Saturday, July 30, 2005

What Benedict is Thinking

while on vacation...

A variety of topics (one was the marriage/divorce question touched upon earlier this week here) and amazingly frank even about African vocations and a negative motivation. Fascinating reading, I offer two snipets from www.chiesa:

On the "dying" Churches of the Western world:

"The mainline Churches appear to be dying. This is true above all in Australia and also in Europe, but not so much in the United States. What are growing, on the other hand, are the sects which offer the certainty of a rock-bottom faith, and man is looking for certitude. And thus the mainline Churches, especially the traditional mainline Protestant Churches, really are facing an extremely serious crisis. The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: this is enough. The Catholic Church is not in such bad shape as the historical mainline Protestant Churches, but it also faces the problems of this moment in history."

On permission to divorce in the Orthodox Churches:

"We are aware of the problem […] of the Orthodox Churches, which are frequently presented as a model in which remarriage is possible. But only the first marriage is sacramental: they also recognize that the others are not a sacrament, they are a reduced or lesser form of marriage, and they take place in a penitential context. In a certain sense they may go to communion, but it is with the knowledge that this is granted to them 'in economia' – as they say – by an act of mercy which nevertheless does not change the fact that their marriage is not a sacrament. The other point in the Eastern Churches is that for these marriages the possibility of divorce is granted with great ease, and thus the principle of the indissolubility and real sacramental nature of marriage is seriously harmed."

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