Thank you. Wasn’t aware. However, as long as this thread remains in this forum, I’ll go ahead and supplement it.
Here is an excerpt by Fr. Robert Barron on it:
The source of a good deal of this mischief is the 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant, whose influence on the modern sensibility can scarcely be overstated. Kant famously held that religion is reducible to ethics. By the Enlightenment period, the doctrinal claims of the great religions had come to seem incredible to many, and worship a pathetic holdover from a more primitive time. For Kant, therefore, authentic, grown-up, enlightened religious people would see that morality is the heart of the matter, both doctrine and worship serving, at best, to bolster ethics. It is always a source of amazement to me how thoroughly modern people have gone down the Kantian autobahn in regard to this issue. How we take the following for granted: it doesn’t really matter what you believe, as long as you are a good person.
But the Kantian construal is simply repugnant to classical Christianity. In point of fact, Christians have been, from the beginning, massively interested in both worship and doctrine. How could you read any of the Gospels or any of the letters of Paul and think otherwise? Moreover, the great figures of the Church – Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Newman, etc. – have taken doctrine with utmost seriousness. No one doubts that Francis of Assisi himself loved the poor and marginalized, but how many realize that one of his principal concerns was for liturgical propriety?
Toward the end of the Time piece, the authors mention two features of Francis’s life which effectively undermine their central argument. The “Person of the Year” spends huge swaths of his day at prayer. Rising at five, he prays until seven and then celebrates Mass. And after dinner, he spends several more hours before the Blessed Sacrament. As has been the case with so many of the Church’s saints, his love for the poor flows from an intense worship of God. The article closes with a look at one of the Pope’s Wednesday general audiences. The topic of Francis’s remarks that day was the resurrection of Jesus. After declaring the Church’s age-old doctrine, the Pope looked up from his text and asked the crowd, “do you believe it?” When they responded, “yes!” he said again, “do you believe it?” This is not a man who is unconcerned with clarity of dogma.
I’m delighted that Time has made the Pope the “Person of the Year,” but I would caution all of the commentariat: don’t drive a wedge between the three dimensions of Francis’s life and of the Church’s life!
Father Robert Barron is the founder of the global ministry, Word on Fire, and the Rector/President of Mundelein Seminary.