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the bishop who believes

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Mar 12, 2008

Excellent observations by Amy Welborn on the upcoming papal visit. Some excerpts:

Over the next two months, before the Pope arrives in our country, there is going to be a constant battle, it seems to me, to communicate clearly and authentically what this man is all about. There are a great number of commentors -- even Catholic commentors -- who are taking the stage with their own certain proclamations about what Americans should "look for" or what Americans "hope to hear" or what the Pope will "have to say" to us when he comes.

Most of those proclamations are about "clear Catholic identity" or involve metaphors that evoke closed doors, tightening reins and battening hatches. Their paradigms are severely limited, it seems to me, because they can't get out of adolescence -- even the Catholics -- in their relationship to the Church.


So what we see is a lot of head-nodding, invariable commentary about Benedict "softening his image," a little bit of sneering that faced with the problems of the Church Benedict will be content to tell us just to "pray more" or even to encourage the malcontents to get out.

How often have we heard that last line? Benedict wants a "smaller and purer" Church. If so, why travel at all? Why even bother to speak? Back to Welborn:

What they don't seem to grasp is that Benedict really believes this stuff. He believes that Christ instituted a Church through which He would teach and sanctify until the end of time and that this is it. And that the heart of the Christian faith is, well -- faith -- a deep personal faith in Christ that is marked by total trust, intimacy and love for the One who saves us from darkness, sin and death.

It's hard to exaggerate the importance of this last point: Benedict has something to say. And what he has to say he believes important for us to hear, because it has to do with the meaning of his life and of ours. How often we hear churchmen who speak under constraint rather than from evangelical ardor, and whose deliberately fuzzy language is used to conceal their real beliefs from their audience.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 12, 2008 12:15 PM ET USA

    Pope Benedict XVI does not want a smaller and purer Church. What he is charged with as Roman Pontiff is to lead according to the command: Go forth and teach all nations. The idea of a universal Church is to convert all nations, to increase the desimination of the message of Christ-not diminish it.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 12, 2008 10:00 AM ET USA

    "How often we hear churchmen who speak under constraint rather than from evangelical ardor, and whose deliberately fuzzy language is used to conceal their real beliefs from their audience." Strange that you should mention this, as the homily from Father Nonsequitur today was couched in such a way as to lead one to the conclusion that the three young men in the fiery furnace were all liberal Democrats who refused to vote for McCain.

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