Potpourri of Popery, Ash Wednesday Edition

Guess I should take our Christmas wreath off the door, huh?

Here's the Pope's Message for Lent, all about justice and how to be restored to it.

Of course he intends it primarily for personal meditation as Christians journey through Lent and our annual period of repentance, but it's a pretty good summary of his mentor's City of God as well, in that he reiterates what Christians have to offer the political order (and what the political order can't, by its very nature, offer anybody).

The ultimate teaching is that Christ brings justice. How is a lovely meditation which can't be done...justice... in an excerpt, but here goes anyway:
Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need – the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.” This happens especially in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ’s action, we may enter into the “greatest” justice, which is that of love (cf. Rm 13, 8-10), the justice that recognises itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected. Strengthened by this very experience, the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love.
Archbishop Chaput is doing a series of reflections on the Pope's letter. First installment here.
Someone apparently has given posting texts up for Lent, because neither his homily for this morning's Mass nor the full text of his audience are available yet. There's video, though (here and here, respectively). [Update: here's the Audience: "abandon superficiality," he counsels. Upperdate: Here's the homily]
History has shown us how dangerous and deleterious a state can be that proceeds to legislate on questions that touch the person and society while pretending itself to be the source and principle of ethics.
Man does not only need to be fed materially or helped to overcome moments of difficulty, but also has the necessity of knowing who he is and knowing the truth about himself, about his dignity. As I recalled in the encyclical "Caritas in Veritate," "without truth, charity becomes sentimentalism.
And finally: Catholic Downfall: Hitler rails against Pope Benedict