Here what we are actually addressing, in my opinion, is the decisive reason for the abandonment of Christianity: its model for life is apparently unconvincing. It seems to place too many restraints on humankind that stifle its joie de vivre, that limit its precious freedom, and that do not lead it to open pastures--in the language of the Psalms--but rather into want, into deprivation. Something similar happened in antiquity, when the representatives of the powerful Roman state appealed to Christians by saying: Return to our religion, our religion is joyous, we have feasts, drunken revels, and entertainments, while you believe in One who was crucified.Encouragement and indictment all in one passage. Isn't that always how it runs?
The Christians were able to demonstrate persuasively how empty and base were the entertainments of paganism, and how sublime the gift of faith in the God who suffers with us and leads us to the road of true greatness. ... The Christian model of life must be manifested as a life in all its fullness and freedom, a life that does not experience the bonds of love as dependence and limitation but rather as an opening to the greatness of life.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
From Cardinal Ratzinger's response letter to Prof. Pera (found on pp. 125-26 of Without Roots: