Pope Benedict’s address to seminarians at the English college reveals that over the two years since his state visit to the UK the Holy Father has revised his assessment of the state of faith in our society.
In 2010 Pope Benedict said in his address to the Queen:
‘The Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.’
Yesterday in his address to English college seminarians the Holy Father gave a much more realistic assessment of the position of faith in our society:
‘You have heard much talk about the new evangelization, the proclamation of Christ in those parts of the world where the Gospel has already been preached, but where to a greater or lesser degree the embers of faith have grown cold and now need to be fanned once more into a flame. … Fire in sacred Scripture frequently serves to indicate the divine presence. … Just as a small fire can set a whole forest ablaze, so the faithful testimony of a few can release the purifying and transforming power of God’s love so that it spreads like wildfire throughout a community or a nation”.
Protect the Pope comment: What has changed in the past two years that has enabled Pope Benedict to get the true measure of faith in our secular atheistic society? Whatever has changed the Holy Father has abandoned the rosy, unrealistic assessment during his state visit and is now more accurately informed about the state of things facing Catholics in this country. This is heartening in itself, knowing that the Holy Father is aware of what we are facing.