Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Patriarchal Allocution - Christmas 2019

PATRIARCHAL SEE 25 December 2019 (ORCNS) - HIRH Don Rutherford I, Florentine Archfather gave the annual Patriarchal Allocution on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. The address centred on topics of evangalisation and tradition. It also included special greetings to the people of Italy and the Spanish-speaking lands.

Text of the Allocution: 

From the Florentine Household to the world and to the members of the Court of St. Mary of Walsingham, grace, peace, and our apostolic blessing on this glorious Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the year of our Lord 2019. This is the day in which we celebrate, of course, the coming of Christ as the light of the world. Yet, today, we in Christendom face a situation that is not unlike that of the early church. We find the ways of darkness attempting to snuff out the light of Christ in any way possible. Indeed it is true that we are no longer in the time of the Christianised world, for although it may be the case that the majority of the world’s population identifies in some way as Christian, the true inner belief and outer practice of the faith have been greatly diminished. Ironically, in an era of tolerance being proclaimed, we Christians, particularly those of the traditional Catholic faith, find ourselves a persecuted minority. Even brother often fights brother. 

Some say that Christendom is dead, but with that I cannot agree. Truly Christendom is now like a small candle in a vast abyss of darkness. Yet, even the faintest candle provides light in the dark. Darkness is nothing but the absence of light. It cannot by itself extinguish a light. We must, therefore, look to that light of Christ, no matter how small the flame on earth may be, and seek to fuel it, that it may continue to grow and reflect the incomprehensible strength and brilliance of the light of Christ in heaven gloriously reigning. 

In this time of challenges, we need not seek a new evangelisation, but rather a renewed sense of that very same commission of evangelisation that was given to us by our Lord Himself. This is not a new charge, but the very charge that has always existed for the Christian people. We do not need to remove tradition, for to do so would be to break with that very continuity that links the Christian people of today with the Christian people of every other time period, all the way back to the time when Christ walked the earth as a man – indeed, the very Incarnation that we celebrate today. The faith of Christ is unchanging and knows neither time nor space. We cannot modify our faith and practice to suit the ever-changing whims of the world, for to do so would be to abandon the faith altogether. The clergy and especially the bishops are bound by sacred duty to maintain the true faith, doctrine, and traditions. 

To energise the Christian faithful and to reach new people with the message of love and peace that is Christ, therefore, we must not in any way bend the message of Christ to fit the ways that are purely of the world. That approach has become quite common, and it is disconcerting. What is being preached in such cases, then, is not the faith of Christ, but a faith in mankind alone. What is needed is the framework of the traditions of the church. Those traditions provide the foundation upon which the immutable and eternal truths of the Christian faith stand in the world. Indeed, those traditions, ever-rooted in the very faith that they protect and sustain, exist to stand as a fortified wall against the enemies of the faith. They cannot be destroyed from without, but they can be eroded from within. Once the smoke of Satan enters, it then becomes all too easy to erode the faith. 

Ed ora, ad i nostri carissimi d'Italia, il vero cuore del patrimonio del Patriarcato Imperiale, Noi impariamo la Nostra benedizione speciale. Questo Natale, siamo premuroso soprattutto dei luoghi santi del Nostro patrimonio in Italia, specialmente a Firenze, Roma, ed Aquileia. Possa Dio Onnipotente conferire le Sue benedizioni al popolo d'Italia nel prossimo anno e per sempre. 

También damos un saludo especial y una bendición a Nuestros más queridos en las tierras hispanohablantes. Es a través de la obra de los de herencia española que la luz de Cristo se extendió a gran parte del mundo. De hecho, estamos muy orgulloso de ser el heredero en la Italia Imperial de dos grandes casas españolas. Que Dios Omnipotent os conceda Sus bendiciones a cada uno de vosotros en el año proximo y por siempre. 

Returning to the notion of tradition, We then call to mind the rich and incredibly diverse ancient patrimony that the modern Imperial Patriarchate is called upon by its sacred duty to live, maintain, and perpetuate in the modern world. As ecclesiastical successors to the temporal patrimony of Pope Leo X, the city of Florence, our titular seat in the Church of St. Stephen al Ponte in Florence, and our titular residence in Rome that once were the apartments of Leo are of particular importance and are quite dear to Us. Similarly, the ancient and the sovereign Patriarchate of Aquileia not only is within Our patrimony, but is also the source of many of our traditions and customs. 

Brethren in Christ, we are called to perpetuate the traditions of Christ and His Holy Church in the world, even in this modern period. We must do so courageously, honourably, and without apology, always remembering that all that we do in the world must be rooted in the faith of Christ and flow from the Sacrifice upon the altar. 

Now, We impart our apostolic blessing on each of you that you may have a joyous Christmas season and a beneficial and productive new year, ever growing in the faith of Christ.