Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Sign of Contradiction

I was working through (then) Cardinal Ratzinger's book Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism when the big controversy about his speech exploded. I already started out with sort of an interesting relationship to this book. I haven't really read the book before, but I actually did the key-in work on it when it was being typeset for Ignatius Press back in 1997. I remember loving what I did read (keying in also involves coding which makes for more difficult absorption of material), but also noting that I really should read the book someday. Well, it appears that some day is finally here.

I read the following passage last night and it really blew me away in light of what's going on with the Holy Father's talk at Regensberg. I don't think it's so much prophetic as surprisingly parallel and another indication, to me at least, that these important messages and teachings SHOULDN'T be thought of only in terms of those whose errors are obvious to us (such as the Nazis and Communists Ratzinger seems to be referring to in the following quote). They should be an occasion for genuine self-examination on our own parts.

Here's the passage. I think it is very complementary to Pope Benedict's talk:

It is no surprise that the Catechism proved to be a sign of contradiction from its very inception, even before anyone had read a single line of it. This only goes to show the timeliness of a work that is not merely a book but an event in the history of the Church. Anything that does not meet with opposition has obviously not dealt at all with the urgent needs of its time. The worst thing that Christianity has experienced in the twentieth century has not been open antagonism. The fact that powerful regimes persecute a powerless minority of believers with every means at their disposal is a sign of how much inner strength they attribute to the faith that animates this little flock. What is oppressive, however, is indifference toward Christianity which is apparently no longer worth a struggle but is regarded as an insignificant antique that we can safely let go to ruin, or even maintain as a museum piece. In contrast, the Catechism was and is an event that has reached far beyond intra-ecclesial debates to stir a secularized society. The Catechism was and is a breach in the soundproof walls of indifference. Faith is once more becoming salt that wounds and heals, a summons that challenges us to take a position.

And on a related note.... here are a few articles about the Pope's talk that I found interesting and/or helpful...

"Is Dialogue with Islam Possible?" by Fr. Joseph Fessio

"Enough Apologies" by Anne Applebaum (hat tip Best of the Web)
"Benedict the Brave" (WSJ - hat tip Ignatius Insight Blog)

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