Pope Benedict on Quantity and Quality

Pope Benedict responds to a question on his recent trip. NCReg gives a translation:

Our goals should not be more power and more people, but instead to be at the service of Another – to be servants. But good servants work at it. Good servants are as prepared, educated, efficient and effective as they can possibly be. We can’t claim to be good servants if we don’t invest time in being good at it. It is all tied up together. That means learning from each other, taking risks with new and better ideas, breaking conventions, overcoming fears and doing things that serve others instead of ourselves.

We don’t need to focus on making the Church attractive. We just need to focus on more effectively presenting Jesus Christ to the world. He is the most attractive thing there is.

Some of this is good and some not so much. Too many apologists for a “smaller, purer” church are out there. I think we have to focus on evangelization and on bringing Christ to as many people as we can. As for the “quality” of believers, two things. Each Christian attends to her or his own quality. We can’t speak for others, only influence them. And second, God’s grace is at work in every human being, not some human notion of institutional orthodoxy, purity, or faithfulness.

That said, the Holy Father is surprisingly open to the notions of personal quality–of committing ourselves to a life of service in part through a commitment to excellence. And I agree with Pope Benedict’s nuanced second paragraph here. We present Christ as the attractive one. We evangelize, in part, through our example. Let’s be mindful we are part of the ambassadorial team of Jesus Christ. Non-believers don’t usually see or perceive Christ. But they do perceive us.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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