Monday, April 7, 2008

Catholics in America

The Pope is coming!

John Allen has a terrific interview posted with the papal nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi. The archbishop has some sharp comments on the reason for the Pope's visit, which he emphasizes is not intended to be used ("instrumentalized") for any type of political purpose. Rather the Pope is coming to confirm us in our faith and help us return to our roots and identity. He gives great answers to questions about the Iraq war, the elections, the sex abuse scandal and the meeting with educators.

I particularly like what the Archbishop said about the role of Catholics as a minority in this country:

How would you analyze the situation facing the Catholic church in the United States?

When you are a minority, as Catholics are in this culture, you need three strong principles. The first is a clear identity, a clear sense of what you are and what you want to be. As a minority, if you lack a clear identity, you're like a drop of wine in a glass of water … you'll disappear. The second thing is a strong sense of belonging. I would express it in this way: you need a community, and the community needs you. Whoever walks alone sooner or later will be lost in the desert. Third, when you are a minority, you need a deep commitment to excellence. You must excel in human qualities, in family qualities, in professional qualities, in the qualities of Christian life, in order to be a light for others. If you don't have a sense of excellence, you will be submerged by the majority.

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