The Christian faith is not merely a comforting illusion, but must be rooted in conviction.
Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia of Oregon City, an Official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, made these remarks on Tuesday during the final lecture in the Faith Matters Lecture Series in London.
In his address, entitled “Contemporary Challenges to Proclaiming the Catholic Faith,” the archbishop spoke of the challenges that stand in the way of an experience with the living God in contemporary society.
He went on to say that it is important for the Catholic Church to maintain its public presence and witness to Gospel values in society in a more secular world.
“The New Evangelization has been based primarily here in Europe where the decline has been perceived as more pronounced and troubling,” Archbishop Di Noia said. “While no one disputes the new cultural and social situation in which we live, there is considerable disagreement amongst historians, sociologists and theologians whether this should be seen as a religious decline, strictly speaking, or simply a long term process of religious change.”
“In order to confront these challenges we need a confident, evangelizing spirit and robust but not overbearing apologetics. The Apostles in the early Christian communities proclaimed a message that was not welcome and we are in a similar situation today,” he said.
“In these circumstances retrenchment is not an option,” he said, warning against taking “refuge in the powerful emotional on the emotional comforts of the Christian faith.”
“Behind the emotional truth of the Christian faith, there needs to be something solid if it is to be anything more than a comforting illusion, like a tale we tell children who are afraid of the dark.”
“The emotional sense the Christian faith creates is rooted in convictions, principally that God wants to make a place for us in the life of the Blessed Trinity and that Jesus Christ opens the way to this communion and that our transformation into his image gets us through the muddle of sin but also launches us into the life of glory.” (A.S.)