A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH

Keys to Understanding Growth of Esoteric Cults

Address by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos in Mexico

PUEBLA, 26 AUG 1999(ZENIT).

"We are facing the largest growth of esoteric cults and occult sciences that Western culture has known," Cardinal Dario Castrillon,  prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, said at a ceremony in which he received a doctorate "honoris causa" from the
Autonomous Popular University of the State of Puebla, Mexico.

Astrologers Outnumber Physicists and Chemists "Today the world of religions has become a supermarket where commercial interest counts above all." In order to illustrate his point, the Colombian Cardinal gave some significant data: "In Europe and the United States, the number of registered astrologers is three times larger than all physicists
and chemists combined. In France alone, there are over 50,000 fortune-tellers' consultation centers.

"The proliferation of sects is a notable phenomenon throughout the world, not just in America. And we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg that is coming," Castrillon added.

"Narcissus' Atheism"
The Cardinal went on to analyze the other phenomenon that characterizes the end of the millennium. "The men of the 20th century have created a new kind of atheism: the atheism of indifference that distances man from God far more than the radical and militant atheism that confronted religion. Today man dispenses with God and intellectuals label themselves agnostics because they have not even asked themselves about the choice they must make before God."

Cardinal Castrillon defined contemporary atheism as "Narcissus' atheism," which results in a model of culture and civilization built on the "mega-temptation" of wanting to conceive a world without God where man is the absolute.

Feelings Suffocate Reason
The apparent contradiction of these two movements (esoteric and narcissistic atheism), stems from the new cultural model that tries to impose itself at the end of the century and that proposes the rejection of reason in favor of emotions. "In a society where there is a glut of information, and man receives an avalanche of unclassified stimulation, it is normal to take the easy way to survival by drifting, without major worries, passing from idea
to idea without any problem."

It is a phenomenon whose origins are based on a new concept of liberty. "The negative liberty of the absence of limitations, instead of understanding liberty as self-determination and capacity to integrate oneself." The result of this principle is self-evident: a new morality and an impoverished idea of man, who has become one more animal, without a
spirit."

Historic Opportunity
Oddly enough, this state of affairs offers the Church an historic opportunity. "To put forward religion once again, based on truth, and offering solutions to the important problems that contemporary philosophy does not address, like the question of death, and the meaning of life."

The cardinal concluded that with Pope John Paul II at the head, the Catholic Church can count on strong moral leadership which is the great alternative to these new cultural models.  ZE99082606

This article has been selected from the ZENIT Daily Dispatch
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