Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne , Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, (b 1943) would certainly be “my man” if I had a vote in a Papal Conclave. He is a man evidently in love with Jesus Christ and His Church, firm in faith and clear in pastoral charity and fidelity. His recent comments on the nature of love and its foundation in suffering are worthy of highlighting here given that suffering and sacrifice are increasingly becoming disassociated from authentic love in favor of self-centered sensuality and outright egotism.
ZENIT spoke with Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani about two recent scandals regarding priestly celibacy that have attracted the attention of the American continent -- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo who admitted he fathered a child while still a bishop, and Miami Father Alberto Cutié who converted to the Episcopalian church this week after photos of him with a woman were circulated.
"I think that we shouldn't speak just of these two cases, of celibacy, but of human love in general," Cardinal Cipriani suggested, affirming that [Pope Benedict XVI’s Encyclical Letter God is Love] Deus Caritas Est explains it well. "The Pope explains to us with great detail how this love, which begins in this movement of 'eros' becomes 'agape.'"
Noting how God defines love clearly, not just with words, but also with the sacrifice of his Son, the cardinal added that today, "in not wanting to accept suffering, the sacrifice that life brings, love is killed and what remains? Sexual possession. The capacity of suffering has been amputated because of fear, cowardice, mediocrity, because only success and pleasure are sought.
"We have killed the plant that arises from suffering, which is love, and therefore in many human relationships, family relationships, a totally material relationship arises, in which practically, the integrity of the person is not involved. When this materialism takes over human relationships, then the man and the woman become objects of a sexual experience […], this experience loses its stability, comes and goes, doesn't produce that joy of surrender because it does not come from suffering or sacrifice, and when a sickness comes or an economic problem or a fight … marriages break in the same way as these cases, like Lugo or Father Cutié, who in the moment of feeling a sacrifice greater than their strengths, break the promise they've made."
The cardinal affirmed that priests, as well as married people, are asked to live chastity.
"There is a conjugal chastity and there is chastity in celibacy," he said. "One who knows how to love and who has the experience of a healthy and stable matrimonial love knows what I'm talking about. It is the same that the Church offers to those of us who give up everything for the love of God. It is not more or less difficult, but this product of this love today is hard to find, and therefore, in a materialistic and slightly hedonistic world, it is difficult to explain celibacy, which is a treasure of the Church." (Cardinal Stands Up for Priestly Celibacy, Says Notre Dame Is "Confused", Zenit June 1, 2009)
Cardinal Cipriani also presented his thoughts on the University of Notre Dame honoring the current President of the United States “despite Barack Obama's staunch support of abortion rights and other anti-life issues.” Read more about it here.