Cardinal Biffi, who has been leading this week's retreat for the Pope, cited the warning presented in the work of Vladimir Solovyev, a 19th-century Russian philosopher, about the modern guises of the Antichrist, according to a Catholic News Service report.
The retired Cardinal says Christians tempted to set aside their belief in Christ as the only saviour in order to promote dialogue with others are being tempted by the Antichrist.
While the Vatican has not published Cardinal Biffi's talks to the Pope, Vatican Radio provided a daily summary and some quotations from his presentations.
The Cardinal, who wrote the introduction to an anthology of Solovyev's work, said the philosopher's most important message was that Christianity cannot be reduced to a collection of values.
In one of the philosopher's works, Cardinal Biffi told the Pope, "the Antichrist presents himself as a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist. He convokes an ecumenical council and seeks the consensus of all the Christian confessions, conceding something to each one.
"The crowds follow him, except for tiny groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants. Chased by the Antichrist, they tell him, 'You have given us everything except for the one thing that interests us, Jesus Christ,'" said the Cardinal, according to the radio's report.
Cardinal Biffi said the account should be taken as a warning.
"Today, in fact, we run the risk of having a Christianity that puts Jesus with his cross and resurrection into parentheses," he said.
The 78-year-old Cardinal said that if the church were to speak about only those values that it shares with others it would find great acceptance "on televisions shows," but "we would have renounced Christ."
Obviously, he said, the church does espouse values that it shares with other people of good will.
He said there are "absolute values such as the good, the true and the beautiful. One who perceives them and loves them also loves Christ, even if he does not know it, because Christ is the truth, beauty and justice.
"There also are relative values such as solidarity, love for peace and respect for nature," he said. "If these are given an absolute value or uprooted from or placed in opposition to the proclamation of the fact of salvation, then they become the basis for idolatry and are obstacles on the path to salvation."
Antichrist tempts Christians to place dialogue above Jesus, Cardinal says at Vatican retreat (Catholic News Service, 1/3/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi (Cardinal Rating)
Vladimir Solovyev (Wikipedia)
Support for Cardinal's preference for Catholic immigrants (18/9/00)
Cardinal denies "Church of the poor" (CathNews, 23/5/00)
2 Mar 2007