Monday, July 6, 2009
From the American Papist blog, a recent statement -- made in the context of the Year of St. Paul -- by Pope Benedict (emphasis not mine):
"Paul wants the Christian faith have a 'responsible', an 'adult faith," said the Holy Father. "The word 'adult faith' has in recent decades become a popular slogan. It is often used to refer to the attitude of those who no longer adhere to the Church and her pastors, but choose for themselves what they want to believe and not believe - a kind of do-it-yourself faith."
Benedict XVI continued: "Speaking against the Magisterium of the Church is presented as courageous. In reality, however, it does not take courage for this, since you can always be sure of audience applause."
"Rather it takes courage to adhere to the faith of the Church, even if it contradicts the 'scheme' of the contemporary world," said the Pope. "It is this non-conformism of the faith that Paul calls an 'adult faith.'"
The Holy Father gave two examples of an 'adult faith'. First, "to commit to the inviolability of human life from the very beginning, thus radically opposing the principle of violence, in defense of the most defenseless humans." And second, "to recognize marriage between a man and a woman for life as a law of the Creator, restored again by Christ."
For Paul, said Benedict XVI, "following the prevailing winds and currents of the day is childish." (LSN)
Does this statement, I wonder, tell us anything about the content of the soon-to-be-released encyclical? I've heard speculation, in some quarters, that the encyclical will be a tough critique of the modern economy; others seem to expect an elaboration of the "dictatorship of relativism" theme. We'll see. One thing is for sure, though: The New York Times will use some of the following words in its coverage: dictate, edict, dogma, conservative, hard-line, enforcer; any tension between the Pope's critique and "conservative" Catholics in America will be highlighted, as will any consonance between that critique and the positions of the Obama Administration. Challenges to market-economics will be foregrounded in the coverage; challenges to an individualistic culture and morality will be skated over. In fact, I imagine we could come up with a "Mad Libs"-style template for most press accounts! The "Get Religion" blog, I expect, will be must-reading in the days to come.