Religion and Ethics Weekly: Wrap-Up Analysis of Pope’s Visit

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr. [PETER] STEINFELS: I think that his talks will be pored over by leaders of the Church, but I don't think they will have the wide impact on ordinary believers. This is a pope who stresses ideas, theology, worship, prayer. He seems to believe that if you get those things right, the rest will fall in line. Other people may take a different approach. They say we need some institutional and organizational changes.

[KIM] LAWTON: At several points in his trip, Benedict reached outside the Catholic Church as well. In addition to an interfaith meeting in Washington, he met with Jewish leaders at a synagogue in New York on the eve of Passover celebrations -- the first time a pope has ever visited a synagogue in the U.S. He also met with leaders of other Christian denominations urging them to "hold fast" to sound teaching.

Mr. STEINFELS: For him, it's also a reminder that this dialogue between faiths is ultimately not just a meeting of different abstract principles or beliefs, but it's really a relationship of people.

LAWTON: Benedict showed a surprising connection with young people, generating a level of excitement that Catholic leaders would like to see continue as they struggle to address problems from declining church membership to a severe shortage of priests.

Catholics account for nearly one-quarter of U.S adults. But according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, no other major religion has suffered greater net losses in recent decades. About one-third of those who were raised Catholic have now left the Church. Church officials hope events like this will help reinvigorate the faith.

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Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

Posted April 27, 2008 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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