Rorate Caeli

The old evangelization versus the new

Benedict XVI has not spoken or written much since February 2013, with two notable exceptions this month, reported by Rorate here and here.  The 10 October letter speaks of his life as a "cloistered monk."

Last week Benedict delivered remarks, read by Archbishop Georg Ganswein at Rome's Pontifical Urbaniana University (and translated by Rorate).  His words on the Church's traditional missionary effort versus false ecumenism promoted "both inside and outside the Church" that is "lethal to faith" are worth reading:

The Risen Lord gave this task to his Apostles, and through them disciples of every time, to carry his Word to the ends of the earth and to make all men his disciples. ...  But is this still possible? Many ask this question, both inside and outside the Church. Is this mission really possible in the world as it is today? Would it not be more appropriate that all religions get together and work together for the cause of peace in the world? The counter-question is: Can dialogue substitute for mission? Today many have the idea, in effect, that religions should respect each other, and, in dialogue with each other, become a common force for peace.  ...

This is, however, lethal to faith. In fact, faith loses its binding character and seriousness, if everything is reduced to symbols that are at the end interchangeable, capable of referring only from afar to the inaccessible mystery of the divine.

Contrast those words with these:

Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest.

Is it any wonder fewer people by the day are reading Francis through Benedict?