On La Croix’s (newspaper) interview with Pope Francis

Last month, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, who is also a Catholic, came to Taipei for two interesting talks. In one of them Taylor laid out two models of secularism that in his naming are « the American model » and the « the French model. » Gauging each model by how faithfully they correspond to the democratic spirit of modern pluralistic society respectively, Taylor favors the formal and holds his critique of the latter.


In this interview La Croix conducted (my summary of it in Chinese here), you can clearly see how Pope Francis echoes Taylor’s call in his rejection of the French model of laïcité, namely, the political understanding of the government as the embodiment of the « counter-church, » whose role is to keep all pubic religious exercises at bay so as to minister to a « religionless » public square.

So as the French model prevails there, Pope Francis is also daring enough to call the French [Catholics] « the eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful, » whose republic nowadays has downgraded itself to a « mission country, » rendering the land « a periphery to be evangelized. »




But he is convinced that there isn’t necessarily « a need for priests in order to evangelize. » Baptism, and the Holy Spirit whom the believers received upon baptism, should provide the motif to evangelize, which means « to go out, to take the Christian message with courage and patience. »

« The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of whatever happens in the Church, its motor. Too many Christians are ignorant of this (in their false reliance on and espousal of ‘clericalism’). »

Just the other day I was working on the German weekly Die Zeit’s cover story on Christian ecumenism in which ample external evidences are offered to suggest that Francis is a very Protestant-friendly Pope.

That pales in comparison to his internal convictions stated here though. You can see how « Protestant reformed » this Pope is.


[文摘] Radner et co. on the future of the church

Amidst the political turmoil in Taiwan, I wrote an article last month concerning Christian discernment on political engagement that concludes itself by suggesting a re-focus on centrality of unity of eschatology for our being as church.

Then here now I stumbled upon this conference report written by Peter J. Leithart on First Things about « the future of the church » that covers exactly the same themes.

Source Link: http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/09/learned-ignorance (Peter J. Leithart )

The four speakers are (I’d like to draw special attention to the first two):

– Pentecostal theologian Simon Chan, Ernest Lau Professor of Systematic Theology at of Trinity Theological College in Singapore, author of Grassroots Asian Theology: Thinking the Faith from the Ground Up (2014)

– Anglican theologian Ephraim Radner, Professor of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto School of Theology;  author of A Brutal Unity: the Spiritual Politics of the Christian Church (2012)

– Catholic priest Fr. Tom Rausch, T. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount

– Fred Sanders, a self-described “low-church Evangelical” who teaches at Biola.


As for this article, it does less in offering fresh thoughts for me than restating more explicitly what I consider very critical affirmations for protestant evangelicals:

The contingent historical formations of the Church—Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic, whatever—do not have ontological standing; they are not the referent for what the New Testament calls “the Church.” The future Church, the Church founded on the divine word, is a single, unified body. The entire history of the churches is one of purification and purgation, as churches are transformed and ultimately subsumed into the one body that is the Bride of Christ. ….We strive to be a Church of which we are ignorant. (Radner)

//“Do you know Jesus?” Evangelicals don’t want to know whether you are a church member, or whether you can recite catechism or creed, or whether you’ve received the sacraments. The question is: “Do you know Jesus?”

Evangelicalism is a relentless protest against every form of nominal, complacent, self-satisfied Christianity. It is a prophetic demand that Christian faith be more than lip service.

…Evangelicalism isn’t a church but a movement.// (Sanders)

//Evangelicalism’s prophetic stance need not undermine commitment to the Church. The question, “Do you know Jesus?” needs to be posed in… know[ing] the Jesus who is the new Adam, who gives himself for a Bride… the Jesus who gave his life to break down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile, the Jesus who was killed for transgressing apparently eternal boundaries… the Jesus who said, “Do this,” and implied, “Do this together?” … the Jesus who dwells by the Spirit in your brother, whatever church that brother might join… the Jesus who prayed that the disciples would be one as the Father and Son are one.

…[U]nity is found wherever one believer gives himself for another believer, because there we see the imprint of the cross, where Jesus gave himself for his Bride. If we truly know Jesus, then we will be conformed to his self-giving, which is the source of the Church’s unity.// (Radner & Leithart)

If This Pope Makes You Uncomfortable, You Are Far From Alone…

Because he is making us think of THAT GUY!

1. Pope Rejects Lunch with Boehner, Pelosi, McConnell, Reid: He will be Dining with the Homeless


Pope Francis says he didn’t have the time because he already had a date eating with the homeless. In fact, he is not only going to be eating with them, but serving them. The meal will take place at St. Patrick’s Church in Washington, D.C.

As stated by John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University: “Pope Francis is the ultimate Washington outsider. His priorities are not Washington’s priorities. We think we are the center of the world. We are not the center of Pope Francis’ world. He is frankly more comfortable in the slums of Argentina than in the corridors of power.”

photo by media.salon.com
Congress? not much fancifulness about it.  (photo by media.salon.com)

Related news on Pope Francis:

Fox News Host Tells Pope Francis to Leave U.S.: He Doesn’t Belong Here: Capitalism is Our Savior

2. The Pope Calls a Young Girl to Visit Him During His Washington Parade



Initially turned away by secret service agents, the girl, later identified as Sophie Cruz, 5, is called over by Pope Francis, who embraces her. The pope hugged and kissed several children during his tour around the city

3.   Pope Francis Smacks Churches: “If You Don’t Help the Poor and Needy, then Pay Taxes Like a Business”



“Some religious orders say, ‘No, now that the convent is empty we are going to make a hotel and we can have guests and support ourselves that way, or make money,’” said Pope Francis. “Well, if that is what you do, then pay taxes! A religious school is tax-exempt because it is religious, but if it is functioning as a hotel, then it should pay taxes just like its neighbor. Otherwise it is not fair business.”

The practice of renting space in religious buildings is very common in Europe. The philosophy behind it, that Pope Francis describes, could very well undermine what many televangelists do in the United States. Rather than practicing their religion, these charlatans run lean businesses and make fat profits. If the church isn’t engaged in the business of the Church, as Pope Francis explained, then it’s time for them to pay their fair share of taxes!

Related News:  教宗親吻瘤男 無神論者也融化