Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More wisdom from Benedict

Toward the end of his trip to Germany, the Pope met Sunday night with members of Catholic associations. His talk addressed a critical issue for the Church today, and in his typically forthright way: "For some decades now we have been experiencing a decline in religious practice and we have been seeing substantial numbers of the baptised drifting away from Church life. This prompts the question: should the Church not change?"
Short answer? Yes. Naturally, there is more to it than just that:
"The Church is not just other people, not just the hierarchy, the Pope and the bishops: we are all the Church, we the baptised. ... Yes, there are grounds for change. There is a need for change. Every Christian and the community of the faithful are constantly called to change. ... As far as the Church in concerned, though, the basic motive for change is the apostolic mission of the disciples and the Church herself. ...
"In the concrete history of the Church, however, a contrary tendency is also manifested, namely that the Church becomes settled in this world, she becomes self-sufficient and adapts herself to the standards of the world.  ... It time once again for the Church resolutely to set aside her worldliness. "

It doesn't get clearer than that. Yes, change is needed in the Church in her institutional dimension but also in each and every member taking up the challenge to live in continual conversion of heart and of life. It means that we, and our institutions, are called to live by the Gospel even when that puts our security at risk (the kinds of risk I've posted about recently, and which are getting closer every day): "Secularizing trends", he added, "whether by [confiscation] of Church goods, or elimination of privileges or the like, have always meant a profound liberation of the Church from forms of worldliness, for in the process she has set aside her worldly wealth and has once again completely embraced her worldly poverty." In freeing herself of material ties, "her missionary activity regained credibility."

Citations from V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service. www.visnews.org

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