Papal Retreat Focuses on Christ´s Liberating Power

Church Is Not a «Moralizing Entity,» Cardinal Says

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VATICAN CITY, MAR. 7, 2001 ( On the third day of John Paul II´s annual retreat, the meditations focused on the greatest liberation man can experience: emancipation from his own ego.

Addressing the Pope and his Roman Curia collaborators, Cardinal Francis George spoke about the liberation Christ brings each person. He recalled someone in Zambia once telling him, «It is too good to be true that God loves us like this.»

The archbishop of Chicago said that in a world which often perceives the Church as a «moralizing entity,» it is even more urgent to place the proclamation of Jesus above all else, and to relive the surprise that so many people have felt when experiencing the liberating force of his love.

The archbishop of Chicago gave the example of Peter, the first Bishop of Rome, who «first of all proclaimed the Good News, the amazing news that God has come to dwell among his people, that he has saved them, and invited them to participate in the fullness of his life.»

«That proclamation,» the cardinal said, «made with conviction, surprises those who hear it to the point that they themselves understand the consequences it has for their lives. And they ask what they must do.»

The cardinal added: «God´s salvific power frees us so that we can be ourselves.»

He noted that liberty is often identified with the freedom to choose and the power to exercise one´s political rights. However, the cardinal said, the horizon is much wider: Thanks to the salvation brought by Christ, man experiences liberation from his own ego and idolatries.

«The secret of my true identity is hidden in the love and mercy of God,» Cardinal George stressed. «I cannot hope to find myself in any place other than in God.»

The cardinal added that Christ´s Incarnation, regarded as a «scandal» today, demonstrates that God «wants to meet us in our reality, and not in «metaphysical flights.»

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