Benedict’s deeper thoughts about faith in the U.S.
Pope Benedict made so many positive comments about the positive role of faith in U.S. public life before and at the beginning of his U.S. visit that it was inevitable he would get around to a deeper analysis at some point. That point came in his meeting with American bishops in Washington on Wednesday. It was the kind of analysis we’ve come to expect from him — clearly expressed, intellectually ambitious and focused on his trademark issue of relativism.
“It is not enough to count on this traditional religiosity and go about business as usual, even as its foundations are being slowly undermined,” he warned the bishops gathered at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The “American brand of secularism,” he said, “can subtly reduce religious belief to a lowest common denominator.”
Here’s our news story on the speech and the full text, which is always useful to read if Benedict’s the author. He sets out his ideas over sentences and paragraphs that need to be read to the end to get the full flavour of what he’s saying.
P.S. The usual question and answer session, which he does off the cuff in German and Italian, was a bit more formal this time. He prepared his answers and read them out, with a German accent that some Americans have a hard time understanding. He has spoken off the cuff here, but most of what he says is pre-written. Before anyone out there in the blogosphere misunderstands, I mean all this just as an observation, not a criticism of his linguistic abilities. He is a fine linguist — I wish I could speak and read as many languages as he does. Wikipedia says: As well as his native German, Benedict XVI fluently speaks Italian, French, English, Spanish, Dutch, and Latin, and has a knowledge of Portuguese. He can read Ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew