16 September 2010

'The Church does not seek to be attractive . . .' Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict arriving in Scotland

During his press conference on board his flight from Rome to Edinburgh Pope Benedict was asked the following question. I have highlighted parts of his answer.

Q. - The UK, like many other Western countries - there is an issue that you have already touched on in the first answer –it is considered a secular country. There is a strong atheist movement, even for cultural reasons. However, there are also signs that religious faith, particularly in Jesus Christ, is still alive on a personal level. What can this mean for Catholics and Anglicans? Can anything be done to make the Church as an institution, more credible and attractive to everyone?

A. - I would say that a Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for her own ends, she does not work to increase numbers and thus power. The Church is at the service of another: she serves, not for herself, not to be a strong body, rather she serves to make the proclamation of Jesus Christ accessible, the great truths and great forces of love, reconciling love that appeared in this figure and that always comes from the presence of Jesus Christ. In this regard, the Church does not seek to be attractive in and of herself, but must be transparent for Jesus Christ and to the extent that she is not out for herself, as a strong and powerful body in the world, that wants power, but is simply the voice of another, she becomes truly transparent for the great figure of Christ and the great truth that he has brought to humanity. The power of love, in this moment one listens, one accepts. The Church should not consider herself, but help to consider the other and she herself must see and speak of the other. In this sense, I think, both Anglicans and Catholics have the same simple task, the same direction to take. If both Anglicans and Catholics see that the other is not out for themselves but are tools of Christ, children of the Bridegroom, as Saint John says, if both carry out the priorities of Christ and not their own, they will come together, because at that time the priority of Christ unites them and they are no longer competitors seeking the greatest numbers, but are united in our commitment to the truth of Christ who comes into this world and so they find each other in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism.

The person of Jesus Christ is constantly at the heart of what the Pope teaches.

The oldest pilgrim at the Mass in Glasgow was a woman aged 106. She was interviewed briefly on the BBC which gave full and excellent TV coverage to the Pope's visit to Scotland.
Pope Benedict showed a deep respect for Scotland as a distinct nation. Britain, the main component of the United Kingdom, contains three historical nations, England, Scotland and Wales. The other component is Northern Ireland. The Union Flag, usually called the Union Jack, the flag of the United Kingdom, is a clear symbol of its Christian roots and identity since it is a combination of the crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick, the patron saints respectively of England, Scotland and Ireland. The cross of St Andrew is commonly known as the Saltire. There were plenty in evidence today in Edinburgh and in Glasgow
The Saltire or Cross of St Andrew, national flag of Scotland and component of the Union Jack.


Mary Anne D. Tolentino said...

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Crux Fidelis said...

Papa Ratzinger has such a marvellous way of getting to the nub of a subject. I listened to every one of his homilies and addresses while he was here in the UK and was inspired by them all. Deo volens, they will have some effect on my life.