Thursday, May 25, 2006

Interview with Fr. Neuhaus

Zenit: "Father Richard Neuhaus on Loving the Church"

  • Q: One of the main themes of your book is St. Ignatius of Loyola's exhortation that we should "think with the Church." What did he -- and you -- mean by that?

    Father Neuhaus: Yes, it's a marvelous phrase -- "sentire cum ecclesia." It means to think with the Church, but also to feel with the Church. In short, to love the Church.

    If we love the Church, as a lover loves the beloved, then we will her to be, we will her to flourish, we will her to succeed in the mission she has been given by Christ.

    As in a good marriage, the Catholic never thinks "I" without thinking "we." It is necessary to cultivate this communion of shared devotion, affection and purpose in a very disciplined way, for not all aspects of the Church are lovable, just as we are not always lovable.

    Nonetheless, we are loved by the Church, and most particularly by all the saints in the Church Triumphant. "Sentire cum ecclesia" means being concerned never to betray St. Paul, St. Irenaeus, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, St. Theresa and the faith for which they and innumerable others lived and died.

    And, for all the inadequacies and sins of the Church and her leadership in our time, it means always doing one's best to support, and never to undermine, the effectiveness of her teaching ministry.

    She is, after all, the bearer and embodiment of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is nothing less than the story of the world -- without which the world, and we with it, is lost.
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