Thoughts about Pope Benedict's speech at St. Joseph's?

Pope of Rome, Benedict XVI gave a speech at an ecumenical Prayer meeting at St. Joseph’s in NY. It finished about 10 minutes ago, and I thought it was very well done. When there’s a transcript, I’ll post it, unless someone gets to it before me.

What are your thoughts on it? I thought he was very straight forward and honest, yet gentle at the same time in regards to the divisions in Christianity.

Al-Masih Qam!

Alaha minokhoun,

I’d like to have the transcript before I say too much, but I thought Pope Benedict took a moderately hard line. But that’s ok. It took Nixon to go to China.


Here’s a link to the speech made at St. Joseph’s:

I noticed this in his speech:

My dear friends, the power of the kerygma has lost none of its internal dynamism. Yet we must ask ourselves whether its full force has not been attenuated by a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies, which, in alleging that science alone is “objective”, relegate religion entirely to the subjective sphere of individual feeling. Scientific discoveries, and their application through human ingenuity, undoubtedly offer new possibilities for the betterment of humankind. This does not mean, however, that the “knowable” is limited to the empirically verifiable, nor religion restricted to the shifting realm of “personal experience”.

For Christians to accept this faulty line of reasoning would lead to the notion that there is little need to emphasize objective truth in the presentation of the Christian faith, for one need but follow his or her own conscience and choose a community that best suits his or her individual tastes. The result is seen in the continual proliferation of communities which often eschew institutional structures and minimize the importance of doctrinal content for Christian living.

Sounds like the Holy Father is giving the :tsktsk: for allowing these groups to interpret Scripture on their own!

Great stuff. I just wish he’d give more practical guidelines for what Protestants who care about unity can do. He doesn’t seem to expect us to convert as individuals, so what are we supposed to do? I liked his comments at Cologne about “spiritual ecumenism,” but does he have any idea just how frustrating it is to hope for corporate reunion while Protestantism is crumbling around you? This is rhetorical–of course he doesn’t!


How do we know that?

well if protestantism is crumbling around us, then it appears that corporate reunion is not feasible. best advice would be to unify on the individual basis. Welcome home!

He has frequently expressed a commitment to corporate reunion. In his address to an ecumenical gathering when he was in Koln for World Youth Day, he rejected the “ecumenism of return.”

If those of us who are sympathetic to Catholicism convert, there is no way corporate reunion will ever happen. The two things are mutually exclusive.


I really like your post. I think the same way.

If the Pope has rejected the “ecumenism of return” that fits perfectly with my thinking. I always felt that people should “bloom where they are planted” if at all possible and let the Holy Spirit do His work. (Of course that is not always practical for us.)

The only way possible for one group to integrate with another group is that an overwhelming number of it’s members (and especially leadership) want that. If they each individually jump ship over time the cumulative effect can be a reducing of the influence of that line of thought in the community, and a subsequent backing away instead of a drawing toward.


Quite interesting…I would like to read his Koln address. But, if that’s the approach that he is suggesting, what does that do to Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus? Those Protestants who are most sympathetic to Catholicism and who are the most Catholic in their theology are probably also those for whom the concept of “invincible ignorance” may not apply. Per Dominus Iesus as baptised Christians we may be imperfect members of the Catholic Church but, to be pointed, does such imperfect membership lead to our eternal salvation? Those are some of the questions with which I am struggling.

Are you waiting for Canterbury to get it’s act together? Or are you waiting for Rome to embrace the innovations that the Anglican communion has created out of thin air? I don’t say this to malign at all. This is a serious question.

You have the ability to be a part of the Church. Christ’s arms are wide open waiting for you to embrace Him in the Church that He Himself founded. You yourself can enter into it just as others have before you, and you can lead others as well. Maybe God is calling you into His Church and to lead others in as well.

Al-Masih Qam!

This is not necessarily so easy a thing as you describe or think. As one of those who is sympathic to Catholicism, there are hurdles to jump far more difficult than even theology and Tradition, though they are there. I, for example, in my mid-fifties, cradle Lutheran and raised by a Lutheran pastor. It was a huge emotional crossing for me when I moved to the LCMS from the ELCA a number of years ago. I know you are young, but just imagine what it would be like to become Catholic?

And as for theological differences, it is far better energy spent if my Church and Rome work hard together to solve matters of doctrine. That is where full unity will come to pass, with the Holy Spirit’s help.

BTW, His arms are open wide to me where I am, as well. :wink:

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