his primary task would be to work to unify
all Christians and to continue an open and sincere dialogue
with other religions, doing everything in his power to improve
the ecumenical cause. He rightly stated that sentiment alone
is not enough. Concrete acts that enter souls and move
consciences are needed.
He also expressed his commitment to continue implementing
reforms from the Second Vatican Council. I know that young
people around the world were pleased to hear him indicate
that he would travel and continue to reach out to young people
and that he plans to attend the churchs World Youth
Day celebrations in Cologne, Germany, in August.
It is reported that Cardinal Ratzinger had repeatedly stated
he would like to retire to a Bavarian village and dedicate
himself to writing books, but more recently, he told friends
he was ready to accept any charge God placed on him.
In his first words as pope delivered from the balcony of the
cream-coloured marble facade overlooking St Peters Square,
he set a tone that must resonate with all people of good will.
Inter alia, he said: I am a simple, humble worker in
the vineyard of the Lord.
I see this as a rallying call to each one of us to truly see
ourselves as workers in the vineyard of the Lord. We can serve
in so many ways. For example, I was talking to Yolanos Sookoor
recently about the way in which the Lord is using his talent
to raise funds for the children at Rainbow Rescuea charitable
organisation in Belmont that provides care and rehabilitation
for socially displaced and at risk male youths
between ten and 19 years old and seeks to equip them with
the knowledge and skills they need to be able to function
effectively in society.
Yolanos is a renowned tenor who has had a long and successful
career internationally. Other artistes who will appear with
Yolanos at a concert on May 1 at Queens Hall include
Anne Fridal, Nariman Hosein, Ronald Ramon-Fortune and retired
Justice Zainol Hosein on harmonica. This is a good opportunity
for you to support a worthy cause (call 665 7227).
Each one of us must find time to offer our time, talent and
treasure for the common good. Our Government cannot meet the
needs of our people alone. We must all pull togetherincluding
those in industry, commerce, communities etc.
I pray that God will open our eyes to the needs of those around
us and give us the strength and courage to rise to the challenges
that confront us. The first step is to say with meaning: Here
I am, Lord, send me to be a faithful worker in your vineyard.
Leela Ramdeen is Chair of the Catholic Commission for Social