Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pope B16 and the Clamor of "Relevance"

Here's an excerpt from Samuel Gregg's latest article in Crisis about the Pope's and the Church's perceived geopolitical relevance.

Whenever one encounters such assertions, it’s never quite clear what’s meant by “relevance.” On one reading, it involves comparisons with Benedict’s heroic predecessor, who played an indispensible role in demolishing the Communist thug-ocracies that once brutalized much of Europe. But it’s also a fair bet that “relevance” is understood here in terms of the Church’s capacity to shape immediate policy-debates or exert political influence in various spheres.

Such things have their own importance. Indeed, many of Benedict’s writings are charged with content which shatters the post-Enlightenment half-truths about the nature of freedom, equality, and progress that sharply constrict modern Western political thinking. But Benedict’s entire life as a priest, theologian, bishop, senior curial official and pope also reflects his core conviction that the Church’s primary focus is not first-and-foremost “the world,” let alone politics.

Rather, Benedict’s view has always been that the Church’s main responsibility is to come to know better — and then make known — the Person of Jesus Christ. Why? Because like any orthodox Christian, he believes that herein is found the summit and fullness of Truth and meaning for every human being. Moreover, Benedict insists the only way we can fully comprehend Christ is through His Church – the ecclesia of the saints, living and dead.

Maybe we should have a index that shows daily fluctuations in the church's relevance. Sort of like the DJI. That would be a really relevant measure of... something.

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