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Are You Eliciting Derision and Admiration?

By Peter Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jul 08, 2012

In reading the first chapter of Saint Paul by Pope Benedict XVI, I am struck by his turn of phrase regarding the response to Jews and Judaism in the Roman Empire during the time of that great apostle.

“[The Jews’] beliefs and way of life, as is still the case today, distinguished them clearly from the surrounding environment; and this could have two results: either derision, which could lead to intolerance, or admiration, which was expressed in various forms of sympathy...”

Note that Pope Benedict does not say “this could have many results, among them...” Rather, he says “this could have two results,” as if only two were either logical or possible.

In reading this, I ponder if we can use this description as a litmus test for our faithfulness as Catholics in the modern era. By our Catholic beliefs and way of life, should there be only two possible results: either derision or admiration?

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Jul. 09, 2012 5:10 PM ET USA

    Interestingly, the Holy Father implies that our discipleship cannot inspire indifference. Something to ponder daily.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jul. 08, 2012 10:15 PM ET USA

    I heard it put this way: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? JP

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jul. 08, 2012 9:23 PM ET USA

    It stands to reason. Nonetheless, there is no shortage of apathy these days. Intolerance and admiration take a certain energy that might not be so easy to come by in the apathetic. When considering modesty of dress, adherence to contemporary styles, engaging the culture, enduring various soft tissue piercings and tattoo artistry etc, we Catholics do not deviate far from the mainstream. There is a comfort zone that is perhaps today more difficult than ever for the contemporary Christian to test.

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