Friday, March 02, 2007

Preacher Draws On Work of V.S. Solovyov

The Times today carries a rather sensational piece about one of the Lenten addresses given by Cardinal Biffi to the Pope and the Curia at the Vatican.

Talk about the "Anti-Christ" is always good for a chuckle.

However, the actual sermon is not what the headlines suggest it was about.

For the report of the sermon, see Zenit.

The report advises:

"The Antichrist is the reduction of Christianity to an ideology, instead of a personal encounter with the Saviour, says the cardinal directing the retreat which Benedict XVI is attending.

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, retired archbishop of Bologna, delivered that message during a meditation Tuesday, drawing on the work of Russian philosopher Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov.

The cardinal's meditation came during the weeklong Spiritual Exercises being attended by the Pope and members of the Roman Curia. The retreat ends this Saturday. The Holy Father suspended his usual meetings, including the general audience, in these days.

According to Vatican Radio's summary of his preaching, the cardinal explained that "the teaching that the great Russian philosopher left us is that Christianity cannot be reduced to a set of values. At the center of being a Christian is, in fact, the personal encounter with Jesus Christ."