Friday, July 13, 2007

The World as Joseph Ratzinger's Classroom

Thanks to the Canadian blog Tomorrow's Trust for calling attention to the following, on the reassertion by Pope Benedict XVI that the Catholic Church is the only church of Christ. It sheds some light on why the pope's way of communicating is so often counter-productive.

The paragraphs are part of a longer article in the San Antonio Express News, posted at

Father Thomas Reese, author of several books on how the Catholic hierarchy works, said that while the document isn't the death of ecumenism, "it certainly doesn't help."

The pope is "basically a German academic who defines the terms to be used in his classroom, and his students have to understand his definition of the terms," Reese said.

"Now, the whole world is his classroom, but he's defining terms in ways that the average people on the street don't get the meaning. Their interpretation is very insulting, and he doesn't seem concerned."

But Reese said the document may reflect a concern about Catholics who have begun to believe that it doesn't matter whether they attend Catholic or a non-Catholic churches.

He referred to a survey indicating that almost half the Catholics under age 40 feel just as comfortable in another church as in the Catholic Church.

"I think he's a lot more concerned about Catholics and their attitude toward the church than about people outside the Catholic Church," he said.

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