Sunday, July 17, 2005

Salt of the Earth

Pope Benedict XVI seems to see very clearly what is in store for the future of Christianity. The following quote is from his interview with Peter Seewald, which can be found in the book Salt of the Earth:
Peter Seewald: "At the end of the second millennium," remarked John Paul II, "the Church has once more become a Church of martyrs." You, Your Eminence, have summed up the situation in similar terms: "If we do not recover a bit of our Christian identity, we will not withstand the challenge of this hour."

Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger): The Church, too, as we have already said, will assume different forms. She will be less identified with the great societies, more a minority Church; she will live in small, vital circles of really convinced believers who live their faith. But precisely in this way she will, biblically speaking, become the salt of the earth again. In this upheaval, constancy--keeping what is essential to man from being destroyed--is once again more important, and the powers of preservation that can sustain him in his hummanity are even more necessary.

The Church therefore needs, on the one hand, the flexibility to accept changed attitudes and laws in society and to be able to detach herself from the inter-connections with society that have existed until now. On the other hand, she has all the greater need for fidelity in order to preserve what enables man to be man, what enables him to survive, what perserves his dignity. She has to hold fast to this and keep him open toward what is above, toward God; for only from there can the power of peace come into this world.
Ratzinger, Cardinal Joseph, Salt of the Earth. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1996.

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