Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Papal Preacher: Church Blowing It. Again.

A must-read: the Capuchin Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, on how Catholicism can get out of the gaping hole of credibility, relevance and acceptance some of its members insist digging ever-deeper on a daily basis:
While the Catholic Church has a rich array of teachings and traditions to help Christians live holy lives, it is not so good at bringing people to Christ in the first place, a Capuchin told Pope Benedict XVI....

The Catholic Church has built "an immense doctrinal edifice" around its faith, but the basic message -- "Jesus is lord" -- has never changed, [Cantalamessa] said.

As Christianity spread around the world, faith in Jesus was almost an assumption, and the church focused on educating believers in doctrine, dogma, prayer, spirituality and morals, he said.

Presenting the whole array of doctrine to modern men and women who do not know Christ as lord "is like putting one of those old heavy brocade capes on the shoulders of a child," he said.
Or like putting a chasuble on the shoulders of a triumphalist neocon priss who simply acts like a child. Happens more often than you'd think -- in the States, at least.
"This is one of the reasons why in some parts of the world many Catholics abandon the Catholic Church for other Christian realities; they are attracted by a simple and effective proclamation that puts them in direct contact with Christ and allows them to experience the power of his Spirit," he told the pope.
While it is important to nourish and guide believers, Father Cantalamessa said, the church must recognize that it needs to bring people to the point of faith first....
Father Cantalamessa told the pope and Vatican officials they have one question more important to ask themselves than what place Christ has in modern society: "What place does Christ occupy in my life?"
Oh, Good God. We can only imagine the tumult this caused; not for Ratzi, but among the others. By the sound of it, Cantalamessa -- who has deep roots in the Italian charismatic movement -- is sure feeling emboldened these days. And may he keep on. And on and on some more.....