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Benedict on the Loss of Missionary Zeal


A few weeks ago, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was interviewed by Fr. Jacques Servais, S.J. The interview, originally published in German, is available in English here. It is a remarkable document that can be read as Benedict defending the Catholic faith against certain current theological trends.

Early in the interview Benedict speaks of the nature of faith. “Faith is not the product of reflection nor is it an attempt to penetrate the depths of my own being. . . .In order for me to believe, I need witnesses who have met God and who have made him accessible to me.”

He continues:

The faith community does not create itself. It is not an assembly of men who have some ideas in common and who decide to work for the spread of those ideas. . . . A Church built in this way cannot be for me the guarantor of eternal life nor require decisions that make me suffer and are contrary to my desires.

The Church did not produce herself: “She was created by God and she is continually formed by Him. This finds expression in the sacraments and above all in baptism. I enter the Church not through a bureaucratic act but through the sacrament [of baptism].”

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