The last few months have been odd ones for me. I am living in a kind of fog of discombobulation due to too much travel combined with an endless home renovation. Most of the time I feel too scatterbrained to do more than get through the day. Blogging has been impossible. Even so, I've had moments—literally just moments—when for the first time in years I feel drawn to and capable of serious reading and study.
What especially attracts my interest is research into the continuity of thought and themes among the post-conciliar Popes. Taking baby steps toward that end, I'm on chapter 1 of Joseph Ratzinger's classic, Introduction to Christianity.
Almost every paragraph reminds me of Pope Francis, or rather throws light on Pope Francis' words and acts. Take this one:
Anyone who tries today to talk about the question of Christian faith in the presence of people who are not thoroughly at home with ecclesiastical language and thought (whether by vocation or by convention) soon comes to sense the alien—and alienating—nature of such an enterprise.
Immediately I think of Francis' rejection of proselytizing. I also think of my own experience. Across 30 years of zealous, adult Christianity, I have consistently—and confusedly—sensed that problem of religion being alien and alienating in our culture and society. We Christians too often come across more boors and scolds than bearers of good news.
So, do we water down the faith, in order to make it more relevant and appealing to a secular world? No. Neither Pope thinks so. But we do have some adjusting to do. Not of the objective content of our faith, but our way of understanding it, living it, and sharing it.
Anyway. I'm looking forward to lots more in the months ahead.