Saturday, 8 March 2008
Are we wiling to pay the price ? by His Holiness Benedict XVI
"It is only too easy for us to regard the Christian [Martyr's] refusal, even if it meant the loss of one's own life, to take any part in the cult of the emperor as a piece of fanaticism appropriate at an early period; excusable, perhaps, for this reason, but certainly not to be imitated today.
Christians rejected even the most harmless forms of the cult, such as putting one's name down on the list of those contributing to the cost of a sacrificial victim, and were ready to risk their lives by such an action.
Today in a case like this one would distinguish between the unavoidable act of civic loyalty and the real religious act, in order to find an acceptable way out and at the same time to take account of the fact that heroism cannot be expected of the average man.
Perhaps such a distinction today is really possible in certain circumstances as a result of the decision carried out in those days ?
In any case it is important to realize that this refusal was far from being a piece of narrow-minded fanaticism, and that it changed the world in a way in which it can only be changed by the readiness to suffer."